Ole Miss knocks off top-ranked Alabama, 23-17
Published 12:02 am Sunday, October 5, 2014
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Brushing aside a carnival-like atmosphere and Alabama’s potent defense, Mississippi quarterback Bo Wallace bounced around in the pocket and threw one perfect pass after another, willing the Rebels downfield in the fourth quarter.
Two touchdown passes and one stunning comeback later, No. 11 Mississippi had a 23-17 victory over No. 3 Alabama on Saturday and asserted itself as a true contender in the Southeastern Conference Western Division.
“We worked hard for this moment,” said Ole Miss receiver Laquon Treadwell, who caught a touchdown pass. “And as (the final seconds) happened, I thought ‘This isn’t the end of it all. It’s just the beginning.’”
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Wallace threw for 251 yards and three touchdowns, including a go-ahead 10-yarder to Jaylen Walton with 2:54 remaining.
It capped a methodical, nearly flawless fourth quarter for the Rebels (5-0, 2-0 SEC), who have won five games to start the season for the first time since 1962 and ended a 10-game losing streak against the Tide.
When it was over, drinks flew into the air and students rushed the field in disbelief, celebrating what may be the biggest win for Ole Miss in a generation. It also capped a stunning day for the Magnolia State — No. 12 Mississippi State beat No. 6 Texas A&M 48-31 earlier Saturday in Starkville.
The Rebels trailed 17-10 midway through the fourth quarter, with a brutally efficient Alabama offense controlling the tempo. But Ole Miss pulled even on Wallace’s 34-yard touchdown pass to Vince Sanders with 5:29 remaining.
On the ensuing kickoff, Alabama’s Christion Jones fumbled and Ole Miss’ Kalio Moore recovered, giving the Rebels great field position at the Alabama 31. Channing Ward forced the fumble.
A few plays later, Wallace found Walton in the end zone for the lead.
Alabama (4-1, 1-1) still had a chance to win, driving the field quickly in the final minutes, but Senquez Golson intercepted a pass from Blake Sims in the end zone with 37 seconds remaining.
Golson’s interception was an acrobatic catch in the back of the end zone after the long heave by Sims. He was originally ruled out of bounds, but replays showed he cradled the pass with his left hand and landed just inside the end zone.
“The feeling is indescribable right now,” Golson said.
After the call was confirmed by the officials, a euphoric stadium erupted. Students hung from the goal posts after the game and eventually pulled one down, carrying it across the field in jubilation.
Wallace completed 18 of 31 passes, saving his best for last. The confident — sometimes even brash — senior has often had a gunslinger’s reputation in the past, mixing great passes with inexplicable interceptions.
But he kept mistakes to the minimum Saturday, coolly leading the Rebels when they needed him most.
“He made some big-time plays,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said. “He just played so solid. On that last touchdown, that ball was right where it needed to be for us.”
It was a surprise ending to a game Alabama controlled most of the day.