Seeing Yellow

Ole Miss was flagged for 12 penalties and 106 yards in a 23-10 loss to Alabama Saturday.

Some were costly, including a roughing the kicker called against Jeremy McGee in the first quarter after Ole Miss had held Alabama to a field goal. A few plays later, the Crimson Tide was in the end zone for the game's first touchdown.

"I thought Jeremy McGee was blocked into him, but I could not get an explanation," Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt said via teleconference Sunday. "I'm checking into that today."

Ole Miss had almost as many penalty yards as passing yards (110). The Rebels were called for a handful of personal foul penalties.

"I was disappointed in the penalties, but I was surprised on some of the flags," Nutt said. "We have been the least penalized team in the league, and we emphasize that when we go on the road. We just got too many and hurt ourselves with those flags."

Yellow flags were flying for both teams in Tuscaloosa. By comparison, Alabama had eight.

But during the few critical stretches of the game, Ole Miss often seemed on the wrong end of the referee's whistle. At least it seemed that way to Nutt, especially after a successful onsides kick in the third quarter was overturned due to offsides on safety Fon Ingram.

Evan Swindall

"Fon Ingram made it too close for the official," Nutt said. "We feel like he was onside, but the onside kick surprised the official. He didn't call it immediately - it was after the play when he threw the flag. I don't understand that, but Fon should not be that close.

"Everyone else took it a little slower and didn't make it close - didn't give the official a chance to make a call."

Nutt said Ole Miss has sent the film to the SEC offices in Birmingham, Ala. for review.

"We submit it, but it doesn't do any good," he said. "It doesn't change the game."

However, Nutt found positives in the third loss for his team this season. His defense, outside of an 85-yard touchdown, played its best game to date. The offense rebounded from a miserable first-half performance with better play in the third and fourth quarters.

Nutt believes the Rebels, three wins away from bowl eligibility, are on the cusp of being where they need to be. He had good things to say about the performances of true freshmen offensive linemen Evan Swindall and Patrick Junen.

"There's more evidence today on film that when you have your opportunities, you have to take advantage of them," Nutt said. "The reason South Carolina beat them is that they made plays when they had the chances to. We had our opportunities to make plays and you have to make them. We left 17-20 points on the field.

"We're so close."

Ole Miss was dealt yet another blow along its offensive line, as the Rebels will be without starting right guard Logan Clair for four to five weeks due to a broken ankle, Nutt announced Sunday.

"We could go with Emmanuel McCray there or Jared Duke or maybe even A.J. Hawkins there," Nutt said. "We have to talk about it and make some decisions."

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