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Rebel Walk Reaction: A look at Ole Miss’ 42-41 OT win over Kentucky

Rebel Walk Reaction: A look at Ole Miss’ 42-41 OT win over Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. — In a nutshell, Ole Miss won in overtime against Kentucky, 42-41 Saturday. So, what went right and wrong and just fell the right way for the Rebels?

Here is our Rebel Walk quick reaction:

Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin celebrates the win over Kentucky with his team. (Photo: Josh McCoy)

The Positive

It can be called the “Kiffin Effect.” Ole Miss fell behind in the second half. In years past, the Rebels would have assumed a loss. Saturday, Ole Miss instead assumed it would find a way to win. The Rebs did keep fighting and found a way to emerge victorious in overtime.

The Negative

Tackling. Excuse the pun, but the team could have been called, ‘Ole Missed Tackles.’ After the Florida game, the Landsharks were featured on several highlight shows as the Gators’ Kyle Pitts stiff-armed a defender and ran into the end zone for a touchdown. For much of the game, the tackling was not a lot better in the Commonwealth. There were several times Kentucky runners were caught dead-to-rights but escaped for extra yardage. Three Kentucky rushers gained over 100 yards. That being said, the defense came up with some big plays when needed and just enough stops to give the offense the chance to win.

The Key Play

Though there are several prime candidates for “key play,” the missed extra point by Kentucky kicker Matt Ruffalo, left the door open for the Rebels to win. Hats off to the Ole Miss offense for indeed scoring a touchdown on its OT possession, as well as to kicker Luke Logan for hitting the all-important PAT.

The Key Unit

The receivers. Seven Rebels caught passes Saturday. Elijah Moore caught ten passes for 92 yards and one touchdown. Jonathan Mingo caught eight for 128 yards and two touchdowns. In the third quarter, Mingo had a pair of grabs, but it was what he did after the catch. Instead of going out of bounds, he dipped his helmet and ran over defensive backs for critical yardage. Tight end Kenny Yeboah finished with three receptions for 83 yards and one touchdown.

It’s also worth mentioning that the receivers’ QB is pretty darned good, too. Matt Corral finished 24-29 for 320 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran for 51 yards.

The ‘What the Heck’ Moment

At the end of the third quarter, Kentucky punted from its own end zone, Elijah Moore grabbed the punt and headed up field. Before he got two steps, an official’s whistle blew the play dead. The referee said Moore had called for a fair catch and ruled there was an “invalid signal.” Several replays on the SEC Network showed that not to be the case.

The Never Quit Moment

This one is easy. Ole Miss DB Jakorey Hawkins kept running hard after Kentucky running back A.J. Rose as Rose began to celebrate before he reached the end zone. Hawkins dropped the unsuspecting Rose from behind. Two plays later the Wildcats fumbled and the Rebels recovered. That lost touchdown would loom large.

The Momentum Shifter

In the third quarter, Kentucky had a shot for a potential dagger. But the Wildcats missed a 49-yarder and it seemed to demoralize the team. That missed field goal and missed extra point loomed large.

What This Means Going Forward

Although it is just one game, the importance of the win cannot be overstated. Imagine if Ole Miss was 0-2 heading into the Alabama game. Although the Rebels will undoubtably be double-digit underdogs this week at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Ole Miss knows it can score against any team.

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, and 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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