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Gamer: Ole Miss fights hard, loses 63-48 to No. 2 Alabama

Gamer: Ole Miss fights hard, loses 63-48 to No. 2 Alabama

OXFORD, Miss. — Arena Football League fans were left reminiscing Saturday.

When Alabama topped Ole Miss, 63-48, Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway, fans saw some offenses not seen since the days of a 50-yard field, side boards and nets surrounding the goalposts. 

The two teams combined for 111 points and 1,370 total yards, and not much defense–like the arena game. There were 68 first downs and only one turnover.

It is safe to say, the offenses dominated.

For the Rebels, Matt Corral threw for 365 yards and ran for another 40. Snoop Conner ran for 128 and Jerrion Ealy 120. Kenny Yeboah caught seven passes for 181 yards and Elijah Moore had 11 grabs for 143 yards.

The Rebels started lightning quick. Ole Miss took the opening kick and marched 75 yards in just four plays in less than a minute to take a 7-0 lead. After Corral hit Moore with a 17-yard pass right out of the gate, Yeboah found himself alone in the Alabama secondary where he grabbed a pass and rambled 52 yards deep into Crimson Tide territory.

Two plays later, Corral found Yeboah in the end zone from six yards out for the initial score of the game. Luke Logan’s kick provided the 7-0 advantage.

Alabama responded quickly. The Tide marched 85 yards in ten plays to a Mac Jones’ 14-yard scoring pass to Devonte Smith. Will Reichard’s kick tied the game.

After a Rebels’ punt, Alabama gashed the Ole Miss defense on the ensuing possession. But Ole Miss repeated a play from last week’s win. A week ago, with Kentucky poised to score from the one, the Landsharks stood up a Wildcat back at the goal line and forced the ball out and recovered to quell the threat.

Saturday, Najee Harris tried to back into the end zone from the one, but was stacked at the line and Jakorey Hawkins ripped the ball free, grabbed the fumble and returned it to the 7-yard line to give the ball back to the Rebels’ offense.

Sparked by two big runs – a 34 yarder by Snoop Conner and a 22-yard sprint by Ealy on a third-and-27 – Ole Miss moved deep into Tide territory. Ealy finished of the march with a three-yard scoring run. The 10-play, 93-yard drive gave the Rebs a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter.

Midway through the second, Alabama knotted the score. After a shanked punt, the Tide took over at its own 28. Six plays later, Brian Robinson pounded into the end zone from a yard out. The kick evened the score.

Undaunted, Ole Miss took the next kickoff and drove for the go-ahead touchdown.  The drive was keyed by a 14-yard run by Corral on a third down and Conner’s 26-yared scamper on a fourth-and-one. Conner culminated the drive with a one-yard blast to give the Rebels the lead. Logan’s kick made the Ole Miss advantage 21-14.

It was an impressive scoring drive, but the Rebels left Alabama a little too much time in the half. Taking over with 3:15 remaining, the Tide was able to drive 75 yards to a Harris five-yard scoring run with exactly one-minute left. The conversion tied the game, 21-21, going into halftime.  

After tying the score late in the second, Alabama wasted no time taking the lead early in the third quarter. Harris ran for a 33-yard touchdown just over a minute into the quarter and Bama took a 28-21 lead.

Yet Ole Miss kept playing the ‘anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better’ game. Corral hit Yeboah at midfield and the senior ran untouched the rest of the way. It resulted in a 68-yard touchdown. After Logan’s kick, the game was tied again. The drive took just 50 seconds and the game was tied 28-28.

Bama did not flinch. On the ensuing drive, it only took the Crimson Tide 2:21 to get back into the end zone. Jones hit Miller Forristall with a three-yard touchdown pass and the back-and-forth lead went back to Alabama, 35-28.

In fewer than five minutes into the third quarter, the teams combined for 21 points.

Ole Miss kept up the scoring on the next drive. Ealy ran in for a nine-yard touchdown and Logan tied the game 35-35. The Rebels moved at a snail-like pace, taking a whopping four minutes off the clock.

Bama would have nothing to do with that mechanical drive thing. The Tide scored its next touchdown after using just 3:35 off the clock. Harris scored again, this time from the three. After the conversion, Alabama is back on top 42-35.

That score held through the end of the third quarter.

Conner made a dive over the top to tie the game with 11:31 left in the game to seal a 16-play, 75-yard drive and Logan’s sixth conversion tied the game again, 42-42.

A failed onside kick attempt gave Alabama a short field to work with on the ensuing drive. Harris scored again, this time from 16 yards, and the Tide led 49-42.

Ole Miss had the chance to tie, but facing a third-down, Corral positioned himself under center, but the team snapped the ball as if the Rebels were in a shotgun formation. The ball trickled away, but Corral covered it. The error forced Ole Miss to kick a field goal, which Logan made, to cut the score to 49-45.

On the ensuing drive, Alabama sealed the win. Smith scored on a 14-yard run and the Tide led 56-45.

Ole Miss drove back to a Logan field goal late to bring the score to 56-48. 

After another failed conversion, Alabama tacked on another score, a 44-yard scamper to provide the 63-48 final score.

About The Author

Steve Barnes

Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers. He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio. A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series. Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time. He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk. Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.

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