No. 14 Mississippi beats mistake-prone No. 7 Kentucky 22-19

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OXFORD, Miss. — Lane Kiffin changed his opinion of his defense after No. 14 Mississippi forced two turnovers in the final three minutes to preserve a 22-19 win over No. 7 Kentucky on Saturday.

“Our guys really showed up, especially in the fourth quarter, getting those two turnovers to win it,” Kiffin said. “I had told them at halftime, I didn’t think they were very good. At the end, our team found a way to come through.”

Even better, Austin Keys and Jared Ivey each created those takeaways inside the red zone. They forced Wildcats quarterback Will Levis to fumble on consecutive possessions with AJ Finley and Tavius Robinson recovering each, respectively.

Both plays stopped potential game-winning drives inside the 20 to preserve the victory for the Rebels (5-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference).

Jonathan Cruz’s go-ahead, 26-yard field goal late in the third quarter put Ole Miss up 22-19 and set the stage for the tense, frantic finish. The Rebels’ defense first forced the Wildcats to turn over the ball over on downs early in the fourth before creating the turnovers to seal the win.

“We certainly had our opportunities,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said. “It came down with two opportunities late in the red zone. We came away with zero.”

Levis led Kentucky (4-0, 1-1) to the Ole Miss 18 before fumbling while diving for additional yardage. The Wildcats created a final opportunity on Levis 51-yard pass to Barion Brown to the 7. After a touchdown-nullifying illegal motion penalty, Levis fumbled on the next play on a sack by Ivey with 58 seconds remaining.

“I stayed on my feet, put a move on their tackle, got the bend (angle) and reached out to slap at the ball. After that, it was a blur,” Ivey said. “Coach (Kiffin) said I missed four chances in the last game to make a play and it was about time for me to make one.”

Ole Miss running back Quinshon Judkins rushed 15 times for 106 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown that built a 14-0 first-quarter lead. Zach Evans added a 4-yard scoring run and Tavius Robinson was credited with a safety after an intentional grounding penalty by Kentucky for a 19-12 halftime lead.

Jaxson Dart was 15 of 29 passing for 213 yards as the Rebels finished with 399 yards of total offense. Troy Brown and Finley had a game-high nine tackles apiece and the Rebels had nine stops for loss.

Levis tossed TD passes of 5 and 17 yards, respectively, to Tayvion Robinson and Jordan Dingle. The QB completed 18 of 24 attempts but was sacked three times besides the two late fumbles.

Brown’s game-breaking speed added 164 return yards and 81 yards on two receptions.


Kentucky: The Wildcats failed on two extra points, a wide-left 39-yard field goal attempt in the first half and an illegal motion penalty that wiped out a potential game-winning TD pass in the final minute – and that was the difference in a close game. The win snapped an eight-game winning streak that spanned two seasons.

“Obviously, it’s a very difficult loss,” Stoops added. “It’s just heartbreaking for our players.”

Mississippi: The Rebels survived a competition upgrade after blowing through a softer-than-expected September schedule. Ole Miss is 16-3 over two seasons and positioned itself to be the best team in the SEC other than top-ranked Georgia or No. 2 Alabama. The Rebels are 5-0 for the first time since 2014.

“There is more to go, but this is one I’m always going to remember,” Dart said. “Winning this early in the day means we are all going to have a great night tonight.”


A total of 17 NFL personnel representing 12 teams were credentialed for the game, primarily to evaluate Levis, who is considered a potential first-round draft choice.


After missing September due to suspension, Kentucky’s All-SEC running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. returned to the starting lineup. Rodriguez finished with 72 yards on 19 rushes with a fourth-and-2 conversion run during a third-quarter TD drive.


Despite a steady ascent, the No. 14 Rebels trailed 11 other ranked unbeaten teams. Defeating the No. 7 Wildcats boosted Ole Miss’ prospects for a Top-10 slot. The Wildcats had a creditable road performance and figure to remain ranked despite the loss.


Kentucky: The Wildcats begin a two-week home stand with South Carolina on Saturday.

Mississippi: The Rebels visit Vanderbilt on Saturday.

Alabama suspends freshman defensive back after drug arrest

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama freshman defensive back Tony Mitchell has been suspended from the team following his arrest on a drug charge.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Monday after the first practice of spring that Mitchell was suspended from the team “and all team activities until we gather more information about the situation and what his legal circumstance is.”

The Holmes County Sheriff’s Office arrested Mitchell and another man, Christophere Lewis, last week on a charge of possession of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, according to a post on the department’s Facebook page. Lewis also was charged with carrying a concealed gun without a permit.

“Everybody’s got an opportunity to make choices and decisions,” Saban said. “There’s no such thing as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You’ve gotta be responsible for who you’re with, who you’re around and what you do, who you associate yourself with and the situations that you put yourself in. It is what it is, but there is cause and effect when you make choices and decisions that put you in bad situations.”

Mitchell, who is from Alabaster, Alabama, was a five-star prospect rated the 34th-best player and No. 3 safety in the 247Composite rankings.

Mitchell was driving the vehicle during a traffic stop. After deputies smelled marijuana, Mitchell picked up a baggie of marijuana from the passenger floorboard, according to the department’s Facebook post.

Sheriff’s deputies found “an additional significant amount of marijuana, a set of scales, a loaded handgun between the passenger seat and center console, and a large amount of cash,” according to the department’s Facebook post.

Missouri linebacker Chad Bailey suspended after arrest

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COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri linebacker Chad Bailey was suspended from the team after he was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, the team said.

The 23-year-old, who was a team captain last season, was booked at about 2:45 a.m. and released after posting $500 bond, according to online records from the Boone County Sheriff’s Office.

“We are aware of the situation involving Chad Bailey,” Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said in a statement to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He’s been suspended according to Department of Athletics policy. We have high expectations for all of our student-athletes, on and off the field, and we will follow all departmental and campus policies.”

Bailey was Mizzou’s third-leading tackler with 57 stops last season. He started all 11 games he played, missing two with an injury. He’ll be a sixth-year senior this fall after opting to return for his final year of eligibility, the Post-Dispatch reported.

The Missouri student-athlete handbook says any athlete who is arrested must serve a minimum one-week suspension.

Bailey was pulled over at about 1 a.m. not far from the Columbia campus for an expired license plate and lane violation, a police statement said. Bailey told the officer he had consumed alcohol and then performed poorly on a field sobriety test, the Post-Dispatch reported.