In its first game without the heart and soul of the defense, LB Cale Garrett, Missouri put on a spirited effort to bottle up Ole Miss’ two-pronged quarterback attack.

Meanwhile, QB Kelly Bryant looked nothing like the player that suffered a sprained left knee last week. On a roll-out play to beat a blitz late in the third quarter, Bryant hit Dominic Gicinto for a 26-yard gain. That followed the Tigers’ only first-half touchdown, a 17-yard pass. He was 13-of-19 passing in the first half alone for 142 yards.

The Tigers knocked off Ole Miss 38-27.

Still waiting on an appeal, Mizzou, which is still undefeated in conference play, is now in the driver’s seat in the SEC East following Georgia’s loss to South Carolina. The Tigers next play Vanderbilt and Kentucky before an off week ahead of the trip to Georgia on Nov. 9.

Ole Miss found spurts of success with its two quarterback system that saw increasing changes as the game went on.

Ole Miss, which went for it on fourth down with about 11 minutes left in the game, missed a wide-open pass as QB Matt Corral looked for Elijah Moore, which would have been a touchdown, but gave the ball to the Tigers for the last meaningful momentum change of the game.

Corral split time much of the game with John Rhys Plumlee, as Plumlee started the game, but Corral entered with 4:38 left in the first half. They exchanged positions for much of the game, and even by play late in the fourth quarter.

By late in the game, Corral was 10-for-16 passing for 133 yards, while Plumlee was 8-for-17 passing for 103 yards and 2 touchdowns. Plumlee also had 23 carries for 143 yards and 2 TDs.

Bryant even withstood a crushing hit about 4 minutes into the third quarter from Ole Miss LB Jacquez Jones, who was ejected for targeting. Tariqious Tisdale was also called for targeting late in the fourth quarter, so both players will sit out the first half against Texas A&M.

One momentum-changing play came when Mizzou RB Dawson Downing scored a 54-yard touchdown as he muscled a defender into the end zone near the goal line, which gave Mizzou a 28-7 lead with 5:07 left in the third quarter. On homecoming at Missouri, Downing’s score was fitting. He’s a former walk-on whose Dad played at Mizzou.

Downing’s scoring run was one of several big plays to reach the end zone. Mizzou RB Larry Rountree III got it started with a 41-yard TD early in the second half. Then after Downing’s score, Ole Miss responded when Plumlee hit Moore for a 28-yard passing touchdown. Plumlee himself then showed off his speed for a 40-yard TD run to pull within 11 points.

Jordan Elliott helped Missouri’s defense, and alongside Cameron Wilkins made up for the loss of Garrett, who suffered a torn pectoral muscle last week against Troy. A key play for the Mizzou defense came to close the first half as Ole Miss went for it on fourth down from near the goal line. Snoop Conner was stopped short by the likes of Tre Williams, Tyree Gillespie and Wilkins were all in on the tackle.

Mizzou’s attendance was a sell-out 62,621, the first capacity crowd since 2014.