Gamer: Ole Miss loses hard-fought game to Alabama, 30-24
OXFORD, Miss. – Once again, the second half was not good for Ole Miss. Alabama outscored the Rebels 16-7 after halftime to escape a sold-out Vaught-Hemingway Stadium with a 30-24 win Saturday.
Ole Miss falls to 8-2, 4-2 in SEC play. The Tide improved to 8-2, 5-2.
Quinshon Judkins ran for 135 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but during the last Ole Miss drive of the game, he was visibly exhausted as the Rebels attempted to tie the game via the pass game. But a Jaxson Dart desperation fourth-down pass fell incomplete to allow Bama to take the win.
“Really disappointing finish, to that game, to your home winning streak on the line,” Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin said.
“Playing Alabama, with ball in our hands to win. We didn’t do it. Watched two other teams this year do it, in Tennessee and LSU, finish right at the end when you have a chance to do it.”
Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin
On the opening drive of the game, Ole Miss moved the ball at will until it got deep into Crimson Tide territory. The Rebels kept the ball for the first 3:23 of the game using their up-tempo offense, but facing a fourth-and-2 at the Bama 12, Zach Evans was stoned at the line of scrimmage to turn the ball over on downs.
Alabama was not successful on its initial drive either, but finally a team broke through late in the first quarter.
An 11-play drive for the Rebels finally culminated in a Quinshon Judkins’ 1-yard scoring run and Jonathan Cruz added the conversion to give Ole Miss a 7-0 lead with just over a minute to go in the first quarter.
Early in the second period, Ole Miss got back into the Tide’s red zone – for the third time in the game – but at least came out with points as Cruz nailed a 22 yarder to put the Rebels ahead 10-0.
On the next possession, Alabama got on the scoreboard. After moving into Ole Miss territory, Bryce Young threw a 19-yard scoring strike to cap off a seven-play, 80-yard drive and after the kick, the Rebels’ lead was cut to 10-7.
With five minutes left until halftime, Ole Miss capitalized on the first turnover of the game. After driving from midfield, Judkins once again blasted in from the one and the Rebels took a 17-7 advantage.
But late in the second quarter, Ole Miss was dealt a blow. In its own territory, Evans had the ball knocked loose and after an official review, Alabama was awarded possession at the Rebels’ 23.
The Crimson Tide cashed in with just eight seconds left in the half when Young hit Cameron Latu with an 8-yard touchdown and after the conversion, the score stood at 17-10 at the break.
“There is really a 10-point swing there when they start the third quarter with a field goal,” Kiffin said. “That was obviously discouraging, it is what it is. Zach took a big hit, unfortunately the ball came out, and actually ended up with a concussion and didn’t return. Really good play by them and obviously a big deal to hand 7 points away right there.”
After scoring last in the first half, Bama got the ball to start the second half. That first possession of the third quarter was pivotal. Young was able to convert a 39-yard field goal to tie the score.
Ole Miss was not done, however. On the ensuing drive, Jaxson Dart hit Jonathan Mingo on a quick slant and the result was a three-yard touchdown and Cruz converted the kick to put the Rebels back ahead, 24-17.
The Tide tied the score again late in the third when Young hit Ja’cory Brooks with a five-yard strike to tie the game after the conversion.
Richard hit two field goals later to provide the final 30-24 final.
Ole Miss now turns its attention to the last two regular-season games. That starts Saturday when the Rebels visit Arkansas.
(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)
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.