No. 15 Ole Miss beats Liberty and former coach Freeze, 27-14

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OXFORD, Miss. – The return of Hugh Freeze to Mississippi was met with little fanfare and a matter-of-fact victory by the Rebels.

Matt Corral threw for 324 yards and a touchdown to lead No. 15 Mississippi past Liberty and the former Rebels coach 27-14 on Saturday.

Corral continued to build a Heisman Trophy resume, completing 20 of 27 passes, including six completions of 20-plus yards.

“Matt (Corral) is gritty and tough and it was obvious today we didn’t try to move him very much,” Mississippi coach Lane Kiffin said.

The Rebels (7-2) raced to a 24-0 halftime lead, highlighted by a 70-yard touchdown run by Jerrion Ealy on the game’s second play.

Freeze coached the Rebels from 2012-2016 to considerable success, including two victories against Alabama, before being forced to resign amid scandal. It was discovered during a lawsuit against the related to an NCAA investigation that Freeze made phone calls to a female escort service while on work-related travel.

Ole Miss was also hit with NCAA sanctions for recruiting and academic violations that happened under Freeze.

Freeze downplayed his return leading up to the game and the less-than-capacity crowd didn’t have much reaction to his return to Oxford.

“I loved playing here today. It was fun,” Freeze said. “Wish we’d have gotten one more and made it interesting at the end.

Kiffin avoided controversy throughout the week, too, maintaining his admiration and personal friendship with Freeze.

Dannis Jackson had six receptions for a game-high 126 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown catch. John Rhys Plumlee added seven receptions for 110 yards for an Ole Miss receiver corp that has been banged up.

“We needed Dannis and Plumlee to step today and they were huge,” Kiffin said.

Ealy rushed for 115 yards in 10 carries and added another 4-yard touchdown run as the Rebels built the insurmountable first half advantage.

Liberty (7-3) was led by Malik Willis, who ran for a 3-yard touchdown and finished 16 of 25 for 173 yards, but threw three interceptions.

The Flames had 457 total yards, primarily in the second half, including seven rushes for 101 yards, with a 28-yard touchdown run by Shedro Louis.

“We allowed them to have too many big plays that created scoring opportunities and that was probably the difference in the first half,” Freeze said. “The second half we were better at that. If we had done that in the first half, it might have been a different game. But, if, if, if.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Liberty: Any upset hopes were erased by halftime. Willis threw two interceptions and was sacked seven times in the first half.

The Flames also missed a field goal and had a penalty that eliminated a scoring opportunity. The Flames played better in the second half, but it was too late to really challenge their SEC opponent.

Ole Miss: The Rebels rebounded well from a disappointing road loss at Auburn. Ole Miss provided adequate depth answers to an expanded injury list of top personnel. Jackson had a breakout performance at wide receiver with several players down. The Rebels finished with nine sacks as defensive end Sam Williams and linebacker Chance Campbell recorded 2 1/2 apiece.

“The sacks are good, but we won and that’s all that matters,” Williams said. “It’s `So what? Now what?’ around here and now it’s a lot of work to do before Texas A&M.”

NFL IN ATTENDANCE

Corral and Willis are drawing plenty of NFL interest. There were 21 credentials, representing 17 teams for Saturday’s game. Both junior quarterbacks could declare for the next draft and are potential first-round picks.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Six teams with two losses apiece are ranked between No. 12 and No. 25. Ole Miss is the third team in that logjam at No. 15 and don’t figure to make a major move in either direction in the upcoming poll.

UP NEXT

Liberty: The Flames have an open date before hosting No. 24 Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 20.

Ole Miss: The Rebels host No. 13 Texas A&M next week.

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY NETWORK
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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Corey Perrine/USA TODAY NETWORK
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.