Ole Miss falls flat in the second half, drops first game of the season to Alabama 24-10
TUSCALOOSA, Alabama (WLBT) - Lane Kiffin and the #15 ranked Ole Miss Rebels had high hopes for their matchup Saturday against an unusually struggling #13 ranked Alabama team in Tuscaloosa.
Having not beaten Alabama since 2015, Ole Miss (3-0) looked to take advantage of a wounded Alabama (2-1) team that couldn’t afford to drop another game on the season.
After punting on their first drive, the Rebels were warmed up. They held the Crimson Tide to just a field goal after letting them get all the way down to their own 9-yardline.
Once they got the ball back, it took quarterback Jaxson Dart just seven plays to get his offense all the way down the field, before he raced through his offensive line and into the endzone for six.
The Rebels led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter.
The Tide looked to answer the call and got deep into Ole Miss territory to start the second quarter, but on third-and-goal, quarterback Jalen Milroe threw an interception right into the hands of senior cornerback Zamari Walton.
Ole Miss continued their impressive defensive performance in the first half by only allowing one additional Alabama field-goal.
One of the few plays Ole Miss didn’t execute on in the first half was a missed 34-yard field-goal by Caden Davis, who’s been seemingly automatic to start the season.
As Ole Miss walked off the field, they seemed to have all the momentum possible.
Whatever Coach Kiffin said to his players at halftime, didn’t work.
Whatever Coach Saban said to his players at halftime, did work.
Ole Miss, who had been averaging over 52 points a game on offense through three games, struggled to get anything going in the second half.
On the other side, the defense had hit its breaking point.
Alabama scored on three straight possessions to open up the second half. One of those scores coming just a few plays after Dart’s first real mistake of the game, a deep-ball interception.
“You ain’t gonna just turn and hand the ball off to these guys over time and beat them, in my opinion. You gotta be able to hit some shots and move the ball around and make the plays when they’re there because they’re not gonna give you a ton of them,” said Kiffin.
The Rebels got the ball with eight-minutes remaining in the game, and used over six-minutes of the game-clock before Dart missed his man on a 4th and 17 play in Alabama territory.
Coming off a hot start to the season and having never beaten his former boss in his career, Kiffin described Saturday’s loss as nothing more than a disappointment.
“This was really discouraging to come in here. I really thought this was our shot to beat these guys,” said Kiffin.
Dart echoed that same statement.
“I felt like our whole team felt like this was the year to get them,” said Dart.
Dart’s final stat-line was 20-35 passing for 244-yards and one interception.
Ole Miss only collected 56-yards on the ground, with almost all of those yards coming from star runningback, Quinshon Judkins.
The Rebels (3-1) will travel home to Oxford next Saturday to take on another tough opponent in #12 LSU (3-1) at 5:00 p.m.
Alabama (3-1) will also travel to the Magnolia State to take on a struggling Mississippi State (2-2) team in Starkville at 8:00 p.m.
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