Tide Not Quite Turned

Ole Miss hung in and gave No. 2 Alabama a tough test, but the Tide's first-half surge was enough to defeat the Rebels, 24-20.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - While trailing by three touchdowns and having just finished the first half with three straight runs and a three-and-out, things couldn't have gotten much more bleak for Ole Miss.

However, just like against Florida, the Rebels responded after the break and went on a furious rally to test the No. 2 Tide (7-0, 4-0). Ole Miss put together 17 straight points to pull within four midway through the fourth quarter.

But on one final attempt to shock the football world for the second time in four weeks, Jevan Snead's fourth-down pass fell incomplete in Tide territory, and Alabama survived with a 24-20 victory in front of a Bryant-Denny sellout crowd of more than 90,000.

The contest that was a stomach-turner at halftime turned into a fourth-straight heartbreaker for Ole Miss against UA. The last four meetings, all won by Bama, have been decided by a total of 13 points.

Ole Miss (3-4, 1-3) remains on the SEC road with a trip to Arkansas next Saturday at 6 p.m.

The comeback began on the opening possession of the second half with Ole Miss going 52 yards on 10 plays, including the score on a fake field goal where holder Rob Park threw a short pitch to Jason Cook for the nine-yard touchdown. The drive was still alive thanks to a Snead draw that went for 17 yards on fourth-and-four that pushed Ole Miss into the red zone.

On the day, Snead finished 16-for-31 with 192 yards and one touchdown and interception each.

After a fumble by Glen Coffee set up the next Rebel score, Snead found Shay Hodge for a 17-yard score at the 9:27 mark of the fourth quarter.

And to close out the scoring, Snead knocked a 35-yarder through with 6:09 remaining to cut to the final deficit of four.

The Rebel defense completed the perfect half with a stop near midfield, but the last drive moved 30 yards before Snead's last pass hit the Bryant-Denny turf.

Alabama totaled just 107 yards of offense in the second half. Ashlee Palmer led the Rebels with eight tackles, while Peria Jerry amassed seven tackles with two for loss and a forced fumble.

The second-half comeback was needed due to a 17-point Tide onslaught in the second quarter. Alabama led 7-3 at the end of one, but two touchdowns and a field goal placed Ole Miss in a hole that was just too large to get out of. Part of the damage can be attributed to interceptions by Snead and Dexter McCluster on back-to-back drives.

McCluster also lost a fumble in the second half, but Bama gave it right back with a fumble a couple plays later.

Quarterback John Parker Wilson spearheaded the early effort with nine completions, 152 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. The Hoover product finished with 219 yards and added an interception.

When Shene booted a 25-yard field goal to put Ole Miss up 3-0 in the first quarter, it was the first time the Tide have trailed this season. And that lasted just more than a minutes thanks to a Wilson to Marquis Mize touchdown connection on the next possession.

Shene's first kick was set up by a 62-yard run from Enrique Davis. The freshman led the Rebels with 70 yards on 11 carries.

Hodge led the Ole Miss receivers with 64 yards on four catches.

OM Spirit Top Stories