The Ole Miss football team missed another golden opportunity in a tight game against Texas A&M.
The Aggies took advantage of two second-half turnovers and defeated the Rebels 24-17 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Saturday. The loss drops Ole Miss to 3-5 overall and 2-3 in SEC play.
“I’m sorry that we came up short. We’re going to continue to work out. We have some guys in that locker room that are hurting,” head coach Matt Luke said. “The defense played their guts out and gave us a chance to win the football game, but we didn’t make enough plays on offense. Give Texas A&M credit. They made the plays, and we didn’t and came up short.”
Despite out-gaining the Aggies in total yards 405-337, the Rebels were undone by blown opportunities, in particular two second-half turnovers in between Matt Corral and John Rhys Plumlee. Plumlee’s fumble midway through the third quarter gave Texas A&M the lead for good at 17-14. While trying to run out the clock late, the Aggies would score again with Isaiah Spiller to put the game out of reach at 24-14.
Like last week against Missouri, the Rebels utilized a dual-quarterback system starting in the second quarter. There were even plays where Plumlee and Corral were used in the same formation. Neither were able to move the ball consistently.
“We weren’t getting first downs. I’ll have to look back at the film,” offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez said. “We did some decent things, but we can play better.”
In the air, Plumlee finished 5-12 for 43 yards. Corral finished 9-17 for 112 yards. Both combined for 43 rushing yards. Jerrion Ealy had six carries for 80 yards. His 69 yard touchdown came with 5:22 in the first quarter to give them a 7-3 lead. He left the game in the second half due to a sickness and never returned to play. Snoop Conner capped off a 5 play, 65 yard drive with a two-yard touchdown to begin the second half and give Ole Miss the lead back at 14-10. Conner had five carries for 52 yards as well.
Defensively, the Rebels were without Jacquez Jones and Tariqious Tisdale for the first half following targeting penalties each player received last week. They held the Aggies to just two offensive touchdowns.
“Most of the runs we usually fit, we fit tonight. Our secondary is getting better and I think they proved it tonight,” defensive coordinator Mike MacIntyre said. “Their receivers and quarterback are good players. We had plays that we could have made and didn’t.”
Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond finished 16-28 for 172 yards. His lone touchdown pass came with 38 seconds left in the first half when he connected with Kendrick Rogers from 18 yards out.
Lakia Henry led the Rebels with nine tackles. Austrian Robinson and Donta Evans each had their first interception of the season, both of which came in the first half.
Luke Logan finished 1-3 in field goals. His 50-yard attempt sailed wide right and his 35-yard attempt was blocked while trying to tie the game at 17 late in the third quarter. His only successful kick came with 26 seconds left in the game in an attempt to make a late comeback.
The Rebels will be off next week with a bye before traveling to Auburn on Nov. 9.