OXFORD, Miss. — Matt Corral threw for two touchdowns and the Mississippi defense made a pair of game-saving stops on downs in the final six minutes as the Rebels defeated Southeastern Louisiana 40-29.
Corral finished 21 of 30 for 239 yards and directed a pair of fourth quarter field goal drives that preserved the Ole Miss (2-1) win over the FCS Lions (1-1). Jerrion Ealy added two touchdowns, a 94-yard kickoff return and a 30-yard run, to finish with 273 all-purpose yards.
Southeastern Louisiana, trailing 34-29, drove inside the 50-yard line twice in the final period before the drives ended. Virgil Kelly threw for 309 passing yards and two touchdowns on 29-of-44 passing, but was intercepted three times.
The Rebels never trailed but could not break away from the Lions despite rolling up 459 yards of total offense, including a game-high 103 rushing yards by Scottie Phillips. Corral threw touchdown passes of 9 and 5 yards to Elijah Moore and Jason Pellerin, respectively.
Kelly threw touchdown passes of 45 and 5 yards to Juwan Petit-Frere and Bransen Schwebel, respectively, in the third quarter to pull the Lions within 34-29.
Southeastern Louisiana: A loss to an SEC team did nothing to hurt the reputation of a solid FCS program from a strong conference, the Southland. The Lions rallied from a 17-point deficit in the third quarter and were more than competitive throughout. Devonte Williams finished with 206 all-purpose yards, but was limited in the final period.
Ole Miss: The consistency of Phillips was complemented by continued improvement of Corral and the big-play versatility of true freshman Ealy. Defensively, the Rebels struggled, but made enough big plays – three interceptions, a fumble recovery and two late stops on fourth down – and Luke Logan added fourth-quarter field goals of 22 and 32 yards to seal it.
Ole Miss: The Rebels continue non-conference play by hosting undefeated California on Saturday.