No. 15 Ole Miss survived two comebacks by No. 2 Alabama to hang on for the 43-37 upset in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday night. It’s the first time Ole Miss has beaten Alabama on the road since 1988 and the first time in program history that the Rebels have beaten Alabama in consecutive games.
The final Alabama attempt to take the lead in the second half ended when Jake Coker threw his second interception and Alabama’s fifth turnover of the night. The deep pass down the seam was underthrown because Coker was leveled as he was hit. Tony Bridges came down with it and Ole Miss simply had to bleed 2:36 from the clock while Alabama had one timeout left.
Appropriately enough for this four-hour game, Ole Miss couldn’t accomplish that and gave Alabama the ball back with 31 seconds left. But the last-gasp shot at the win went nowhere.
Alabama had previously scored 13 straight points before its final two drives after Ole Miss took a 42-24 lead thanks to a touchdown pass from Chad Kelly to Laquon Treadwell.
Before closing the gap to six points late in the fourth quarter, Alabama had gotten the game within six points with 12:30 left. But Ole Miss responded with a 73-yard pass from Chad Kelly to Cody Core. The TD throw came as Kelly rolled to the right and was straddling the line of scrimmage – it was initially ruled an illegal forward pass.
The officiating crew eventually overturned the penalty while Alabama fans wished there was a foul for an Ole Miss lineman being too far downfield before the pass was thrown. Ineligible receiver penalties are not reviewable.
The pass wasn’t the only crazy break that Ole Miss caught in its aerial attack. In the third quarter, Kelly connected with Quincy Adeboyejo for a nutty 66-yard touchdown pass that was tipped by Alabama defenders before Adeboyejo caught it.
As Kelly showed poise in his first SEC start, Alabama couldn’t hold on to the ball. The Tide fumbled two kickoffs; turnovers that directly led to 10 Ole Miss points. The Rebels scored 24 points on drives after Alabama turnovers and Cooper Bateman, who started in place of Coker at quarterback, was benched in favor of Coker after throwing an interception.
To add insult to the turnover, he got leveled afterwards.
Kelly, who transferred to Ole Miss from Clemson via community college, finished 18-33 for 341 yards passing and three touchdowns. Alabama running back Derrick Henry ran 23 times for 121 yards and a touchdown.
With the win, Ole Miss immediately becomes the favorite in the SEC West, though given what we’ve seen in college football so far, that status may not be long-lived. And Alabama can take solace in the fact that Ohio State, last year’s College Football Playoff champions, lost in September last year. But it’s not clear just who Alabama’s best quarterback is and the Tide haven’t found an adequate replacement (or two) for the production that now-Oakland Raiders WR Amari Cooper provided in 2014.
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Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter!
SOURCE: Yahoo! Sports