Lane Kiffin: Maybe Nick Saban called the Alabama defense that stifled Ole Miss football

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. ― After he asserted last Sunday that Alabama's defense was being called by cornerbacks coach Travaris Robinson, not coordinator Kevin Steele, Ole Miss football coach Lane Kiffin was once again posed the question:

Who was calling Alabama's defense in the Rebels' 24-10 loss to the Crimson Tide on Saturday?

"I don't know, but they did a good job. I commend them. Maybe Coach (Saban) took over," Kiffin said with a quick smile. "They did a really good job on third down."

The Rebels (3-1, 0-1 SEC) went 3-for-14 on third down. They endured a streak of three successive three-and-outs in the first and second quarters.

Overall, it was one of the worst offensive performances of the Kiffin era. The 10 points the Rebels managed were the second-fewest since 2020. Ole Miss scored seven points in the 2021 Sugar Bowl against Baylor.

The underlying numbers were similarly ugly. Ole Miss averaged just 4.6 yards per play Saturday. Against Tulane and Georgia Tech, that number sat at 7.4.

The Rebels' 56 yards rushing marked the fewest since Kiffin arrived. The 301 yards of offense was the second-lowest total since Kiffin's arrival, surpassed only by the Rebels' trip to Alabama (3-1, 1-0) in 2021. Ole Miss scored 21 points that day.

LOW GRADES: Failure abounds as Ole Miss football, Lane Kiffin waste valuable opportunity against Alabama

David Eckert covers Ole Miss for the Clarion Ledger. Email him at or reach him on Twitter @davideckert98.

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This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Lane Kiffin on Nick Saban, Alabama defense that stifled Ole Miss