Football Suffers 38-27 Road Loss at Missouri
COLUMBIA, Mo. – (Courtesy of Ole Miss Media Relations) A few missed opportunities and self-inflicted miscues spelled the difference Saturday night as Ole Miss (3-4, 2-2) fell 38-27 to Missouri (5-1, 2-0) at Memorial Stadium.
The Rebels entered the night as the least-penalized team in the Southeastern Conference but were flagged seven times for 75 yards, their second-highest total of the season. The penalties allowed Missouri to twice escape being pinned inside their own 2-yard line.
Missouri followed a strong night by quarterback Kelly Bryant, who threw for 329 yards and a touchdown. Larry Rountree paced the Tigers on the ground with 126 yards and two scores on 21 carries. Johnathan Johnson totaled 110 yards on eight receptions to lead the Mizzou receiving corps.
John Rhys Plumlee led the offensive effort for Ole Miss, throwing for 103 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 143 yards and another pair of touchdowns on the ground. Matt Corral had a strong night through the air, going 10-of-16 for 133 yards passing. Elijah Moore led the Rebel receiving effort with 102 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions.
Ole Miss was stopped on the game’s opening drive, but Mizzou’s Johnson muffed the ensuing punt, and A.J. Finley pounced on the loose ball to send the Rebel offense back on the field. The Rebels made the most of it as Plumlee hit Scottie Phillips for a 21-yard score through the air, the first scoring reception of the season for Phillips.
The Tigers put together a solid drive, using a couple of long passing connections to push into the red zone. The Rebel defense held strong deep in its own territory to force a field goal attempt. Tucker McCann hit from 31 yards out to make it a 7-3 game.
Late in the first quarter, it looked as though Ole Miss would extend its lead when Plumlee outran the Mizzou defense for a 57-yard touchdown, but the exceptional play was called back due to a holding call against Miles Battle. Later in the drive, an exchange in the backfield between Plumlee and Jerrion Ealy hit the turf, and the Tigers recovered.
The home team took advantage of the miscue as Bryant checked down to Tyler Badie, and the Tiger running back did the rest, skirting 17 yards for the go-ahead score. McCann’s point after attempt clattered off the right upright to keep it a 9-7 gap. The Missouri kicker acquitted himself on the following drive when he connected on a 48-yard field goal to make it a 12-7 lead.
Ole Miss then went with Corral at quarterback and quickly carved through the Mizzou defense all the way inside the 1-yard line. However, the Tigers walled off the end zone, stopping the Rebels on 3rd-and-goal, then 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line to keep it a 12-7 game at the break.
Missouri scored quickly coming out of the halftime locker room when Rountree broke free for a 41-yard rushing touchdown. Once again, McCann’s PAT attempt hit the upright, making it an 18-7 Tiger lead.
The Rebels’ first drive of the second half stalled out near midfield, but Mac Brown’s punt was downed at the half-yard line by Myles Hartsfield. Two costly penalties—an offsides call against Benito Jones followed by a targeting call against Jacquez Jones—helped Mizzou out of the sticky situation. Bryant then hit Badie for a 49-yard gain to set up a 39-yard field goal by McCann, making it 21-7, Tigers.
Another explosive play extended that lead. Mizzou converted on 3rd-and-1 twice on its following drive, both by virtue of quarterback sneaks by Bryant. Dawson Downing did the rest, breaking away for a 54-yard touchdown on the ground to make it a 28-7 advantage.
The Rebels battled back on the following drive. Plumlee fueled the drive with 27 yards on the ground, while Ealy totaled 18 all-purpose yards on the series to set up a 28-yard scoring connection between Plumlee and Moore.
Missouri quickly made up those points. Bryant hit Albert Okwuegbunam for a 36-yard gain on the first play of the drive. The Tiger quarterback then connected with Dominic Gicinto for 26 yards, setting the stage for a 1-yard rushing score by Rountree.
Ole Miss had an answer on its next possession. Corral set the table with a 10-yard run to move the chains and a 34-yard completion to Demarcus Gregory. Plumlee took over in the red zone and bolted into the end zone on a 9-yard rush to cut the Mizzou lead back to two scores.
Sam Williams made the biggest play of the night for the Rebel defense, pulling down his first career interception. However, the Rebel offense couldn’t capitalize as Corral just missed Moore on a deep ball to turn it over on downs.
The Rebel defense held the Tigers to a field goal on the ensuing drive, making it 38-21. In response, Ole Miss chipped its way downfield using alternating quarterbacks. A Corral shovel pass to Phillips netted the Rebels 15 yards on the drive before Plumlee raced 40 yards to the end zone. Luke Logan’s PAT attempt was off target, making it a 38-27 game.
From there, Missouri was able to chew the final five minutes and change off the clock to ice the victory.
Ole Miss returns home next weekend to host Texas A&M. The Rebels and Aggies are set for a 6:30 p.m. CT kickoff on SEC Network.
Evelyn Van Pelt
Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn’s love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.