Despite a 63 – 48 loss to No. 2 Alabama, the Rebels and the Crimson Tide put forth one of the highest-scoring SEC regulation games in history with 111 points. The game marks the first match-up between Alabama head coach Nick Saban and his former offensive coordinator, current UM head coach Lane Kiffin.
“It’s kind of a shame that we weren’t able to pull it off,” Kiffin said in a post-game Zoom press conference. “I would have never guessed you would see, looking at these stats here, three punts, and someone just said most points in the history of an SEC regulation game — especially against Coach Saban and that defense.”
After what seemed like a game of tag, the teams combined 1,370 total yards of offense, which set another SEC record for the highest total yardage in a SEC conference game. The Rebels also stacked 48 points against Alabama, making them the first unranked team to ever score that many points since the beginning of the AP Poll era in 1936.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Rebels finished with 647 total yards of offense, the most ever given up by Alabama. Quarterback Matt Corral threw two touchdown passes and completed 21 out of 28 passes for 347 yards. Tight end Kenny Yeboah set school records with 181 receiving yards on seven catches, the most for any Rebel tight end to accomplish.
The running game also hit the record books as running backs Snoop Conner and Jerrion Ealy both had over 100-yard games, setting them next to Darren McFadden, Ezekiel Elliot, Todd Gurley and Dante Smith for the most rushing yards against a Saban-led Alabama team. Snoop and Ealy combined for 40 carries and a total of 284 yards on the ground.
“I was kind of surprised by that. We have struggled to run the ball,” Kiffin said. “Nobody runs the ball normally on these guys. That was good to see. I was surprised at halftime saying we need to run the ball more.”
Even though the Ole Miss offense performed well, so did the Crimson Tide’s. The Rebels gave up 723 yards of offense and nine touchdowns. The Rebel defense was led by MoMo Sanogo, who had nine tackles for the night, along with Jakorey Hawkins and Keidron Smith with eight tackles against the Tide.
“To beat that team, you have to play perfect, and we didn’t do that,” Kiffin said. “Obviously, we didn’t play well on defense. We didn’t tackle well.”
Moral victories and broken records were not Kiffin’s intentions for the game against his former boss, telling his players, ‘Don’t be happy,’ and to be ready to get better after their day off.
“We came here to win,” Kiffin said. “We didn’t come here to play close or cover any spreads. You just don’t get chances like this, and I don’t think kids understand that. You don’t get many chances to beat the number one team, the best program in the country and it’s right there to take.”
The Rebels will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., on Oct. 17 for a competition against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m., and the game will air on ESPN 2.