Rapid Reaction: Ole Miss outlasts Southeastern Louisiana 40-29
No team likes switching from playing SEC foes, such as Arkansas, to FCS opponents, such as Southeastern Louisiana early in the year. It’s a tall ask of any team to play with the same focus against an FCS squad, and Ole Miss players probably weren’t expecting to be in a one-score game in the fourth quarter. In the end, however, it’s the final score that matters and the Rebels improve to 2-1 with a 40-29 victory at home.
With the game 37-29 in Ole Miss’ favor, a Donta Evans interception with SLU driving in Rebels territory proved key. With 5:18 left, Matt Corral and company were tasked with trying to run out the clock. Key conversions came from a 20-yard catch by Demarcus Gregory and a 37-yard run by Snoop Conner, but with 44 seconds left, Ole Miss still faced a fourth-and-5. The Rebels went for a field goal, making it 40-29, which effectively sealing the deal, though the kickoff return went deep into Rebels territory.
At the break, the Rebels led the Lions 27-17. While that’s more points than Mike MacIntyre would like to see his unit give up, Ole Miss did manage two picks and a fumble recovery in the first half. SLU notched 29 points against Ole Miss on Saturday, more than Memphis (15) or Arkansas (17). The Lions also gained 375 yards, a new season-high among Rebels opponents.
In the first half, he SLU defense could not slow down Jerrion Ealy and Scottie Phillips. Ealy also showed off his speed on special teams.
JERRION. EALY. COULD. GO. ALL. THE. WAY. pic.twitter.com/wHURhk18bt
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 14, 2019
Ealy reached 269 all-purpose yards in the fourth quarter, breaking an Ole Miss freshman record previously held by Dexter McCluster.
A 27-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter by Phillips put Ole Miss up 34-17. Phillips became the first Rebels running back to score a rushing touchdown in each of the first three games of the season since Deuce McAllister in 2000.
It wasn’t the best day for the kicking game. Luke Logan missed an extra point and a 47-yard field goal in the first half. Logan redeemed himself, making the field goal that mattered the most, the fourth-quarter try to make it 40-29 to secure the win.
After the Phillips TD run, SLU took over momentum in the second half. Back-to-back scores from the Tigers made it a 34-29 heading into the final 15:00 of play. A costly Corral fumble on a strip-sack helped set-up the SLU score to cut it to single digits.
The Ealy and Phillips running plays that worked so well in the first half were gaining only minimal yards during the third-quarter slump.
Ole Miss had the chance to get a comfortable double-digit fourth-quarter lead, but the Rebels’ drive stalled at the SLU 5-yard line, resulting in a field goal, which made it 37-29.
In the box score, Corral finished with a solid outing (21-of-30, 239 passing yards, 2 TD), though some fans may associate the redshirt freshman’s performance with the fumble and a few failed drives. Elijah Moore led Rebels receivers with seven catches for 88 yards.
Next week, it’s another home non-conference game for Ole Miss, but Cal should be much more challenging than SE Louisiana. The Golden Bears already upset Washington in Week 2.