Tennessee fans pelted the Ole Miss bench with a variety of items after a late fourth-down call went against the Volunteers in a 31-26 Ole Miss win on Saturday night.
Tennessee was attempting to score a game-winning touchdown in the final moments of the game and faced a fourth-and-24. Hendon Hooker found Jacob Warren for what was so close to a first down. But Warren was knocked down about a foot short of the yard marker. Replays couldn’t overturn the call and Ole Miss got the ball back with 54 seconds to go.
At least some Tennessee fans were convinced that the call was incorrect. So they started raining things down onto the field and the Ole Miss bench area. Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin was even hit with a golf ball after the replay review.
The field was littered with plastic bottles and other items and Tennessee cheerleaders and band members even left the field to take cover. Fans’ frustration inexcusably boiled over after they grew infuriated with myriad injuries and cramps to Ole Miss players throughout the evening as fans apparently believed that Ole Miss players were faking injuries to stop the game.
The game was halted for roughly 20 minutes as officials sorted out what they could do. The game was Kiffin’s first in Knoxville as an opposing head coach after serving as the team’s coach during the 2009 season.
Tennessee had all three timeouts when Ole Miss got the ball back and forced the Rebels to punt. And UT had two shots at the end zone after QB Hendon Hooker was injured on a first down run. Joe Milton came in to replace Hooker and tossed incomplete pass into the end zone before an ill-fated scramble on the final play of the game.
“I don’t know if I’m more excited that we found a way to win or that I didn’t get hit with the golf balls they were throwing at me,” Kiffin deadpanned after the game.
You can understand why Kiffin was relieved. This is how close Milton came to throwing a game-winning TD pass.
Matt Corral bolsters Heisman case
Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral threw for 231 yards and rushed for 195 as he continued to be one of the favorites for the Heisman Trophy.
Corral hit Dontario Drummond for a 16-yard TD pass with 2:04 left in the third quarter. That gave Ole Miss a 31-19 lead and proved to be the Rebels’ final points of the game as Tennessee couldn’t get close to scoring a game-winning touchdown until that final possession.
The game had the highest over/under of the season and moved up to 83.5 at one point before closing at 82. It made some sense — Ole Miss had scored 52 in a one-point win over Arkansas in Week 6 and Tennessee entered the game with over 100 points combined in its last two games.
But like many anticipated shootouts, this one didn’t come close to living up to its points billing. Tennessee’s TD with 13:41 to go in the game was the only score of the fourth quarter and the teams had just 21 points in the second half.
Corral entered the weekend at +200 to win the Heisman and tied with Alabama QB Bryce Young with the best odds. While Ole Miss may not have much of a chance to win the SEC West, Corral leads his team in both passing and rushing and has accounted for 22 total touchdowns through six games.