Though the Rebels rallied back from a 16-point deficit, LSU secured the 53-48 win over the Rebels after the team failed to overcome six turnovers and a fumble in the last minute of the game.
The Tigers had the lead after LSU’s Max Johnson found wide receiver Kayshon Boutte for a 45-yard touchdown, leaving the Rebels with just over a minute left to find the end zone again. However, a fumble recovery from the Tigers left quarterback Matt Corral and the Rebels with a heartbreaking loss.
“It’s really a shame because we had them, and we’re not going to get many opportunities like that,” head coach Lane Kiffin said in the post-game presser. “You’re certainly not going to get many opportunities with opt-outs, COVID and an empty stadium at LSU. That (isn’t going to) happen again. We’re frustrated.”
Corral completed 15 out of 27 passes for 251 yards and rushed 17 carries for his career-high of 158 yards. He also threw three touchdown passes against the Tigers and five interceptions. Corral was also responsible for the final-minute fumble.
“I was being a little too aggressive, not being calm in the pocket (and) doing things out of the norm that I don’t usually do,” Corral said. “As a competitor, I take that loss across the chin. I have the ball 98% of the time. That’s on me.”
Ole Miss had 558 yards of total offense, making this the fourth straight game the Rebels had more than 550 yards. In rushing yards, the Rebels ran for a season-high of 307, beating their last season-high record (283 yards) against Auburn.
Last week, Junior wide receiver Elijah Moore and senior tight end Kenny Yeboah announced that they would be focusing on the NFL Draft. Without the team’s top tight end and wide receiver, freshman Henry Parrish Jr. and senior wide receiver Braylon Sanders stepped up during Saturday’s game. Parrish scored his first career touchdown in the second quarter and went on to score his second touchdown in the third, making him the second freshman to score two rushing touchdowns since Snoop Conner in 2019.
Sanders scored the first touchdown of the game with a 20-yard touchdown catch in the opening drive and at the beginning of the fourth quarter to put the Rebels in the lead at 41-40.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Rebels gave up 593 yards. Lakia Henry led with 12 tackles. Defensive back Keidron Smith recorded his first interception of the season after picking off Johnson’s end zone pass in the fourth quarter.
“(I) just wish we ended on a better note for the players, especially the older guys,” Kiffin said. “(The win) was there. We had all the chances to do it. You’re not going to get many chances like that. It’s just really unfortunate.”
Despite the loss, Ole Miss received a bowl game invitation on Sunday for the first time in five years. The Rebels will turn their attention to the Outback Bowl against No. 11 Indiana in Tampa, Fla., on Jan. 2.