Ole Miss football lost to the Auburn Tigers 35-28 on Saturday after multiple missed opportunities and a few questionable calls. This is the third-straight loss for Rebel football this season.
After Auburn wide receiver Seth Williams broke tackles and found the endzone, the two-point conversion put the Tigers in the lead. UM quarterback Matt Corral’s final pass attempt was intercepted by Auburn’s Jordyn Peters, who let the clock run out and left the Rebels unable to respond.
UM head coach Lane Kiffin’s key gamble from this game was a fake field goal attempted in the third quarter that led to a loss of four yards for kicker Luke Logan.
“It was just something that, during the week, our special teams guys felt good about … The flip was a little bit short, so he had to come back a little bit, and he couldn’t run on the edge,” Kiffin said. “I don’t mind fake field goals when they don’t work because you can miss the field goal, and I think we missed the same exact spot, same hash versus Florida.”
One thing that Kiffin and the players on the field could not control was the officiating. This season Ole Miss has received a fair share of questionable calls, but one in the fourth quarter of the homecoming game tops the rest.
With the Rebels leading 28-27 and 5:43 on the clock, on a short kickoff, referees on the field ruled that Auburn’s Shaun Shivers did not touch the ball before it rolled into the endzone and was recovered by Ole Miss.
Ole Miss fans and the college football world have pointed to the movement of Shivers’s pinky as proof that he touched the ball. If he did touch the ball or if the call had been reversed, Ole Miss could have scored a touchdown to be up 35-27 following an extra point from Ole Miss.
“You don’t really challenge anymore in college because they review everything, supposedly,” Kiffin said. “So there’s no use in challenging because the guy says they looked at it and said they didn’t see anything. Even when they don’t stop it, they’re still looking.”
Although Corral played better than last week, his performance was not where it needed to be for the Rebels to win — he missed throws, threw balls late and threw an interception in the endzone — all of which contributed to the loss. Corral managed to complete 16 out of 27 passes for 154 yards.
This week, the Rebels offensive rushed a season-high of 283 yards. Corral rushed for two touchdowns and ran for 88 yards. Running back Jerrion Ealy had 74 yards rushing and one touchdown, and Snoop Conner rushed for 75 yards.
Sophomore John Rhys Plumlee saw more significant playing time at quarterback. He came into the game and rushed for 37 yards at one point, helping push the Rebels into scoring position. Besides that, he had only one pass attempt and seven run attempts.
The Rebels will head to Vanderbilt to play what could be an easy victory. Vanderbilt has not played a game in almost three weeks as their game last week was postponed because of COVID-19 and the past week was their bye week.
Given the lack of games for Vanderbilt recently and their limited practice time, the Rebels will likely face a less-prepared football team on Oct. 31 when they play in Nashville, Tenn.