Instant replay worked against Ole Miss on two occasions with the second occurrence erasing a 42-yard reception that would have given the Rebels a chance to tie or win at the Tide three-yard line. Instead, a John Parker Wilson kneel down ran off the final seven seconds and allowed Alabama to escape with a 27-24 victory. It is the third-straight three-point win over Ole Miss for Alabama.
The Rebels trailed by the final score when Shay Hodge appeared to pull in a 4th-and-22 desperation heave, giving Ole Miss an opportunity to turn the Tide. However, an Alabama timeout and instant replay gathering ensued before officials ruled that Hodge stepped out of bounds on his own power and was the first player to touch the pass. The final play was a mere formality, and the action turned toward the ticked off student section.
"They didn't give much of an explanation to be honest with you," Rebel Coach Ed Orgeron said. "I was just looking to see if we caught the ball. We will have to look at it on film. Obviously we thought he was in-bounds. I never thought it would be reversed."
Ole Miss was planning on a fade to Greg Hardy with its next play.
As referee Penn Wagers announced the anti-Rebel ruling given to him by replay official Doyle Jackson, liquor bottles, ice and cups formed a potentially painful cocktail on the turf below the south end zone. Most objects were dodged, but one newspaper columnist and one photographer were hit with the flying debris.
"We don't teach our players to be classless," Tide head man Nick Saban said. "If they (fans) want to be classless, that's their business."
Rebel coach Ed Orgeron responded to the scene as being out of his control, and that he should only worry with what he can control.
The controversial final Ole Miss offensive play negated a solid and clutch possession. Seth Adams took the ball at his own 14 and moved into Alabama territory over the next 2:58, including a 21-yard pass to Michael Hicks on 4th-and-16 from his own 8-yard line.
On the afternoon, Adams finished 22-of-40 for 284 yards and two touchdowns, but also three interceptions. Despite the picks, it was a solid game for the senior that was sick and had to be filled with intravenous fluids throughout the day.
"I never thought he wouldn't play," Orgeron said. "He is a fighter. He gave his all."
Joining in on the balanced attack was 131 yards rushing for BenJarvus Green-Ellis. In all, the Rebels outgained the Tide 420-378.
Alabama got on the board first with the opening possession thanks to a 27-yard field goal from Leigh Tiffin. But Ole Miss answered right back with a 9-play, 80-yard drive that was capped with an 8-yard TD connection between Adams and Dexter McCluster.
The answering continued with Alabama going 16 plays and retaking a three-point lead on a two-yard plunge from Glen Coffee.
Not to be outdone, Ole Miss traveled 64 yards in 15 plays before Josh Shene chipped in a 22-yard field goal.
And closing out the first half scoring, the Tide turned the overall fifth straight possession into points as Wilson dove one yard with 3:53 remaining.
Coming out of the lockeroom, Ole Miss took control in the third quarter and compiled two scores to put them in front by seven. The opening drive of the second half finished with an Adams 3-yard run to tie the score, and the following score was set up by a blocked punt from Dustin Mouzon.
The junior corner broke through the Tide front and deflected the football to the Bama 8-yard line.
Ole Miss went backwards until Adams found Michael Hicks in the left corner of the end zone for a 17-yard scoring strike.
At that point, the Rebels were up 24-17 and 2:08 remaining in the third quarter.
Alabama accumulated the final ten points off two Adams' interceptions in the fourth quarter. The first a 21-yard drive and the second a minus-2 yard possession that still resulted in a chip shot 24-yard field goal.
Ole Miss missed an opportunity for more points at the 11:05 mark of the third quarter on a missed 35-yard field goal.
Defensively, the Rebels reached Wilson four times including three sacks from Hardy. In total, the Memphis native tallied 13 tackles including 4.5 for loss. Brandon Thomas and Jamie Phillips trailed Hardy with 11 and nine tackles respectively. Peria Jerry had five tackles with two for loss.
McCluster led the receivers with 75 yards on seven touches, and Mike Wallace finished with 63 yards on a couple catches.
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