KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — No. 13 Mississippi held off Tennessee 31-26 on Saturday night after Rebels coach Lane Kiffin barely avoided being by hit by golf ball as Volunteers fans pelted the field with objects in the chaotic final minutes.
Ole Miss stopped Tennessee a yard shy of a first down on a fourth-and-24 pass with just over a minute left. After that play, and the review that confirmed the spot of the ball, Tennessee fans pelted the field with objects. Tennessee’s cheerleaders, dance team and band were ordered out of the stadium and police cleared the student section.
“I don’t know if I’m more excited that we found a way to win or that I didn’t get hit with the golf balls that they were throwing at me,” former Vols coach Kiffin told ESPN, holding up a yellow golf ball.
Play resumed after about a 20-minute delay.
Matt Corral threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 195 yards for Mississippi (5-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference). Hendon Hooker threw for 233 yards and a touchdown and for Tennessee (4-3, 2-2) and ran for 108 yards and a score.
After play resumed, Tennessee’s Velus Jones returned a punt 40 yards to the Ole Miss 47. Hooker ran 14 yards, but was injured with 18 seconds to play. Joe Milton came off the bench to hit Walker Merrill for 12 yards to the 21. Milton spiked the ball, then misfired into the end zone, setting up the final play. Milton ran 13 yards on the final play and was pushed out of bounds at the 8 as time expired.
With Tennessee down 31-19 after three quarters, Hooker tightened it with a 5-yard scoring run less than 2 minutes into the fourth quarter.
Velus Jones had a 29-yard reception on the first possession of the second half to set the table for Jabari Small to score from a yard out to cut the Rebel lead to 24-19. It went to 31-19 when Corral found Dontario Drummond for a 16-yard score to close out the third quarter.