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In a Nutshell: Rebels lose to Alabama in what could be dawn of epic Kiffin-Saban rivalry

In a Nutshell: Rebels lose to Alabama in what could be dawn of epic Kiffin-Saban rivalry

OXFORD, Miss. — For the durations of Nick Saban’s and Lane Kiffin’s tenures at their respective schools, one thing is sure – this is going to be an exciting rivalry. 

In the first meeting, the Crimson Tide took a hard-fought 63-48 win over Ole Miss, but you best believe Kiffin is already circling next season’s game on the calendar.

After the Rebels’ performance against the No. 2 team in the country, the rest of the SEC should take notice of how explosive Ole Miss can be on offense.

Still, Ole Miss will not be happy with the loss.

Here is our quick analysis of Ole Miss vs. Alabama:

THE POSITIVE: Ole Miss was not intimidated…not even a tiny bit. The Rebels gave Alabama all the Tide wanted and more. And look out, SEC, the Rebs know after going toe-to-toe with Alabama, who else is going to be tougher?

THE NEGATIVE: Again, it is tackling. The Crimson Tide had about a million yards after contact. If the Landsharks can improve and get guys on the ground, the offense will not have to match teams in a score-for-score scenario.

THE KEY PLAY: A bad snap. Facing a third-and-9 from the Alabama 16, quarterback Matt Corral got under center instead of in the shotgun. Center Ben Brown snapped the ball as if Corral were in the backfield and the ball trickled to the left to end the touchdown threat. Luke Logan hit the field goal, but in a game like this, a field goal is almost a defensive stop. Instead of being tied with a touchdown, Ole Miss settled for a 49-45 deficit. Alabama then scored and built a lead too much to overcome.

THE KEY UNIT: The running backs. The experts never expected Ole Miss to run for 268 yards. Snoop Conner ran for 128 yards and Jerrion Ealy had 120–and this was against ALABAMA!

THE MOMENTUM SHIFTER: There were two. Alabama scored a touchdown with a minute to go in the first half and then took the ball in the second half to score again. A stop on either drive would have changed the game.

WHAT THIS MEANS GOING FORWARD: Ole Miss is at Arkansas next week. Each team notched a bit of a moral victory, though neither is satisfied with that, with the Rebs hanging with Alabama and the Razorbacks losing to a game at Auburn that they could have easily won — and might have were it not for a seemingly bad call. Which team will bounce back, look forward and not look back to the last loss?

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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