Game Notes: No. 13 Ole Miss (4-1, 1-1) at Tennessee (4-2, 2-1)

Game Notes: No. 13 Ole Miss (4-1, 1-1) at Tennessee (4-2, 2-1)

Ben Garrett11 days
Article written by:Ben GarrettBen Garrett
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WHAT TO WATCH FOR
• This will be the 66th meeting all-time between the Rebels and Volunteers dating back to 1902 and their first since 2014.
• Tennessee holds a 44-19-1 advantage in the series, with the original record at 44-20-1 … Ole Miss’s 2014 win was vacated due to NCAA ruling.
• Ole Miss is 5-25 all-time in Knoxville against the Vols.
• The Rebels check in at No. 13 in the AP Top 25 and No. 14 in the Coaches Poll.
• Ole Miss is second in the FBS in total offense (561.6 ypg) and fourth in scoring offense (46.2 ppg).
• Ole Miss is the only team in the country to average at least 300 yards passing and 250 yards rushing per game.
• The Rebels rank top 10 in the country in six separate categories: scoring offense (46.2), total offense (561.6), rushing offense (259.6), passing efficiency (175.6), turnovers lost (3) and passes had intercepted (0).
• Fifteen Rebels have earned their degrees and are eligible for the 2021 season.
• The Ole Miss defense has forced at least one turnover in 14 of 15 games under Lane Kiffin.
• Matt Corral has thrown a touchdown pass in 17 straight games, the second-longest streak in school history.
• Corral ranks top 10 nationally in total offense (350.4 ypg), passing efficiency (182.4), points responsible for (122) and yards per pass attempt (10.25).
• WR Dontario Drummond is second in the SEC with five receiving touchdowns and dating back to last season, has tallied a receiving TD in nine of his last 10 games.
• DL Sam Williams leads the SEC and ranks No. 8 nationally with 1.0 sacks per game.

OLE MISS HEAD COACH LANE KIFFIN
Lane Kiffin (Fresno State, 1998) is in his second season at Ole Miss and helped lead the Rebels to four win in their final five games in 2020, including a 26-20 victory over No. 7 Indiana in the Outback Bowl. Kiffin quickly turned the Rebels into an offensive machine last season. Ole Miss ranked top-20 in the FBS in nine different offensive categories, including having the No. 3 team in the country in total offense, shattering the school record with 555.5 yards per game. Kiffin is in his 10th year at the NCAA level and has posted an all-time record of 70-40. In December 2016, Kiffin took over an FAU program that had won a total of nine combined games over the previous three seasons. Kiffin proceeded to take the Owls to new heights over the last three years, including two conference titles and two 10-win seasons. In his head coaching stops at USC, Tennessee and FAU, Kiffin has shown a propensity in helping turn programs around. Kiffin graduated from Fresno State in 1998 after playing quarterback for three seasons (1994-96) for the Bulldogs. He began his coaching career as a student assistant at Fresno State under Pat Hill in 1997 and 1998. He moved on to Colorado State in 1999 as a graduate assistant.

TENNESSEE HEAD COACH JOSH HEUPEL
Heupel was officially announced as Tennessee’s 27th head football coach on Jan. 27, 2021, by Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Danny White, who he worked alongside at UCF. Heupel’s arrival in Knoxville comes after a three-year head coaching stretch at UCF where he led the Knights to a 28-8 overall record. At UCF, he was named a finalist for National Coach of the Year in 2018, his first season with the program. Prior to his successful run at UCF, he served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Missouri from 2016-17, helping the Tigers boast one of the nation’s top offenses. Heupel began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater of Oklahoma. He was on a coaching staff that reached back-to-back national championship games during the 2003 and 2004 seasons. He spent the 2005 season as tight ends coach at Arizona before heading back to Oklahoma as a full-time assistant. He returned to his alma mater for the 2006 campaign and coached the quarterbacks for five seasons. Under Heupel’s tutelage in 2008, Sam Bradford won the Heisman Trophy, Davey O’Brien and Sammy Baugh Awards. Heupel was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2011 and served in that role for four seasons. Following his time at Oklahoma, Heupel served as assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Utah State in 2015.

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VOLUNTEER SCOUTING REPORT
The Tennessee Volunteers boast a 4-2 record this season under first year head coach Josh Heupel. Tennessee is coming off back-to-back SEC victories over Missouri and South Carolina. The Volunteer offense has scored 30+ points in five of their first six games, including 107 points over the past two games. Redshirt senior quarterback Hendon Hooker leads the offense, completing nearly 70 percent of his passes for 1,063 yards and 13 touchdowns to one interception. Out wide, his top two targets are Velus Jones Jr. and JaVonta Payton. Jones leads the team with 22 receptions for 342 yards, while Payton has found the end zone in each of his last four games. Running back Tiyon Evans is coming off back-to-back 100+ yard rushing games. He and quarterback Hooker rank as the Volunteers’ top two rushers. Defensively, Tennessee has forced nine turnovers in the last three games. Defensive back Theo Jackson leads Tennessee with 37 total tackles, including 6.5 for a loss, and Jaylen McCollough has tallied three picks in the secondary.

OLE MISS-TENNESSEE SERIES HISTORY
• This will be the 66th meeting all-time between the Rebels and Volunteers dating back to 1902 and their first since 2014.
• Tennessee holds a 44-19-1 advantage in the series, with the original record at 44-20-1.
• Ole Miss’s 2014 win was vacated due to NCAA ruling.
• Ole Miss is 5-25 all-time in Knoxville against the Vols.
• The Volunteers have won 13 of the last 15 games on the field.

TENNESSEE REBELS
The Ole Miss roster features 14 players who hail from Tennessee: WR Kyndrich Breedlove (Nashville), DB Jalen Denton (Memphis), TE Jack Greer (Germantown), TE Luke Knox (Brentwood), DL Clayton Ladd (Brentwood), LS Jared Lawrence (Lebanon), TE Sam Murphey (Paris), P Charlie Nichols (Memphis), OL Joshua Pfeifer (Nashville), OL Luke Shouse (Nolensville), WR Sellers Shy (Memphis), DL Tariqious Tisdale (Lexington), WR Calvin Wilson (Thompson’s Station) and TE Hudson Wolfe (Savannah).

KIFFIN RETURNS TO KNOXVILLE
Lane Kiffin started his head coaching career with Tennessee in 2009 at the youthful age of 34. Kiffin will make his first trip back to Knoxville as a head coach Saturday when the Rebels visit Neyland Stadium. He led the Volunteers to a second-place finish in the SEC East and an appearance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The Volunteers’ offense jumped at least 34 places in every national statistical category over the 2008 figures. Tennessee improved from 17.3 to 29.3 points per game while going from 268.8 to 383.5 yards per game in total offense.

REBS IN THE POLLS
• Ole Miss moved up to No. 13 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 14 AFCA Coaches Poll this week after its 52-51 victory over then-No. 13 Arkansas.
• The Rebels were ranked as high as No. 12 this season (prior to Alabama game).
• Ole Miss has been ranked top 25 in all six weeks this season, which is its longest streak of being ranked since appearing in seven straight polls to start the 2016 season.
• The SEC boasts seven teams in the top 25, including top-ranked Georgia.
• The Rebels’ were ranked to start the season (No. 25) for the first time since 2016 when Ole Miss started ranked No. 11.

GETTING OFFENSIVE
The Rebels rank top 20 in the country in seven separate offensive categories: total offense (561.6), passing offense (302.0), rushing offense (259.6), scoring offense (46.2), team passing efficiency (175.6), turnovers lost (3) and passes had intercepted (0). The 561.6 yards per game rank second nationally, while 46.2 points per game is fourth.

NEW MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Even when Lane Kiffin isn’t fishing, he’s still landing big fish. One of Kiffin’s biggest catches came when the Rebels snagged Utah transfer Orlando Umana. Umana, joined the Rebels after spending four years at Utah where he appeared in 40 career games, including 26 starts. Twenty-two of those starts came at center for the Utes. Battling injury, Umana appeared in just one game for Utah during a shortened 2020 season. As a junior, he earned Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention honors in 2019 after starting 12 games at center. Umana played in all 14 games on the offensive line as a sophomore in 2018, starting four at left guard and the last nine at center for Utah. The Sacramento, California, native allowed just one sack in 472 pass blocks in 2018.

600 YARDS AND A CLOUD OF DUST
Ole Miss has gained 600+ yards seven times in 15 games under Lane Kiffin. Before Kiffin, the Rebels had 16 such games in the program’s 1,209 games. Three of the top 10 offensive performances in school history have come under Kiffin’s guidance, including the 707 yard output against Tulane that ranked No. 4 all time.

NO GIFTS FOR YOU!
The Rebels join Baylor as the only two teams to not have not thrown an interception yet this season. QB Matt Corral has 146 attempts this season with a pick, which ranks No. 4 in Ole Miss’ season record books. Dating back to last season, Corral has not thrown an interception in 201 pass attempts, a streak that is ninth all-time in the SEC. In that time, Corral has gone 123-for-201 for 1,959 yards and 16 TDs.

FOURTH AND GOING FOR IT
Ole Miss leads the country in both fourth down attempts (24) and conversions (18). The Rebels rank No. 14 in the FBS, converting fourth downs at a 75 percent clip. Lane Kiffin and the Rebels have gone for it on fourth down at least three times every game. The Rebels were perfect on fourth down attempts against both Louisville (3-for-3) and Tulane (5-for-5).

TOUCHDOWN STREAK CONTINUES FOR CORRAL
Dating back to the 2019 season, QB Matt Corral has thrown a touchdown in 17 straight games, the second-longest streak in school history. The Ventura, California, native trails only Chad Kelly who owns the record with 22 straight games with a passing TD from 2015-16.

WALK-ON ADJUSTING TO NEW ROLE
LB Mark Robinson transferred to Ole Miss as a walk-on running back from Southeast Missouri, but the Leesburg, Georgia, native made the switch to the defensive side of the ball at the end of fall camp last season. Robinson, who sat out last year due to NCAA transfer rules, used the 2020 campaign to sharpen his defensive skills. Robinson has played in all five games this season at linebacker, including two starts. He currently ranks sixth in total tackles (25) and has tallied back-to-back performances with a career-best eight tackles.

GET YOU A QUARTERBACK THAT CAN DO BOTH
Quarterback Matt Corral is not only a threat to beat you with his arm, but as teams are quickly finding out, the junior singal-caller can also beat you with his feet. Corral has thrown for 1,497 and 12 touchdowns, while running for 51.0 yards per game and an SEC-best eight TDs. He’s the only quarterback in the FBS with at least 10 passing TDs and eight touchdowns on the ground. Prior to this season, Corral had just seven career rushing TDs in three seasons for the Rebels. Against Tulane, Corral became the first player in SEC history with three pass TDs and four rushing TDs in a single game. Former Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein (2012) is the only other FBS QB to ever accomplish that feat.

KEIDRON SMITH TO WEAR CHUCKY MULLINS PATCH
Ole Miss senior defensive back Keidron Smith was named the winner of the 2021 Chucky Mullins Courage Award earlier in the fall. The award, sponsored by Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, honors the late Chucky Mullins, who had his Ole Miss career come to an end during the 1989 Homecoming game against Vanderbilt when he was paralyzed after making a tackle. After returning to his studies at Ole Miss, Mullins passed away May 6, 1991. Smith is the 31st recipient in the 32-year history of the award, which is presented annually to an Ole Miss upperclassman defensive player that embodies the spirit of Mullins. Smith wears a 38 patch on his No. 20 jersey rather than switch numbers.

MAC BROWN RAISES OVER 125K FOR ALS RESEARCH
When he was in seventh grade, Ole Miss punter Mac Brown had a modest goal of raising $500 for a childhood friend’s   dad who had been diagnosed with ALS. Along with a group of neighborhood friends, Brown started a lemonade stand, Awesome Lemonade Stand, in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, to help his friend’s family. Ten years later, that $500 goal has ballooned to over $125,000 raised by Brown and his friends for ALS research. The Awesome Lemonade Stand is held on a late day in June, and this year’s fundraiser raised nearly $25,000 alone. Brown was recently one of 22 collegiate football players named to the 2021 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

KIFFIN’S WEEKLY RADIO SHOW ON THURSDAYS
RebTalk, the official weekly radio show of Ole Miss Athletics, will broadcast each Thursday during the football season at Bouré in downtown Oxford from 6-7 p.m. The show, which is hosted by the “Voice of the Rebels” David Kellum and includes special guests, will air live on the Ole Miss IMG Sports Network. Ole Miss Football head coach Lane Kiffin and select players will join the broadcast each week.

OFFENSIVE NOTES
• Ole Miss is the only team in the country to average at least 300 yards passing and 250 yards rushing per game.
• The Rebels rank top 10 in the country in six separate categories: scoring offense (46.2), total offense (561.6), rushing offense (259.6), passing efficiency (175.6), turnovers lost (3) and passes had intercepted (0).
• Ole Miss is second in the FBS in total offense (561.6 ypg) and fourth in scoring offense (46.2 ppg).
• Ole Miss has gained 600+ yards seven times in 15 games under Lane Kiffin … Before Kiffin, the Rebels had 16 such games in the program’s 1,209 games.
• Ole Miss has tallied 104 total plays of 10 or more yards over the first four games of the 2021 season and rank No. 12 nationally in that category … The Rebels average 20.8 such plays per game which leads the country.
• The Rebels are one of only two teams nationally to have not thrown an interception this season.
• Ole Miss leads the country in both fourth down attempts (24) and conversions (18).
• Matt Corral has thrown a touchdown pass in 17 straight games, tied for the second-longest streak in school history.
• Corral ranks top 10 nationally in total offense (350.4 ypg), passing efficiency (182.4), points responsible for (122) and yards per pass attempt (10.25).
• WR Dontario Drummond is second in the SEC with five receiving touchdowns and dating back to last season, has tallied a receiving TD in nine of his last 10 games.
• RB Snoop Conner currently sits at 20 career rushing touchdowns, No. 7 on Ole Miss’ career books.

DEFENSIVE NOTES
• Chance Campbell and Otis Reese both rank No. 11 in the SEC with 7.6 tackles per game.
• The Rebels have forced at least one turnover in 14 of the 15 games under Lane Kiffin and co-defensive coordinators D.J. Durkin and Chris Partridge.
• DL Sam Williams leads the SEC and ranks No. 8 nationally with 1.0 sacks per game … Williams has registered a sack in four of five games this season for the Rebels.
• Of the 26 signees that Ole Miss signed as part of the 2020-21 signing class, 15 were on the defensive side of the ball, including eight defensive backs.
• Ole Miss has an SEC-most three Canadian players on its roster, all of which on the defensive side of the ball (Jaden Dicks, Deane Leonard, and Tavius Robinson).
• DB Keidron Smith was named the winner of the 2021 Chucky Mullins Courage Award and will wear a 38 patch on his No. 20 jersey.

SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
• P Mac Brown is averaging 47.8 yards per punt on 12 punts this season.
• Five of his 12 punts have traveled more than 50 yards.
• K Caden Costa is 5-for-6 on field goal attempts, including a long of 50 yards.
• Costa is the first Rebel to connect on a 50-yard field goal since Andrew Ritter made a 50-yarder against Idaho in 2013.
• Ole Miss ranks No. 13 in the FBS in net punting (43.58).
• The Rebels rank No. 1 in the SEC and No. 14 in punt returns (15.5).
• Ole Miss ranks No. 15 in the FBS in punt return defense (2.75).