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Play Halted As Fans Litter Field With Debris In Wild Tennessee, Ole Miss Game

Play Halted As Fans Litter Field With Debris In Wild Tennessee, Ole Miss Game

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 09: Tennessee Volunteers fans cheer during the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks on October 9, 2021, at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN. (Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Lane Kiffin’s return to Neyland Stadium for the first time as head coach was just one of the headlines going into Saturday night’s “Checkered Neyland” game against Tennessee. 

The Vols had won two straight, Ole Miss was ranked No. 13 in the country, and two high-powered offenses were set to clash. 

Tennessee backup quarterback Joe Milton III inexplicably was forced out of bounds as the clock expired in the fourth quarter, giving Ole Miss a wild 31-26 victory on a raucous Saturday night in Knoxville, Tennessee. 

Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral ran for 195 yards on the ground, and threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns in the air, frustrating a Vols defense that simply had no ability to contain the Heisman contender. 

And yet, no one will be talking about Corral’s spectacular performance or Ole Miss moving to 5-1 on the season. Instead, all anyone will be discussing is the behavior of a small number of Tennessee fans who embarrassed the university toward the end of the fourth quarter. 

With 54 seconds left in the game, Tennessee tight end Jacob Warren was ruled short of the first down marker on a fourth and 24 play, handing the ball back to Ole Miss with an opportunity to ice the game. Officials went to the replay monitor to check the mark, and ruled that the call on the field would stand. 

Fans began pelting the Ole Miss side of the field with debris. Water bottles, beer cans, and even a container of mustard were thrown toward the field, causing a 20 minute delay to the game as security attempted to get everything under control. 

The Tennessee cheerleaders were forced to run for cover and Kiffin was hit with a golf ball. 

“I am astonished and sickened by the behavior of some Vol fans at the end of tonight’s game,” UT chancellor Donde Plowman said on Twitter. “Good sportsmanship must be part of who we are as Volunteers. Behavior that puts student-athletes, visitors and other fans at risk is not something we will tolerate.”

“I will be calling Chancellor Boyce in the morning to offer my personal apology on behalf of the University of Tennessee and discuss what we can do to make this right. Neyland Stadium has always been a place for families, and we will keep it that way.”

As always, Kiffin had something to say regarding fan behavior after the win. 

“It’s an emotional game and fans are emotional, but you never expect something like that, to see all that stuff come flying out of the stands,” Kiffin told ESPN. “I got hit with a golf ball, but at least whoever threw it was smart enough to throw a dirty range ball.”

It was an emotionally charged game from kickoff, with the Vols losing out on seven points in the first quarter on a questionable call from the officials. 

Corral’s progressed was ruled to be stopped by officials, negating what was viewed as Tennessee touchdown in Neyland.

Kiffin’s defense enraged the Tennessee faithful throughout the game, falling to the ground with injuries on numerous occasions when the Vols would begin moving the ball on offense. Kiffin also called three consecutive timeouts in an attempt to ice Tennessee kicker Chase McGrath’s field goal attempt at the end of the first half. 

“I just wanted to make sure our coaches and everybody on our sideline who didn’t have helmets were safe,” Kiffin said. “The players have helmets. My thing was, ‘Let’s finish this and get out of here.’

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said that the conference would “review existing Conference policies and the Commissioner’s authority to impose penalties and communicate with the leadership at the University of Tennessee — and all of the SEC’s member universities — to make certain this situation is not repeated.” 

The end of game behavior by fans marred what was a wildly entertaining Saturday night in the SEC. 

Ole Miss will welcome LSU to Oxford next weekend, while Tennessee will head to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama.

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to sports@dailywire.com.

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