No. 15 Ole Miss beats Liberty and former coach Freeze, 27-14

National Sports
Malik Willis, Sam Williams

Liberty quarterback Malik Willis (7) is tackled for a loss by Mississippi defensive lineman Sam Williams (7) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Matt Corral threw for 324 yards and a touchdown to lead No. 15 Mississippi past Liberty and former Rebels coach Hugh Freeze 27-14 on Saturday.

Corral continued to build a Heisman Trophy resume, completing 20 of 27 passes, including six completions of 20-plus yards.

The Rebels (7-2) raced to a 24-0 halftime lead, highlighted by a 70-yard touchdown run by Jerrion Ealy on the game’s second play.

Freeze coached the Rebels from 2012-2016 to considerable success, including two victories against Alabama, before being forced to resign amid scandal. It was discovered during a lawsuit against the related to an NCAA investigation that Freeze made phone calls to a female escort service while on work-related travel.

Ole Miss was also hit with severe NCAA sanctions for recruiting and academic violations that happened under Freeze.

Freeze downplayed his return with media during game week and the less-than-capacity crowd didn’t have much reaction to his return to Oxford.

Mississippi coach Lane Kiffin avoided controversy throughout the week, too, maintaining his admiration and personal friendship with Freeze.

Dannis Jackson had six receptions for a game-high 126 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown catch. John Rhys Plumlee added seven receptions for 110 yards.

Ealy rushed for 115 yards in 10 carries and added another 4-yard touchdown run as the Rebels built the insurmountable first half advantage.

Liberty (7-3) was led by Malik Willis, who ran for a 3-yard touchdown and finished 16 of 25 for 173 yards, but threw three interceptions.

The Flames had 457 total yards, primarily in the second half, including seven rushes for 101 yards, with a 28-yard touchdown run by Shedro Louis.

THE TAKEAWAY

Liberty: Any upset hopes were erased by halftime. Willis, a potential first-round NFL draft pick, threw two interceptions and was sacked seven times in the first half.

The Flames also missed a field goal and had a penalty that eliminated a scoring opportunity. The Flames played better in the second half, but it was too late to really challenge their SEC opponent.

Ole Miss: The Rebels rebounded well from a disappointing road loss at Auburn. Ole Miss provided adequate depth answers to an expanded injury list of top personnel. Jackson had a breakout performance at wide receiver with several players down. The Rebels finished with nine sacks as defensive end Sam Williams and linebacker Chance Campbell recorded 2 1/2 apiece.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Six teams with two losses apiece are ranked between No. 12 and No. 25. Ole Miss is the third team in that logjam at No. 15 and don’t figure to make a major move in either direction in the upcoming poll.

UP NEXT

Liberty: The Flames have an open date before hosting No. 24 Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 20.

Ole Miss: The Rebels host No. 13 Texas A&M next week.

___

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