KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee was in a back and forth contest with Ole Miss that ultimately ended with the Vols just falling short by 5 points. The final score was 31-26
The end of the game was delayed with just 54 seconds left on the clock after trash and debris were thrown on the field towards the Ole Miss sidelines.
The Tennessee defense held strong on the Ole Miss first drive of the game, but Velus Jones Jr. dropped the Rebels’ punt and Ole Miss recovered it at the UT 11. That was Jones Jr.’s first collegiate fumble.
The Rebels capitalized when Snoop Conner punched it over the goal line for the 7-0 lead.
The Vols defense gave Tennessee its first points of the game. Matthew Butler sacked Matt Corral for the safety. Butler’s first career sack. It was Tennessee’s first safety since 11/28/15 against Vanderbilt.
On the ensuing Vols’ drive, Hendon Hooker hit Cedric Tillman for the 16-yard touchdown. Tillman’s third touchdown reception of the season put Tennessee up 9-7.
Ole Miss took back the lead later in the first quarter. Caden Costa split the uprights from 30-yards out to take a 10-9 advantage.
The Rebels added to their lead on their first drive of the second quarter. Matt Corral found Dannis Jackson for a 33-yard touchdown. Corral’s 18th straight game with a touchdown pass. Ole Miss led 17-9 at that point.
On the next Ole Miss drive, the Rebels marched 91-yards in under four minutes. Snoop Conner punched in the one-yard rush to put Ole Miss up by 15.
The Vols put three-points on the board right before the break. Chase McGrath drilled a 39-yard field goal. Tennessee went into the half down 24-12.
The UT offense came out blazing on its first drive of the second half. The Vols marched 77-yards down the field. Jabari Small punched it into the end zone from a yard out to pull Tennessee within five.
Both teams traded missed field goals. Ole Miss found the end zone later. Matt Corral slung it to Dontario Drummond for the 16-yard touchdown. The Rebels jumped ahead 31-19.
Tennessee answered on the ensuing drive. Hooker called his own number and scampered five-yards into paydirt. His fourth rushing touchdown of the season trimmed the Ole Miss lead to five.
The Vols defense came up big. Trevon Flowers picked off Corral. It was Corral’s first thrown interception of the season.
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Hendon Hooker finished the game 17/26 for 233 yards. He also added on 108 rushing yards. Jabari Small racked up 92 rushing yards. Cedric Tillman reeled in 7 catches for 84 yards and 1 touchdown.
Matt Corral did what he wanted to the Vols. The Ole Miss quarterback tallied 231 passing yards and 195 rushing yards.
Tennessee travels to Alabama next week. That game kicks off at 7:00 p.m.