KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin's return to Neyland Stadium on Saturday night ended similarly to the night he left Rocky Top — Tennessee fans throwing a collective tantrum. They did so before and after the Rebels beat the Vols, 31-26.
After a replay review ruled that tight end Jacob Warren was short of the line to gain on a critical fourth-and-24 with less than a minute remaining in the game, Vols fans — dressed in orange and white to checker Neyland Stadium — began throwing trash on the field.
The debris included a golf ball, a bottle of mustard, a plethora of water bottles and beer cans. The Pride of the Southland band vacated the stands, while the Tennessee dance team ran off the field, protecting their heads with signs. The fans' behavior caused the game to delay for over 15 minutes.
Albeit, Tennessee still had a chance to win the game. The UT defense forced a three-and-out. Then, Velus Jones Jr. returned the Ole Miss punt to the Rebels' 47-yard line with 27 seconds left. Hooker scrambled for a first down to the 33-yard line but had to leave the game with an apparent leg injury. Backup quarterback Joe Milton came into the game and failed to deliver a last-second touchdown.
The loss drops Tennessee's record to 4-3.
Ole Miss opened the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run by running back Snoop Conner. Then Tennessee scored nine consecutive points. The first of those came when Rebels quarterback Matt Corral committed intentional grounding in the end zone, resulting in a two-point safety. By rule, the Vols received the ball afterward and scored a touchdown on a 16-yard pass from quarterback Hendon Hooker to wide receiver Cedric Tillman. The score gave UT a 9-7 lead in the first quarter.
The Rebels retook the lead with a field goal on their next drive. Then scored back-to-back touchdowns in the second quarter, taking a 24-9 lead. As time expired in the first half, Tennessee kicker Chase McGrath made a 39-yard field goal to lessen the Ole Miss lead to 12 points at halftime.
The Vols started the second half with an eight-play, 77-yard touchdown drive to come with six points of the lead. They never got closer than that.
Hooker finished with 233 passing yards, 108 rushing yards and two total touchdowns. Running back Jabari Small added 92 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Corral passed for 231 yards and two touchdowns, adding 195 rushing yards.
Tennessee will play against No. 5 Alabama next Sunday at 7 p.m. That game will be played at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
You can watch officials speak about the game live here: