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The Final Whistle: Ole Miss out-lasts Kentucky, wins a wild one in Lexington

Lane Kiffin put a 1 in the win column.

Ole Miss Athletics

Head coach Lane Kiffin has his first win under his belt at Ole Miss. The Rebels traveled to Kentucky for their first road game of the season and out-lasted the Wildcats 42-41 in a wild, back-and-forth firefight in Lexington.

The powder-blue helmet donned boys from Oxford received the opening kickoff and immediately went into warp speed. Two minutes and 25 seconds, eight plays and 75 yards later, Jerron Ealy (and Matt Corral, kind of) was (were collectively) in the end zone.

You at home, yes you... you also get credit for the community touchdown to open scoring!

Kentucky took over for its opening drive and took its first touch of the game for 72 yards. Running back A.J. Rose was through the second level and into space, but forgot he isn’t Tyreek Hill and thew up the deuce. He was tackled by his shoestring before he could score. It was quite comical from the Cats.

Moments later, Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops decided to give his senior back a chance for redemption and punch it in. He fumbled. It was quite comical from the Cats.

Offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby found his group backed up against the goal line and couldn’t get the wheels turning, giving the ball back to Wildcats for a quick game-tying drive. Ole Miss’ defense did nothing again and Kentucky went up 14-7 at the end of a first quarter that saw a ridiculous 301 yards of combined offense.

The pressure was on the Rebels to answer, and answer they did. A slow, methodical, three minute and 14 second drive (lol) ended with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Corral to his tight end Kenny Yeboah. The athletic Temple grad transfer now has two touchdowns in two games, and it’s simply refreshing.

It was then what has been unthinkable through the first five quarters of the season happened. The Ole Miss defense got off of the field. On third-and-1, Jaylon Jones stepped up at the line of scrimmage and stuffed the halfback draw for no gain, forcing a punt.

And then it happened again.

The offense couldn’t capitalize on either opportunity and Kiffin elected to punt on 4th-and-1. It came as a shock and the defense couldn’t make it three stops in a row. Ole Miss went down a score at halftime, and fell behind 28-14 on the first possession of the second half.

Alas, it was time for Jonathan Mingo to get him some.

The game was not out of reach, and Kentucky doinked a 49-yard field goal attempt on the proceeding possession, giving the ball back to Corral and the offense. The So-Cal kid led the Rebels downfield and set up a 3rd-and-goal. Snoop Conner pounded the rock up the gut for what was undeniably a touchdown. Because there was not indisputable evidence that he scored (other than the ball crossing the goal line and Conner laying in the end zone), it was overturned and Ole Miss was stuffed on the fourth down attempt. Sigh.

Nevertheless, the defense did its job and forced a punt.

Okay now back to Mingo, because scored again to tie the game at 28. The sophomore from Brandon, Miss. finished as the team’s leading receiver with 128 yards and two touchdowns. He is very good at football.

With the score knotted up, the defense made the most important play of the game. For a group that was absolutely shredded in the first half, it came up big in the second. MoMo Sanogo, who missed all of 2019 with a broken leg, ripped through the backfield and made the sack. It had to have felt so good.

The offense capitalized and Yeboah made a grab over the middle to set up a Conner redemption score.

If the game wasn’t trying enough, the Wildcats tied it up and gave the Rebels the football with just over two minutes remaining. Facing a 3rd-and-17, Corral found Elijah Moore to set up a 4th-and-1 from the Ole Miss 42-yard-line with 42 seconds left.

Kiffin sent out the punt team and noted bad boi Mac Brown booted a 56-yard bomb. The Wildcats took down the clock and it was a brand new ballgame in Lexington.

Ole Miss hadn’t won an overtime game in 16-years but that changed on Saturday. Kentucky scored to open the extra period, but the college kicker curse fell upon Matt Ruffalo and the extra point went wide.

A first down and a pass interference call set the Rebels up with a first-and-goal from the one-yard-line. Conner couldn’t punch it in on the first attempt, but Corral iced the cake with a quick flick to the flat for Moore. Corral finished an exceptional 24-of-29 night with 320 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.

Luke Logan, who entered the day with well-noted troubles of his own, knocked the extra point through the uprights with authority to give Ole Miss its first win of the season and Kiffin his first win as head coach.