Sideline View by Dale McKee

Published: Jan. 4, 2021 at 10:27 AM CST
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In a college football season with so much uncertainty, the long grind is over, and we have finally gotten to the final game. The last two surviving teams will battle in Miami, Florida, on January 11 for the National Championship as perfect Alabama will meet another unbeaten team in Ohio State to end the 2020 madness.

Rebels Impressive in Outback

Quarterback Matt Corral helped lead Ole Miss over No. 7 Indiana, 26-20, in the Outback Bowl. Corral passed for 342 yards and two touchdowns in the upset win. Ole Miss (5-5), playing in a bowl game for the first time since 2015, finished the season on a winning note despite missing four key offensive players. The Rebels still managed 493 yards of total offense against one of the nation’s best defensive teams. The Rebs’ defense was as strong as the offense on this day as they held the Hoosiers to their lowest point total of the year. Indiana wide receiver Ty Fryfogle, a native of George County and a 2020 third team All-American, caught three passes for 34 yards in the game. His dad, Trey, played at Ole Miss (2000-2002).

Fighting Bulldogs take down Tulsa

Mississippi State (4-7) held off No. 24 Tulsa, 28-26, in the Armed Forces Bowl. Will Rogers scored his first rushing TD and passed for 148 yards to lead MSU. Another freshman in Emmanuel Forbes was the defensive star for the Bulldogs as he returned an interception 90 yards for a score and set a bowl record in the process. All MSU touchdowns were scored by true freshmen. Unfortunately for both teams, they made the nation’s headlines the next day more because of the post-game brawl and press conferences than for the game.

College Football Playoffs

Justin Fields led Ohio State (7-0) to a 49-28 Sugar Bowl win over Clemson (10-2), setting up a match with Alabama for the championship. Alabama enters as a touchdown favorite in the big game. Fields threw a record six touchdown passes in leading the Buckeyes. Alabama, who missed the CFP Football Playoffs last year, used the trio of Najee Harris, Mac Jones and DeVonta Smith to roll over the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, 31-14, in the Rose Bowl.

The SEC went a respectable 6-2 in their bowl games. Alabama (12-0), Georgia (8-2), Kentucky (5-6), Mississippi State (4-7), Ole Miss (5-5) and Texas A&M (9-1) were all bowl winners while Florida (8-4) and Auburn (6-5) fell in their contests. This year Arkansas (3-7), Missouri (5-5), South Carolina (2-8) and Tennessee (3-7) did not play because their bowl games were cancelled because of COVID-19. There were 19 bowl game cancellations.

Conference Cage Openers

Ole Miss lost at Alabama, 82-64, in their SEC opener and then took it on the chin from Wichita State, 83-79, in a home non-conference matchup. The Rebels (5-3, 0-1) are scheduled to host Auburn on Wednesday night and South Carolina on Saturday night.

Mississippi State (6-4, 1-1) upset Georgia, 83-73, but then returned home and lost a double overtime heartbreaker, 78-73, to Kentucky (2-6, 1-0) on Saturday. State is scheduled to host Missouri on Tuesday and travel to Vandy for a noon tipoff this Saturday.

Southern Miss rallied from seven points down in the final 45 seconds to force overtime and then took a 74-66 overtime win over UTEP in their C-USA opener last Friday. The following day the Golden Eagles (5-4,1-1) fell to the Miners, 77-62. This week, USM travels to UAB to play both Friday and Saturday. Earlier last week, USM rolled over Loyola of New Orleans, 74-54, in a historic contest for Coach Jay Ladner and his son Luke, who played for the Wolf Pack. It was only the third time a father and son went head-to-head in Division I play.

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