Ta'amu's late TD rallies Mississippi past Kentucky 37-34
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Jordan Ta'amu threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to D.K. Metcalf with 5 seconds remaining, pushing Mississippi past Kentucky for a wild 37-34 victory on Saturday.
Moments after replay review overturned the officials' initial call that Ta'amu had fumbled the ball away to Kentucky, Metcalf pulled down the quarterback's throw in the left corner of the end zone and kept his feet inbounds to spark a huge celebration for the Rebels. Ta'amu threw for career highs of 382 yards and four TDs, including two to Metcalf, who had 83 yards on five catches.
No catch was more exciting than his second touchdown, where Metcalf had just inches to work with.
"Jordan put it on the money," Metcalf said of his touchdown that was upheld on review. "It was just up to me to turn around and make the play."
Mississippi (4-5, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) bounced back from a 38-37 loss to Arkansas last week and maintained its hopes of becoming bowl eligible. The Rebels outgained Kentucky 473-455.
That Ole Miss TD followed Benny Snell's 1-yard go-ahead score with 2:14 remaining that came after a sluggish second half by the Wildcats (6-3, 3-3 Southeastern Conference). Snell rushed for 176 yards and three TDs on 28 carries, but Kentucky couldn't hold on.
Mississippi: The SEC's top-ranked passing offense achieved what it wanted against the conference's worst pass defense, as Ta'amu had time to throw to receivers who regularly seemed to be open. The Rebels struggled defending Kentucky's run game but made several key defensive stops that allowed them to rally. And even when trailing one last time and with no timeouts, a calm Ta'amu found his receivers again. It comes a week after he threw for 368 yards in his first start.
Kentucky: Seemingly in control with a 27-17 lead after C.J. Conrad's 46-yard TD catch and run, the Wildcats' offense stalled to create an opening for Ole Miss. Challenged to keep up with the Rebels' high-powered passing game, defenders struggled all day covering Rebel receivers and allowed Ta'amu to pick them apart.
Kentucky visits Vanderbilt on Nov. 11, seeking its first win in Nashville since 2009.
Mississippi hosts Louisiana on Nov. 11, aiming to go 5-0 against the Ragin' Cajuns.
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