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No. 12 Ole Miss football puts away No. 11 Texas A&M, 29-19

Defense?! Yes, defense leads the win for Ole Miss.

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at Mississippi Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

On a day when much of the college football world focused in on Oxford, Ole Miss and Lane Kiffin’s offense sputtered at times, and the Rebel defense shone brightest in a 29-19 win over Texas A&M.

AJ Finley intercepted a Zach Calzada pass and took it 52 yards to the end zone to put Ole Miss (8-2, 4-2 SEC) up 29-13 with only four minutes left in the game to seal the win. This was the second time the defense put points on the board, with a safety coming in the second quarter as the Rebel defense engulfed the Aggie rush attack.

But that safety came due to a failed fourth down conversion from Ole Miss inside the five yard line. Quarterback Matt Corral continued to be reliable in leading the offense, going 24 of 37 passing for 247 yards and a touchdown, but his rushing attempts were stymied by a stout TAMU defensive line as Corral had 10 attempts for -5 yards.

Fortunately, the three headed running back monster of Jerrion Ealy, Snoop Conner and Henry Parrish Jr. picked up more than 250 yards rushing combined with Ole Miss rushing for more yards in the game (257 on 56 carries) than the Aggies had allowed in any other game this season.

Ole Miss wide receivers Braylon Sanders and Dontario Drummond played the most snaps we have seen in several games as both have battled injuries. Sanders caught three passes for 56 yards, and Drummond hauled in six catches for 49 yards and a touchdown.

The Rebels led 15-0 at halftime of this game, and it seemed the game was just shy of getting out of hand as Ole Miss outgained TAMU by more than 300 yards in the first half.

But the Aggies showed some moxie and resilience getting back into the game, scoring 13 unanswered points to close the game to only two points. It never got closer, however. An interception by Ashanti Cistrunk set up a Conner touchdown from 13 yards out to stretch the lead to 22-13 before the massive pick six by Finley.

With the win, Ole Miss is one home victory away from finishing undefeated at home for the first time since 1992. The Rebels play Vanderbilt at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 20.

Ole Miss also jumped to second in the SEC Western Division behind Alabama with how week 11 played out. There is still two weeks of football to play, and anything could happen as Bama faces Arkansas and Auburn in its final two games.

Let’s be honest with ourselves here though - Saturday’s win was the biggest of Kiffin’s tenure at Ole Miss. He has ascended the program in only 20 games to heights only seen once in the last decade, and there is still more to play for - something Rebel fans haven’t been able to say in November for a long time.