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Gamer: Another record-breaking game for Matt Corral as Rebels defeat South Carolina, 59-42

Gamer: Another record-breaking game for Matt Corral as Rebels defeat South Carolina, 59-42

OXFORD, Miss. – Matt Corral threw for a school-record 513 yards and Elijah Moore caught more than 200 yards in passes for the second consecutive week as Ole Miss was able to pull away from South Carolina 59-42 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

The Rebels (3-4) put up 708 yards of total offense as Moore grabbed 13 passes for 225 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Corral broke Shea Patterson’s record of 489 yards passing in a single game.

“You’re looking at amazing football,” head coach Lane Kiffin said when asked about Corral’s last two record-breaking games.

I don’t know if there’s ever been two games back-to-back with a quarterback and a receiver that have done that before when you add these yards and touchdowns up. It’s pretty amazing.

Coach Kiffin

Corral found seven different receivers, connecting on 28-of-32 passes and four touchdowns.

As impressive as the Rebels were, South Carolina provided a dogfight until late in the game.

Carolina opened the game exactly the way it wanted. The Gamecocks not only drove 75 yards in ten plays, culminating in an 11-yard scoring pass from Collin Hill to Shi Smith, but the march used 5:36 off the clock before the Ole Miss offense took an offensive snap. Parker White’s kick put South Carolina up 7-0.

On the drive, Hill completed all three of his passes and each went to Smith who made a one-handed grab for the touchdown. Kevin Harris handled all the rushing duties on the initial drive, gaining 31 yards on seven attempts.

As Carolinian as the Gamecocks’ first drive was, Ole Miss took the ensuing kickoff and mounted a Kiffinian one.

The Rebels marched 57 yards in 14 plays and took less than five minutes to do it. Ole Miss utilized Elijah Moore who caught three passes and ran two times to help the Rebels get deep enough into USC territory that Matt Corral was able to find Dontario Drummond with a three-yard scoring strike. Luke Logan’s conversion tied the score.

The next South Carolina drive did not replicate the first. On the second play of the possession, Hill floated a ball down the right hash that fell into the waiting arms of A.J. Finley and Ole Miss got the first break of the game, taking over at its own 37.

Rebels take the lead after one quarter

A little over three minutes later, Corral was in the end zone. Ole Miss converted a fourth-and-eight situation on a 23-yard pass from Corral to Moore and then the Rebels’ quarterback kept the ball around the right side and scored from three yards out. Logan’s boot gave Ole Miss a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

In the opening period, the two teams showed how their offensive philosophies differ. The Rebels had four receivers with catches and four players rush the ball. Harris was the only Gamecock to run the ball and all the South Carolina receptions were made by Smith.

Two plays into the second quarter, Harris made his presence known. He sprinted 46 yards untouched for the South Carolina touchdown and after White’s kick, suddenly the score was tied.

The scoring run gave Harris 102 yards on the ground on ten carries.

On the ensuing drive, Jerrion Ealy showed he had explosiveness as well. After running for four yards on the initial play, the sophomore sprinted for 39 yards on the next one to put the Rebels in business at the Carolina 39.  A couple of costly penalties caused a first-and-goal from the 27, but undeterred, Ole Miss never needed third down. Corral found Ealy roaming free in the Carolina secondary and hit him with a 15-yard pass to regain the lead. Logan’s third extra point gave the Rebs a 21-14 edge.

Yet South Carolina’s offense kept running on all cylinders. A 33-yard run by Deshaun Fenwick put the Gamecocks deep into Ole Miss territory and a few plays later Harris blasted in from the one. White’s conversion tied the game at 21-21.

Ole Miss takes a lead into halftime

Ole Miss took over the ball with a touch over three-and-a-half minutes left in the half and exploded down the field. Sparked by a 52-yard pass to Drummond, the Rebels found themselves on the doorstep of another touchdown. But the opportunity fizzled when on third down at the four Corral was sacked and lost the ball.

Carolina was not able to move the ball and punted. The Rebels used a pass interference penalty and a 27 yard to Connor who got out of bounds with one second left. That gave Logan time to nail a 22-yarder to give Ole Miss a 24-21 halftime lead.

Rebels launch second-half attack

The Rebels added to the lead when they took the second-half kickoff. Ole Miss drove 75 yards to a Connor two-yard scoring run and the conversion gave the Rebs a ten-point lead, 31-21.

South Carolina would not surrender. USC took the ensuing kick and quickly moved down field, cutting into the lead on a Harris one-yard run. The kick sliced the Ole Miss lead to 31-28.

The Ole Miss offense stalled on the next possession and punted for the first time. It only took Harris two plays to run for 76 yards – the second a 44-yard score. South Carolina had a 35-31 lead after the conversion with a tick under three minutes left in the third quarter.

Fewer than two minutes later, Ole Miss regained the lead. After Sanders made a diving catch for a 57-yard gain, Ealy sprinted 12 yards for a touchdown. Logan gave the Rebels a 38-35 advantage.

Gamecocks keep fighting

Fenwick put the Carolina offense on its shoulders on the next drive, ripping off big runs to get into Rebels’ territory. Finally, Harris capped the drive with his fifth touchdown run, this one from 12 yards to allow the Gamecocks to regain the lead. Just into the fourth quarter, USC led 42-38.

A muffed kickoff forced Ole Miss to start its next possession from its own six. But after an Ealy three-yard run, it was time for more Moore. The junior found himself lonesome in the Carolina secondary and gathered in a Corral pass on his way to a 91-yard scoring pass. After trailing for 45 seconds, the Rebels led 45-42 after the conversion.

Corral was effusive in his praise of his slot receiver, Moore.

  “I do not believe there is another guy in the country like him, not even at Alabama. His route-running is different. He belongs in the NFL.

Corral on Elijah Moore

Coach Kiffin was asked to describe Moore’s day. “Sick,” he said.

I mean, the kid’s got 270 total yards today, when they’re game-planning against him and putting their best player on him for most of the game. He’s just really special. And he’s such a cool kid.

Coach Kiffin on Elijah Moore’s day

Rebels seal the victory

Ole Miss took its second ten-point lead of the second half on the ensuing possession. The Rebels moved 80 yards on just eight plays and earned the double-digit lead when Ealy ran in from the five and Logan’s kick put the Rebs ahead 52-42 with just over six minutes remaining.

The Rebels sealed it a couple of minutes later. After stopping South Carolina on a fourth down, it appeared Ole Miss was going to attempt to kill the clock. Kiffin had other ideas. Facing a fourth-and-11 and not considering a field goal, Corral hit Moore for a 25-yard touchdown and Casey Griffith hit his first conversion for the 59-42 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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