Gamer: No. 1 Alabama defeats No. 12 Ole Miss, 42-21
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — As Kenny Rogers sang, “You have to know when to hold them, know when to fold them.”
Ole Miss perhaps should have held Its cards a little closer to the vest, but the Rebels gambled on early fourth downs and as happens often, the casino won. This casino was not in Atmore, Wetumpka nor Montgomery, Ala., but at the end of the day, the house won in Tuscaloosa.
Ole Miss failed on three fourth-down attempts in the first half that directly led to three Crimson Tide touchdowns and the top-ranked Alabama beat the Rebels 42-21.
The gambling philosophy did seem to work for the Rebels early.
Ole Miss converted two first downs on the initial drive of the game, but unfortunately the Rebels needed to have three. After driving to the Alabama 6, Jerrion Ealy was stuffed and a 59-yard drive to open the game yielded no points for the Rebels.
The Crimson Tide took over and drove 94-yards that culminated in a 16-yard scoring strike from Bryce Young to John Metchie III and Will Reichard’s kick gave Bama a 7-0 lead.
That score held until the end of the first quarter. Ole Miss was held scoreless for the second consecutive quarter. The Rebels did not score in the fourth quarter against Tulane, although Ole Miss had called the dogs off in a rout.
The Rebels drove to midfield on the next drive, but again Ole Miss was stopped on a fourth down and Bama took over with a short field and drove to the doorstep of another score when the Landshark defense stiffened forcing a pivotal play.
Alabama faced its own fourth-down situation and they converted. Facing the fourth down at the one, Brian Robinson, Jr., strolled into the end zone and after Reichard’s kick, the Crimson Tide led 14-0.
Ole Miss failed again on a fourth down, the third time in the first half, to give Alabama the ball at the Rebels’ 27. Six plays later, on a fourth down, Young hit Cameron Latu from the 3 for a touchdown, and the kick gave the Tide a 21-0 advantage.
Corral: "Our coaches trusted us to make the (4th down) plays. It's on us for not executing those fourth down plays when we needed it. They did a little bit of drop 8. They did everything they showed on tape."
— The Rebel Walk (@TheRebelWalk) October 2, 2021
A Matt Corral fumble gave Alabama another short field to work with in the waning minutes of the first half. With 57 seconds left, Robinson got into the end zone again and after the kick it was a 28-0 Alabama lead at the break.
It was the first time a Lane Kiffin-Ole Miss team has been held scoreless in the first half of a game.
The 28 points Alabama put on the scoreboard in the first half was seven more than the Rebels have surrendered in the previous three games combined.
Alabama continued its onslaught to start the third quarter. The Tide took the second-half kickoff and quickly drove six plays, covering 77 yards that ended in another Robinson touchdown to increase the Bama lead to 35-0.
Ole Miss finally got into the end zone midway through the third quarter when Corral sprinted in from the 10 to cap an 11-play, 77-yard drive. Caden Costa’s conversion cut the lead to 35-7.
The TIde added to its lead and to Robinson’s touchdown total on its next drive. This time Robinson just needed to cover two yards to put Alabama ahead 42-7.
Ole Miss added to its total when Snoop Conner scored from the 1 to slice the lead to 42-14 with 8:43 to go in the game.
Corral finished the scoring with a 2-yard scoring pass to Chase Rogers to cut the lead in half, 42-21.
In a duel between Heisman candidates, Young completed 21-of-27 for 241 yards and a pair of touchdowns with an interception. Corral was 22-of-30 for 213 yards and a score.
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.