OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral’s injection for pain in his ankle wore off in the second quarter Saturday, but at about the same time so did LSU’s effectiveness.
Corral grimaced through it, still completing 18 of 23 passes for 185 yards with a touchdown around three sacks and rushed 12 times for 24 net yards. He also caught a 19-yard pass.
LSU led 7-0 in the first quarter and by 7-3 until late in the first half before order was restored. No. 12 Ole Miss (6-1, 3-1 SEC) scored two touchdowns over the final 3:12 of the second quarter for a 17-7 halftime lead and extended that to 31-7 in the third quarter before coasting to a 31-17 victory in front of 64,523 – the sixth largest crowd in 64,038-seat Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
“After the second quarter, the shot wore off, and I was feeling every bit of it,” Corral said of an ankle he injured in the win at Tennessee last week. “But the best thing about it was I didn’t hurt it any more. That’s big.”
Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin had talked about Corral possibly not playing and replacing him with true freshman Luke Altmyer, who has thrown four passes all season.
“No, I knew I was going to play,” Corral said. “I knew he was going to do that.”
Corral, who gained 195 yards on 30 rushes at Tennessee, was not as light on his feet on this day. That was obvious, particularly after his reception of a pass by wide receiver Dontario Drummond.
“I thought I was going to get rocked,” he said. “I got out of bounds real quick. Drum’s got an arm, though.”
Corral had other players to lean on in addition to Drummond, who caught eight passes for 93 yards, including 63 after the catch.
Tailback Snoop Conner rushed 14 times for 117 yards, while tailback Jerrion Ealy gained another 97 on 12 carries. Henry Parrish Jr., who is Ole Miss’ leading rusher among the tailbacks with 375 yards on 64 carries, added 32 yards on 10 carries. Corral leads the team in rushing with 450 yards on 88 attempts.
Each of the three tailbacks have alternated as the team’s top rusher throughout the season. Each have eclipsed 100 yards in a game as well. This could mean a three-pronged attack in a future game – such as Saturday’s trip to No. 19 Auburn (5-2, 2-1 SEC) at 6 p.m. on ESPN. Auburn was open on Saturday.
“Why not? Nobody knows because nobody’s seen it yet,” Ealy said. “Always just see two of the three. Hadn’t seen three yet. So, when that time comes, you’ll know.”
The time appears to be now for Ole Miss, which won its third straight after a 42-21 loss at Alabama and has six wins before October is out for the first time since 2015 when it finished 10-3. The Rebels are in range of their first double-digit win season since that year as well.
And Kiffin got a $50,000 bonus for getting his team bowl eligible with the sixth win.
“Definitely feel that this team is bridging the beat from good to great,” Corral said. “It’s easy to be a good team, but it’s hard to become that great team. You’ve got to do it in all three phases, and we’re doing that.”
Ole Miss’ defense held LSU to its lowest point total of the season and lowest in the Ole Miss series since the Tigers won 10-7 in 2014. The Rebels held LSU to just 77 rushing yards on 35 carries after the Tigers gained 321 in a 49-42 win over No. 20 Florida last week. The Rebels also sacked LSU quarterback Max Johnson four times and got an interception and two fumbles.
“Defensively, you saw the showcase that they put on,” Corral said. “We’re finally starting to get it all together. You don’t know who the star player is going to be, and we don’t care. We have the game plans. We have the coaches. We have the players. We have the schemes. Everything is there.”
And on Saturday, Ole Miss had the crowd. The Rebels still have one of the smaller stadiums in the SEC, but at times Saturday it was as loud as any.
“That was awesome,” said Corral, who has been at Ole Miss since 2018. “I’ve never heard our home games that loud ever. We need to do that more often for sure.”
After Liberty and former coach Hugh Freeze visit on Nov. 6, Ole Miss will host No. 17 Texas A&M (6-2, 3-2 SEC), which beat South Carolina, 44-14, on Saturday.
“It was crazy,” said Ole Miss defensive end Cedric Johnson, who had one of the sacks. “And we played a complete game.”
In other SEC games Saturday, Alabama beat Tennessee, 52-24, Texas A&M took South Carolina, 44-14, Mississippi State handled Vanderbilt, 45-6, and Arkansas defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 45-3.
SATURDAY’S GAMES (All times central.)
Missouri at Vanderbilt, 2 p.m., SEC Network; Georgia vs. Florida in Jacksonville, Florida, 2:30 p.m. CBS; Ole Miss at Auburn, 6 p.m., ESPN; Kentucky at Mississippi State, 6 p.m., SEC Network.