STARKVILLE, Miss. – The one technique to make this Egg Bowl victory any higher for Ole Miss would have been if coach Lane Kiffin vowed to dam cellphone calls from Florida and Louisiana space codes and signed a lifetime pledge to the Rebels.
Kiffin’s inventory soars whereas a number of marquee applications hunt for his or her subsequent coach, however let the handwringing over Kiffin’s future wait only a minute.
Savor this candy trip, Rebels. How candy? Maybe Sugar Bowl candy.
No. 8 Ole Miss matched a program document for single-season victories with its 31-21 triumph towards Mississippi State on Thursday at Davis Wade Stadium amid chilly, wet, windy situations.
If the 12-team playoff that faculty soccer officers have debated these previous a number of months had been in place right this moment, the Rebels (10-2, 6-2 SEC) could be playoff sure. Because it stands, they await a New Yr’s Six bowl bid after putting second within the nation’s most rugged division.
For Mississippi State (7-5, 4-4), just a few what-could-have-been moments saved an excellent season from changing into a fantastic one.
COACH SALARIES: Head coach salaries for NCAA Division I soccer
The Bulldogs’ protection admirably contained one of many nation’s finest offenses for 3 quarters, however Mississippi State squandered one alternative after one other when it had possession. Every of MSU’s 4 first-half possessions superior to at the least the Ole Miss 22-yard line, however six halftime factors and a pair of missed area targets had been all of the Bulldogs needed to present.
Will Rogers overthrew an open Makai Polk in the long run zone on one red-zone alternative that become three factors. Simply earlier than halftime, Jo’quavious Marks and Lideatrick Griffin dropped what ought to have been landing receptions on back-to-back performs earlier than Nolan McCord sailed a field-goal try broad amid a swirling rain.
When Mississippi State had an opportunity to chop the Rebels’ result in one possession within the third quarter, two consecutive holding penalties derailed the drive, which ended when Sam Williams sacked Rogers on fourth down.
Kiffin and his star quarterback Matt Corral entice numerous reward, justifiably so, however how about some appreciation for the Ole Miss protection? This unit ranked among the many nation’s worst final season. Now, it’s truthful to middling – a serviceable complement to Ole Miss’ high-scoring offense.
The Rebels’ defensive method Thursday was to drop eight defenders into protection, make Rogers full quick passes beneath, and await Mississippi State to unravel within the pink zone.
Corral and his sidekicks took care of the remaining.
I don’t suppose Corral’s 229 yards passing and 45 dashing had been sufficient to ascertain him as the favourite for the Heisman Trophy – eyes might be on Alabama quarterback Bryce Younger and some others this weekend – however he as soon as once more proved himself as one powerful buyer.
With Ole Miss’ run sport stalled early within the first half, Corral common himself because the Rebels’ shoulder-lowering battering ram. He secured the victory within the fourth quarter by spinning into the top zone on a 3-yard run.
Not this time.
This was a slugfest between two rising applications amid nasty climate. A pair hours earlier than kickoff, a fan walked down a sidewalk close to the stadium. As rain fell on him, he held a Bud Gentle in a single hand and a bottle of Buffalo Hint whiskey within the different, as if to say that this matchup was made for some double-fisting enjoyable. Even 45 minutes earlier than kickoff, a din of clanging cowbells crammed the stadium.
Ole Miss wilted in harsh highway environments earlier this season – first in a three-touchdown loss at Alabama, later in a two-score loss at Auburn.
Not on this evening.
The Golden Egg will stay with the Rebels, and the Lane Prepare rumbles towards the New Yr’s Six.
This text initially appeared on USA TODAY NETWORK: Ole Miss soccer: The place’s Lane Kiffin headed subsequent? To New Yr’s Six