Mississippi Upset Alabama in College Football – In a wild game that featured more bizarre plays and momentum swings than you normally see in a full season of college football, the University of Mississippi upset the nation’s second-ranked University of Alabama by a final score of 43-37 Saturday night in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
It marked the second straight season that Mississippi upset Alabama, a school that is considered royalty in the powerful Southeastern Conference, and won national championships in 2009, 2011 and 2012. Last year the Rebels defeated the Crimson Tide 23-17 in Oxford, Mississippi.
This is the first time Ole Miss has ever beaten Alabama in consecutive meetings, though the schools have played each other 63 times in a rivalry that dates back to 1894. It was also just the second time in history that Ole Miss won a game played in Tuscaloosa, where they had posted a dismal 1-25 historical record prior to tonight.
The most bizarre play of the game came early in the third quarter with Ole Miss holding a 17-10 lead. On a third and one at their own 34-yard line, a terrible shotgun snap tipped high off Rebel quarterback Chad Kelly’s fingers into the air. He was fortunate to have the ball fall back into his hands, and with two defenders on him, then threw an ill-advised desperation fling into double coverage which somehow deflected off at least two players and miraculously ended up in the hands of Rebel receiver Quincy Adeboyejo, who proceeded to dash all the way into the end zone for a 66-yard touchdown play.
Ole Miss, which entered the game ranked 15th nationally, twice appeared to have the game in control late, leading 30-10 near the end of the third quarter, and 43-24 with just over six minutes remaining. But both times Alabama came storming back to cut the lead to just six, and appeared to have all the momentum going their way.
Mississippi came up with a huge play when, after the Tide had cut their lead to just 30-24 in the fourth quarter, Kelly tossed a 73-yard touchdown pass to Cody Core. The referees initially threw a flag and ruled the quarterback was past the line of scrimmage when he threw the pass, but reversed their decision when the replay showed the pass was legal.
That reversed call completely changed the momentum of the game, taking the wind out of Alabama’s furious rally and giving Ole Miss a 37-24 lead. On the very next series Alabama quarterback Jake Coker threw an interception which the Rebels quickly converted into a touchdown for a 43-24 lead that appeared to put the game out of reach.
But the Crimson Tide still refused to fold. In a two-minute span late in the fourth quarter they scored two touchdowns, cutting the lead to just 43-37, the second TD coming after a perfectly executed onside kick which Alabama not only recovered, but did so 35 yards downfield, giving them the ball near the Ole Miss 30-yard line.
Ole Miss recovered the next onside kick, and drove to the Alabama 31 with just 36 seconds to play. On a fourth down and one from that point, they opted to go for it and failed, giving the Crimson Tide the ball with one last chance to pull out a miraculous win.
But Coker then threw four straight incompletions, the last one falling to the ground with just nine seconds remaining, ending the Alabama rally and giving Ole Miss the upset victory.
Kelly repeatedly came up with huge plays in the second half, finishing the game with 341 passing yards and three touchdowns, after putting up just 36 yards through the air in the first half. His other touchdown pass was a 24-yarder to Laquon Treadwell.
Alabama had five turnovers in the game, which Ole Miss converted into 24 points. The Rebels had no turnovers.
Referring to his team’s avalanche of mistakes after the game, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said, “I don’t know if there’s anybody we can beat if we’re going to give away  points, I really don’t.”
It was the first time Old Miss won at Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium since 1988, and the Rebels wore light-blue throwback jerseys circa 1988 for this game.
Commenting on the upset win after the game, Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said, “We certainly think we’re at a point now where it’s not a shock. I still say it would be an upset in most people’s eyes to do it here.”
He added that “I don’t think it surprises the people in our locker room. Our pregame was as short as it’s ever been. I said, ‘You’re good enough to win.'”
Last season Mississippi gained much national attention with their huge upset over Alabama at home in Oxford. The team climbed to as high as third in the national rankings at one point. Freeze has been on a mission to build a successful program at the school, and has generated a lot of excitement among its fans.
Last year, Alabama rebounded from their loss to Ole Miss to eventually win the Southeastern Conference for the fourth time in the previous six seasons, finishing the regular season ranked number one nationally. The Crimson Tide was one of the four teams selected for college football’s first-ever playoffs last season, but lost to eventual national champion Ohio State in the first game.