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No. 13 Ole Miss football and Matt Corral stave off raucous environment and Tennessee, 31-26

HEI2MAN was on full display in Knoxville.

Josh McCoy-Ole Miss Athletics

Where do we begin?

No. 13 Ole Miss (5-1, 2-1) beat Tennessee, 31-26, on Saturday and Matt Corral put up 426 total yards and two touchdowns. And somehow that wasn’t the storyline.

In the final minute, the Tennessee faithful in Neyland Stadium, unhappy with a fourth down spot, started raining objects down from all areas of the stadium. The Vols had all three timeouts left and forced the Rebels to punt it away and to get one final defensive stand to put this one to bed.

And that the defense did.

When it mattered most, DJ Durkin’s defense got after the quarterback and held off a spunky Tennessee team in the midst of a fucking warzone. The aforementioned Heisman Trophy candidate was once again masterful, throwing for 231 yards and running for another 195. The defense, too, was fantastic, sacking Hendon Hooker five times and making 10 tackles for loss.

The offense ran 101(!) plays and just got it done. Corral did it with his feet and the receiving corp did it by committee with Dontario Drummond and Dannis Jackson both catching touchdowns. Snoop Conner two scores on the ground and it was enough to escape Knox County with a win.

We’re not going to spend a lot of time discussing the figurative and literal trash that happened at the end of the game. Instead, we’re going to praise the defense, especially the front seven. Mark Robinson and Jake Springer combined for 25 tackles, six tackles for loss, and three sacks. Sam Williams stepped up big-time in big situations (7 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks) and Cedric Johnson (3 tackles, 0.5 sack, 0.5 tackles for loss) was incredibly active in the backfield all night.

But, as is the story with most Heisman hopefuls, Corral was a wizard once again. When the Rebels needed a first down to move the chains and to quiet the crowd, No. 2 was there, ready to quiet the 95,000 or so Vol fans.

Sure, things got dicey at the end and everyone was certainly on the edge of their seat, awaiting the impending doom. But, this team’s resiliency is unmatched to this point.

The Rebels return home next week to take on LSU (4-3, 2-2) in what is sure to be a phenomenal environment as Ole Miss will retire Eli Manning’s No. 10 jersey.