Photo and story courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics
A white-hot Ole Miss offense through three games was held in check from the opening kickoff. The top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide came up with fourth-down stops and took advantage in order to win 42-21 at Bryant-Denny Stadium and hand the No. 12 Rebels their first loss of the season.
Matt Corral completed 22 of 30 passes for 213 yards with a touchdown on the ground and through the air to Chase Rogers, who had a team-high 53 yards on three catches. Henry Parrish Jr. led the way on the ground with 47 yards on 11 carries. Snoop Conner also added a touchdown run.
Defensively, Otis Reese led the Rebels with a career-high 11 tackles, followed by Chance Campbell’s career-high 10 tackles, including 1.5 for a loss. Keidron Smith came away with the team’s only turnover, recording a second-half interception.
Along with totaling 291 yards of total offense, the Rebels finished 5-for-14 on third down and 2-for-5 on fourth down. Both played a role early on as Alabama got out to a fast start and didn’t look back.
For the first time all season, the Rebels left the field empty handed on their first possession. Despite two fourth-down conversions by Henry Parrish Jr. and a spectacular one-handed grab by Braylon Sanders, Alabama stuffed Jerrion Ealy on 4th-and-1 and took over on their own six-yard line. The Tide took advantage, driving 94 yards down field and finishing it with a touchdown pass from Bryce Young to John Metchie. With 2:20 left in the opening quarter, Alabama had a 7-0 lead and Ole Miss trailed for the first time in 2021.
Alabama had better field position on their next drive after snuffing out another fourth down attempt at the Ole Miss 47-yard line. Going into the second quarter, the Crimson Tide executed a fourth-down attempt of their own near the goal line, with Brian Robinson finding the end zone standing up. Two fourth-down stops led to a 14-0 Alabama lead with 12:14 left in the second quarter.
Both teams traded punts before Alabama cashed in on yet another fourth-down attempt. After the Crimson Tide defense shut down an Ole Miss speed option on fourth down, Young threw his second touchdown pass of the game, again on fourth down. Young found Cameron Latu on a play action, three-yard pass to go up 21-0. It would get even worse for the Rebels as Corral’s first fumble of the season led to another Robinson touchdown. Going into the locker room, the Crimson Tide had a commanding 28-0 lead.
Things didn’t get any better for the Rebels coming out of halftime as Alabama went down the field and scored once again. Robinson added a third rushing touchdown, capping off a quick six-play, 77-yard drive to give his team a 35-0 lead.
Ole Miss finally broke through with 8:25 left in the third quarter. Parrish and Snoop Conner carried the load on a 75-yard drive that took 11 plays, with Corral calling his own number for a 10-yard touchdown run. It looked as if Alabama would tack on more points on their next drive, but an end-zone interception by Keidron Smith erased those plans. However, Robinson later added his fourth touchdown 10:47 left to play to make it a 42-7 game.
Ole Miss showed no quit, driving for consecutive touchdowns. Corral hit Rogers for a 42-yard gain to eventually set up a one-yard Conner rushing score. The Rebel defense then stonewalled Robinson on fourth down of the ensuing drive, setting the stage for another Rebel score. This time, the Rebels used heavy doses of Parrish, as well as a timely pass interference call before Corral hit Rogers for the tight end’s first career score.
The Rebels return to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Saturday, October 9 when they’ll look to rebound in SEC play against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Kickoff and television coverage will be determined at a later date between 11 a.m. CT on ESPN and 2:30 p.m. CT on CBS. The game can also be listened to on the Ole Miss Radio Network.