Oh, Ole Miss. Whatever will we do with you?
So the good news here is that this Ole Miss lead was a bit more precariously perched on the way to a 48-43 loss to No. 1 Alabama. The 28-6 lead against Florida State was built through domination, so it probably doesn't hurt as bad (it probably still does, but whatever).
Ole Miss is the FIRST Power 5 team in the last 10 years to blow two 21-point leads in the same season, per ESPN research.— Dari Nowkhah (@ESPNDari) September 17, 2016
By precariously perched I mean the lead shouldn't even have been 24-3. Literally, the TD that put the Rebels ahead by three scores should not have happened. But it did, and the original lede of this game story had something to do with Ole Miss beating Alabama again.
That would have caused many reverberations through the calculus of college football, primarily because Nick Saban does not lose revenge games, despite the fact that he nearly lost a revenge game to what was already a revenge game last season. We would have had to talk about how Hugh Freeze has established rent in Saban's head, but we have an office in New York City, so complex real estate negotiations are not beyond our capabilities.
But alas, that did not happen.
You could feel it happening when the game was teetering in the third quarter. The Rebels had two drives that ended on field goals, including one on which it looked like Ole Miss had scored three different times. The boat race was on, and Alabama won it, like they so often do.
While the total yardage total was a razor thin 527-492 margin in favor of Ole Miss, don't get it twisted: Bama owned the second half in the same way Florida State did. They ran the dang ball.
Jalen Hurts ran for 146 yards and Damien Harris chipped in 146 with a touchdown.
That is not to overlook the fact that Chad Kelly was pretty good for most of this game to the tune of 26-41 for 421 yards. But then, the backbreaker. The sweet, sweet Piesman backbreaker, courtesy of Chad Kelly, our sentient hight variance turnover machine at QB.
Fin. The end, it's cooked. Goodnight, sweet Rebels?
Not so fast!
Ole Miss made it a game with an onside kick and then a beauty of a TD followed with an abhorrent 2-point conversion, but Alabama prevailed, bleeding the clock at the end and sealing the win for good.