The Lane Train pulled into the station in full force on Saturday afternoon in Lexington, as the new Ole Miss Rebels (1-1, 1-1) coach picked up his first win with his new school in a 42-41 OT thriller against the Kentucky Wildcats (0-2, 0-2).
The teams traded touchdowns throughout the game and in overtime, when Terry Wilson ran it in 10 yards for the score, but Matt Ruffolo missed his extra-point attempt. Ole Miss responded with a TD pass from Matt Corral to Elijah Moore, and Luke Logan knocked his one-pointer through the uprights to give Ole Miss the win.
Despite a rough start that featured an all-time bad sequence for Asim Rose, Kentucky spent most of the game looking like it was in control. Led by Terry Wilson, who was efficient through the air, going 14/18 for 151 yards with no turnovers, UK dominated Ole Miss on the ground, with Wilson, Rose, and Rodriguez Jr. all going over 100 yards, and scoring 3,1, and 2 touchdowns respectively. When Wilson and Rodriguez Jr. sandwiched the halftime break with 22 yard touchdown runs, the Wildcats led 28-14 and looked in command.
Ole Miss wouldn’t go quietly though, and quickly responded when Matt Corral hit Jonathan Mingo for a score. Corral, who has asserted himself as “the guy” for Lane Kiffin, went 24/29 for 320 yards with 4 touchdowns. Add in his 50 rushing yards and it was a true breakout performance for the sophomore. Mingo also had what could qualify as a breakout game, going catching 8 balls for 128 yards, and hauling in 2 of Corral’s touchdowns. His partner in crime, Elijah Moore, caught 10 for 92, with a score of his own. Ole Miss would score the next two touchdowns as well, turning a 28-14 deficit into a 35-28 lead after a 3-play drive fueled by a big pass to Kenny Yeboah led to a Snoop Conner TD. Kentucky would respond with the Rodriguez Jr. TD to tie it up, and Ole Miss went 3 & out to send up to OT before Logan delivered the win.
It was a much needed win for the Rebels, after a tough week 1 loss to Florida, and with the Alabama Crimson Tide coming to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium next week. Who knows if the Lane Train will be able to keep up with the Tide, but this win will provide some swagger and belief for the team and the fans heading into the toughest game of the week. For Kentucky, they have a date with Mike Leach and the ever-interesting Mississippi State Bulldogs, who looked like world beaters vs LSU in week 1, and are currently losing late to Arkansas as I type this up. On the balance of those two games, Kentucky will think it’s a winnable game, and with Tennessee and Georgia up next, it might be a neccessary one to keep the season from skidding off the tracks.