The Lane Kiffin Era at Ole Miss is off to an 0-1 start. The #5 Florida Gators came into Oxford and took care of business against Kiffin’s Ole Miss Rebels, coming away with a 51-35 victory.
Despite the loss, Ole Miss had some of the razzle-dazzle that Kiffin is famous for, especially on offense. Coming into the game without having named a starting quarterback, Kiffin rolled with Matt Corral under center while John Rhys-Plumlee was used mostly as a receiver and running back, almost like the New Orleans Saints used Taysom Hill last season.
Ole Miss also got a huge gain early in the game with a double pass, with Dontario Drummond hitting Jarrion Ealy for a big gain early on.
Perhaps the biggest story of the game on offense for Ole Miss was Elijah Moore. Moore, famous for last season’s Egg Bowl antics, is looking to put that behind him. Saturday was a good start, as he became the first Ole Miss wide receiver since at least 2000 with 10+ receptions and 200+ receiving yards, finishing the day with 10 and 227, respectively.
Corral showed flashes of brilliance, finishing the game with 395 yards and three touchdowns to one interception. Ole Miss looked very solid on offense, finishing the day with 613 total yards.
However, if the rest of the SEC can’t figure out how to stop Kyle Trask and Kyle Pitts, however, everyone except the Florida Gators is in big trouble this season.
The senior quarterback and Heisman hopeful had six touchdowns and 416 passing yards in Florida’s season-opening victory over Ole Miss. Four of the touchdowns went to Pitts, who recorded a career-high 170 receiving yards. Pitts also tied the Florida record for touchdown receptions in a single game, while Trask became the first UF quarterback to throw for six touchdowns in a game since Chris Leak did it in 2004.
The Trask to Pitts connection started early in the game, as Florida’s first drive of the season ended in a one-yard touchdown reception for Pitts to cap off a 13-play drive. They would link up one more time in the first half before finding each other again early in the third quarter (see below) and then again in fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
"Hello, @SportsCenter? This is @kylepitts__ "— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) September 26, 2020
Watch now on https://t.co/luBTAYy1zT or on the ESPN App… https://t.co/5YR8Mw54A0 pic.twitter.com/OOWcAVOQt7
Ole Miss looked to build a comeback effort after picking up a touchdown and two point conversion early in the fourth quarter to cut the Florida lead to 15. It looked like the Rebels forced a three and out on the ensuing drive, but after Trask’s incompletion on third down, MoMo Sanogo was called for a roughing the passer penalty, giving the Gators a fresh set of downs and allowing them to put the game out of reach as Trask found Pitts for his fourth touchdown of the day later in the drive.
The Rebels came back down and scored, then recovered an onside kick, but they simply didn’t have enough time left at that point.
Defensively, both teams looked sloppy at times. There were just interceptions in a game that featured 78 total passes. Corral threw one for Ole Miss, while Emory Jones threw one for the Gators when he came in for a series late in the third quarter. Florida also lost safety Shawn Davis to a targeting penalty on the very first drive of the game.
The Gators return to Gainesville next week to face South Carolina, while Mississippi heads to Kentucky to face the Wildcats.