Quincy Adeboyejo

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Another upset brewing? No. 19 Ole Miss leads No. 1 Bama at halftime

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No. 19 Ole Miss built a 21-point lead only to see it reduced to seven almost instantly, but still the 19th-ranked Rebels have taken a 24-17 lead over No. 1 Alabama to the half in Oxford.

Ole Miss opened the game by accepting the ball and promptly moving 75 yards in seven plays, and 63 yards in the final three snaps of the drive — a 25-yard Chad Kelly strike to Evan Engram, a 15-yard connection to Quincy Adeboyejo and, finally, a 23-yard scoring dash by Akeem Judd.

Alabama responded with a typical Alabama drive, chewing up 17 plays and 7:13, but settling for a field goal when Jalen Hurts overshot a wide open Hale Hentges for what would have been an easy 14-yard touchdown.

It was that kind of half for Alabama’s offense, though. Their next possession concluded with an Adam Griffith field goal that sailed wide left, and the Tide’s next three touches concluded in punts.

But when Alabama’s offense went to sleep, Ole Miss’s awakened. After two three-and-outs of its own, the Rebels moved 50 yards to set up a Gary Wunderlich field goal, then found pay dirt again when Kelly, one play after a roughing the passer that negated a would-be 3rd-and-8 situation, nailed a wide open Engram for a 63-yard snatch-and-dash touchdown.

Alabama was seemingly aided by a 15-yard penalty by Ole Miss on its next possession — pass interference, this time — but a Breeland Speaks sack of Hurts tuned into an Ole Miss touchdown.

Speaks on the play got away with an apparent targeting hit and, inexplicably, an excessive hit that occurred before John Youngblood crossed the goal line, yet the score was allowed to stand.

The Tide, though, answered. Oh, did they answer.

Aided by the 15-yard flag on Speaks and a kickoff out of bounds, moving 50 yards in three plays and just 37 seconds, when Calvin Ridley took the snap on a jet sweep and raced in from six yards out with 2:10 to play in the first half.

After forcing a three-and-out by Ole Miss, Eddie Jackson raced the ensuing punt 85 yards for a touchdown, and the Rebels’ 21-point lead was cut to seven in just one minute and five seconds.

Even with the late touchdowns, Alabama’s offense has looked like a unit with trouble running the ball and helmed by a true freshman quarterback. Which it is, of course. Hurts has thrown for just 89 yards on 23 attempts — 3.9 per pop — and leads the club with nine carries for 52 yards, plus a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. Damien Harris has pounded out just 29 yards on six carries, and Joshua Jacobs leads the Tide’s running backs with 33 yards on three carries, though 25 came on one attempt.

Kelly led Ole Miss by hitting 9-of-14 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown while rushing a team-high six times for 38 yards. Judd carried eight times for 36 yards.

Alabama will receive to open the second half.

 

Rebels unable to deliver knockout blow, A&M stay within two scores

Associated Press
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In a game dubbed “The Bounce-Back Bowl,” it’s Ole Miss showing the most resiliency thus far.  Or is it A&M?

Either way, and with two quarters of play still remaining, No. 24 Ole Miss has had its way with No. 15 Texas A&M in nearly every way imaginable in and yet takes just a 16-3 lead into the locker room.  Both teams are coming off a loss — Ole Miss its second, to Memphis, and A&M its first, to Alabama — that kept ESPN’s College GameDay Show from Oxford and sent it instead to the campus of an FCS program.

To illustrate A&M’s first-half struggles — and thus Ole Miss’ given the score — the Aggies had more penalty yards (77) than yards of offense (75) midway through the second quarter.  The Aggies ended the two quarters with 126 yards of offense — and 87 penalty yards — and punted on four of its five possessions, with the other drive ending in a lost fumble.

One sequence of events, though, kept the Aggies from completely being blown out of Oxford… and then didn’t… and then did again.

With 4:19 left in the second quarter, Chad Kelly hit Quincy Adeboyejo for a 43-yard touchdown pass; however, a questionable chop block call negated the touchdown. On the very next play, All-American defensive end Myles Garrett tipped a Kelly pass to himself for an interception that gave A&M the ball at the Ole Miss 33-yard line. While the turnover resulted in just a field goal, it kept what would’ve been a 20-0 deficit at a more manageable 13-3 at the time.

The key phrase there is at the time as, after being forced to punt on the ensuing possession, the Rebels recovered a muffed by superb Aggie freshman Christian Kirk at the Ole Miss 24-yard line. On the very next play, and after a lengthy review, it was determined the Rebels’ Jordan Wilkins had fumbled and it was recovered by the Aggies. On the very next play after that, Aggies quarterback Kyle Allen threw an interception to set the Rebels up at the A&M 24-yard line.

The Rebels were only able to get a field goal out of that mess of turnovers, which kept the Aggies within two scores.

Ole Miss managed 257 yards of offense against a much-improved A&M defense, but has just one touchdown and three field goals to show for it. Kelly was responsible for the lone touchdown of the half, a seven-yard pass to Evan Engram late in the first quarter.