Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin nearly hit with golf ball in ugly scene as Tennessee fans litter field with debris

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A highly emotional game at Neyland Field turned ugly Saturday night as Tennessee fans littered the field with water bottles, a golf ball that nearly hit Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin, and a mustard bottle.

After a 25-minute delay, Ole Miss staved off a Tennessee march and escaped with a 31-26 victory in Kiffin’s return to Knoxville.

“Relief,” Kiffin said when asked how he felt, referring to not sure if it was about his win or not being hit by the projectile. “I don’t know if I’m more excited we found a way to win or I didn’t get hit by a golf ball they were throwing at me.

“They were just throwing stuff and I said just put your helmets on and let us play.

“It is what it is. They have 100,000 passionate fans …

The disgusting behavior was ignited after a Tennesse play on fourth-and-24 with less than a minute left came up a yard short of a first down.

The replay booth buzzed down to review the spot and the call was upheld, turning the ball over to Ole Miss.

At the time, Ole Miss led, 31-26. The delay, for lack of a better term, lasted more than 20 minutes. There was a sellout crowd of 102,000

The Tennessee cheerleaders, dance team, and the band left the stadium during the dangerous situation.

The Ole Miss football team left its sideline and moved onto the field to stay away from the flying debris. One player caught a water bottle.

Why wasn’t the game called? Because Tennessee still had all of its timeouts and could have eventually forced an Ole Miss punt to get the ball back with another chance to win the game.

The broadcast on SEC Network relayed the officials did not have the power to call the game. That would have had to come about in a meeting with the schools’ athletic directors and SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey.

Play eventually resumed and while it continued, trash continued to be fired onto the field, especially by the Ole Miss sideline.

Ole Miss ran three plays over 11 seconds before being forced to punt.

A 40-yard punt return by Velus Jones Jr. put Tennessee on the Ole Miss side of the field with 27 seconds left as a “Rocky Top” recording played because the band had exited.

Tennessee advanced the ball to the Ole Miss 10 but a quarterback run by John Milton came up short when he was pushed out of bounds.

Kiffin was pelted with trash as he left the field. The Ole Miss coach responded by throwing his visor into the stands.

The SEC would do well to step and ban fans from the next home game at Neyland Stadium, which would be Nov. 13 against Georgia. It would be similar to actions soccer organizations have punished teams.

Don’t hold your breath on that taking place.

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