OUTBACK BOWL

Football Team

The Its Sports Magazine staff is once again at the Outback Bowl and covering the game. Look for live updates as the Indiana Hoosiers (6-1) take on the Ole Miss Rebels (4-5).

Ole Miss returned the opening kickoff to their 36 yard line and then promptly moved into Hoosier territory with a 22-yard pass to Jaydon Jackson on first down. Three plays later they were down to Indiana’s 6 yard line with another completion on a crossing route, this one 35 yards to Drummond. After getting the ball down to the 2 yard line Ole Miss was hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that pushed them back to the 17, forcing a 26 yard field goal that put the Rebels up 3-0 after their first drive. Rebel QB Matt Corral was 2 for 3 for 56 yards on the first drive.

Hoosier QB Jack Tuttle answered with his own 14 yard completion on the first play and finished the first drive 4-5 for 29 yards, but a holding penalty on the 2nd play put Indiana behind the sticks and forced them to punt. Ole Miss lack of depth at wide receiver showed on their ensuing drive when back up QB John Rhys Plumlee was wide open on a wheel route but dropped the 35 yard pass. Ole Miss was forced to punt and Indiana went on an 11-play 60 yard drive that finished with Charles Campbell hitting a 50 yard field goal to make it 3-3 with 2:50 left in the first quarter. the Hoosier drive took over 6 minutes and the kick would have been good from 60 yards

Ole Miss QB Matt Corral made sure the score didn’t remain 3-3 for long, using a combination of quick slants and short crossing routes to march the Rebels 68 yards to the Hoosier’s 7 yard line, but 3 incomplete passes on the shortened field forced Ole Miss to settle for another field goal. Luke Logan hit the 24-yarder and put Ole Miss up 6-3 with under 25 seconds left in first quarter.

Quarter 1 stats that stand out: Rebels QB Matt Corral is 8-17 for 133 yards. Indiana held the ball for almost 9 minutes.

Catching ball

Corral and the Rebels continued to put pressure on the Hoosiers defense, as the up-tempo style had the Hoosiers already grasping for air and missing assignments. He drove Ole Miss 76 yards on 18 plays, the last one a 5-yard TD to TE Casey Kelly, who slipped out of the backfield and was wide open down the seam in the back of the end zone. Corral finished the drive with 9 completions and a nifty 18 yard run on a called QB draw. Ole Miss 13, Indiana 3 with 7 minutes left in 1st half.

Indiana QB Jack Tuttle started to shine on the ensuing drive, running and throwing the Hoosiers down to the Rebels 26 yard line, but on 3rd and 10 he missed on a deep out and the ball was picked by Otis Reese, who returned it 27 yards to the 44 yard line. The first half ended after Corral drove the Rebels 49 yards in under one minutes, but the 50 yard field goal was blocked as time expired. Ole Miss up 13-3 at half.

The half-time QB comparison shows Corral going 22-33 for 235 yards and a TD, while Tuttle went 13-22 for 84 yards and 1 INT.

Catching ball mid-air

Both teams rushed for 60 yards and the Hoosier’s Whop Philyor has 9 receptions, but for only 30 yards. His WR mate Ty Fryfogle has 3 for 34 yards. For Ole Miss, TE Casey Kelly has 6 catches for 49 yards and a TD, while WR Dontario Drummond has 3 receptions for 66 yards.

Indiana started with the ball in the second half, and with the help of 2 pass interference calls, drove the ball to the Rebels 35. Once again the drive stalled, forcing Charles Campbell to hit from 53 yards and cut the Ole Miss lead to 13-6. Campbell now has two field goals on the game, one from 50 and one from 53 yards. The 53-yard field goal set a new Outback Bowl record.

The Rebels answered immediately, going 87 yards in 12 plays, the final two by running back Snoop Conner, who hit on a 33 yard run right up the middle, and then finished the drive with a 4 yard run off left tackle to put Ole Miss up 20-6. Indiana hurt themselves on the ensuing drive, fumbling on the Rebels 49, making it their second turnover of the game. The IU defense held, forcing a three and out.

Indiana finally put together the type of drive they envisioned all week at practice, taking the ball from their own 20 yard line and marching 80 yards on 15 plays — finishing it off with a 3 yard Wildcat gallop by RB Stevie Scott III on a direct snap. The Hoosiers used a mix of runs and short passes on a drive that consumed 6:45 minutes and featured WR Whop Philyor setting an Outback Bowl Record of 14 receptions. On that drive Philyor caught 3 passes for 25 yards.

Score with 14 min left in the game, Ole Miss 20, Indiana 13.

Falling

On the ensuing position, Ole Miss took the ball and drove all the way down to the Indiana 20, but they missed the field goal, keeping Indiana in the game and taking over the ball on their 20 yard line with 11:38 left in the game. Tuttle went to Philyor for 4 yards gaining a 1st down and then followed up with a pass to Stevie Scott for 14 yards. The big play on the drive was a 4th and 1 on the Ole Miss 17, when Tuttle hit Philyor on a 7 yard out. It was Philyor’s 16th catch of the game. Stevie Scott once again finished the drive with a 3 yard run off left guard from the Wildcat position. The 80-yard, 12 play drive knotted the score at 20-20. The drive also consumed 5 minutes 40 seconds, giving IU a full 10 minute time of position advantage with 5:58 left in the game. For Ole Miss, the bugaboo has been penalties in the second half, 5 for 50 yards.

As they did all game, Corral and Rebels responded quickly, driving 66 yards in 5 plays and only using 1:46 on the clock. The big play was a 44 yard pass to back up QB Plumlee. It was the same route Plumlee dropped earlier in the game. The drive ended with 6 yard TD catch by Drummond. Plumlee now has 5 catches for 73 yards and Drummond 6 for 110 and 1 TD. Ole Miss missed the extra point, making it 26-20 with 4:08 left on the clock.

Corral also went over the 300 yard mark on the drive, and is now 30-44 for 342 and 2 TD’s.

Celebrating

IU started their final drive of the game on their own 25, and again it was textbook Hoosier offense mixing inside runs with short outside passes and crossing routes. They got the ball to the Ole Miss 33 but lost 8 yards on first and second down, setting up a 4th and 18 from the 41, where Tuttle was forced into a bad throw. The final 26-20. The victory allowed Lane Kiffen to get the Rebels to 5-5 in his first year.

We had a chance to catch up with victorious Ole Miss HC Lane Kiffin.

ISM : How big is it to win a bowl game when it comes to recruiting, especially when no one has been able to come to your campus this season with the Covid pandemic?

Football Coach

LK : Well, I think it’s normally a little bit bigger because it used to be we hadn’t signed everybody until February, but we’re like 90, 95 percent done, so it’s a lot more for the next year, and you see that all the time. So like a team wins the National Championship, the impact is a lot of times a year from now in recruiting, so hopefully this is.

ISM : When you talk about people opting out and everything and that the bowl is meaningless unless it’s a CFP game, there’s a bunch of guys in your locker room that don’t think this game is meaningless, do they?

LK : No, it was like, I think they won the Super Bowl the way they acted, so it was awesome to see, and we celebrated it. A very hard year for a lot of people. It was a cool moment.

There you have it. Another great game at the 2021 edition of the Outback Bowl is in the books.

A big shoutout to our photo-journalists, Trace Crisp and Matt Crisp, who provided all the pictures for this column. Thanks, guys.

Look for us around New Years of 2022 for the next Football in Paradise tilt. We’ll be there, for sure, and we hope you be there too. STAY SAFE.