Alabama 27 Ole Miss 24
"Upset bid eludes Ole Miss once again"
The Ole Miss Rebels were ready to go for broke. But fate has a way of intervening. And it certainly did Saturday afternoon at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Seth Adams' 41-yard completion to Ole Miss teammate Shay Hodge was overturned by officials' review with seven seconds left, sending Alabama to an astonishing 27-24 victory over the upset-minded Rebels.
Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron planned to run a fade route for defensive end/wide receiver Greg Hardy from the Alabama 4-yard line when the game came to a halt. Referee Penn Wagers ruled that Hodge's fourth-down catch had been nullified near the Alabama goal line, and some members of the Ole Miss student section rained the field with plastic bottles, which resulted in a handful of arrests.
"It's very questionable, at the end, what happened," Orgeron said. "We put ourselves in position to win and fell short."
Officials ruled that Hodge went out of bounds on the Alabama sideline before returning to the field to wrest the ball away from the Crimson Tide's Lionel Mitchell.
Nobody disputes that Hodge stepped out of bounds. Even so, according to SEC officials, the play should have been allowed if:
1) Hodge was pushed out of bounds by Mitchell, or
2) Mitchell touched the ball first.
The Ole Miss players naturally thought Hodge was pushed. And they naturally thought Mitchell touched the ball first. And they naturally aren't objective about any of this.
But calls aren't supposed to be overturned unless there's indisputable evidence. There was nothing indisputable about this play.
Mitchell clearly had his left arm on Hodge as they ran down the field. Was it a push? That's a nice debate.
Hodge clearly wrestled the ball away from Mitchell. Did Mitchell touch it first? Another nice debate.
On this, Ole Miss lost a football game. On this, hope died with .07 on the clock.
Bourbon bottles flew.
Players walked, heads down, through the resulting debris