|Date of game: 10/4/2014
Recap: Ole Miss vs. Alabama
Oxford, MS (SportsNetwork.com) - Bo Wallace's 10-yard touchdown to Jaylen Walton proved to be the difference as No. 11 Ole Miss took down third-ranked Alabama, 23-17, in an SEC West battle at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Wallace finished with 251 yards and three touchdowns to help the Rebels (5-0, 2-0 SEC) snap a 10-game losing streak to the Crimson Tide. Ole Miss is 5-0 for the first time since 1962, when it went 10-0 and claimed a share of the national title.
Laquon Treadwell and Vince Sanders each hauled in a touchdown pass from Wallace, while Evan Engram paced the hosts with 71 yards receiving.
Blake Sims converted 19-of-31 passes for 228 yards with a rushing touchdown and an interception. T.J. Yeldon had 123 yards rushing and Amari Cooper finished with 91 yards on nine receptions for Alabama (4-1, 1-1).
"You really have to give Ole Miss a lot of credit in the way they finished the game," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. "We did not finish the game like we needed to."
The Rebels trailed by 11 at halftime and cut the deficit to a touchdown entering the fourth, when they took advantage of good field position and timely turnovers to win the game.
Wallace converted a pair of third down plays early in the final frame before lofting a pass over the middle to Engram, who dropped a sure touchdown up the seam. Ole Miss was forced to punt and Will Gleeson pinned the Tide at their 1 with eight minutes left.
The Rebels quickly forced a three-and-out and got the ball back at their 44 after JK Scott boomed a 60-yard punt. Wallace then completed a 16-yard pass to Engram before hitting Sanders for a 34-yard TD strike to tie the game at 17-17 with 5 1/2 minutes remaining.
Christion Jones coughed up the football on the ensuing kickoff and Ole Miss recovered at the Alabama 31. Like most of their scoring drives throughout the day, the Rebels wasted little time putting it in the end zone. Wallace capped the short five-play series with his 10-yard TD pass to Walton with under three minutes to go. However, Andrew Fletcher's extra point was blocked, and the visitors had a chance for the win with a touchdown and successful PAT.
Sims hit Jones for 17 yards and converted a 30-yard pass to Cooper two plays later which moved the ball to the Ole Miss 29. Sims then picked up a big first down on the ground, but a holding penalty negated the run. His next pass to the back of the end zone was intercepted by Senquez Golson on a sensational play to seal it for the Rebels.
"I'm just proud of our young men," Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said. "You can't lose a game in 30 or 45 minutes. You have to play for 60 minutes and that is something we've preached since we've been here."
Mark Dodson returned the opening kickoff 54 yards to the Alabama 39 as Ole Miss started the contest with prime field position. After a 10-yard run by Wallace, the Crimson Tide forced the Rebels into a field goal attempt and Gary Wunderlich broke through with a 46-yard kick to open the scoring.
Jones returned the following kickoff 38 yards to the Alabama 41. The nine-play drive resulted in a field goal attempt, but Adam Griffith couldn't tie the game as his 46-yard try went wide.
The Rebels returned the favor, however, driving 55 yards inside the Tide 20 with Fletcher missing a 33-yard attempt.
The game slowed down from there until late in the second quarter when Alabama finally got on the board. Yeldon highlighted a 12-play, 68-yard TD march with a 22-yard run to move the ball to the Ole Miss 25. The Tide were then faced with a 4th-and-goal from the 1 and Sims ran a textbook naked bootleg to the far sideline for a 7-3 lead.
An enormous momentum shift for Alabama occurred late in the quarter, even though a blunder from the officials helped it take a 14-3 lead at half. With under a minute left, the Rebels received the ball deep in their territory and chose to run out the clock. I'Tavius Mathers took the first-down run around the left side and Cyrus Jones clearly grasped Mathers' facemask before knocking the ball loose. The fumble rolled just in bounds and Jones scooped it up, tip-toeing down the sideline into the end zone for a 13-yard return TD.
Sims led a lengthy 14-play drive that spanned over six minutes to open the second half, but Griffith shanked a 51-yard field goal attempt at the conclusion of the march.
Ole Miss needed just four plays to reach the end zone and cut the deficit to 14-10. Following a run by Xzavier Dickson for negative yardage, Wallace hit Engram for a 50-yard pitch-and-catch to the Tide 18. Two plays later, Treadwell hauled in a back-shoulder pass from Wallace, broke a couple of tackles and waltzed into the end zone for a 14-yard score.
Griffith made amends for the earlier misses by converting a 44-yard kick on Alabama's next touch to make it 17-10 at 3:54 of the third.Game Notes
Alabama junior running back Kenyan Drake suffered a gruesome left leg injury
early in the second quarter. He was immediately placed in an air cast and
carted off the field ... Alabama fell to 47-10-2 in the all-time series ...
The Crimson Tide, who entered the game converting 63 percent on third down,
went 6-of-16 (37.5 percent) in such cases on Saturday ... Ole Miss was