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Lane Kiffin doesn’t care about yardage totals after loss to Alabama


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OXFORD, Miss — Ole Miss football coach Lane Kiffin was given a few opportunities to expound on his positive takeaways from the Rebels’ 30-24 loss to Alabama on Saturday night.

He rejected each one.

Asked about rushing yardage totals at the conclusion of his postgame press conference, Kiffin made himself clear.

“I don’t really give a (expletive) about how many yards we had, how close the game was,” Kiffin said. “We didn’t win the game. Two years ago, I walked off this field and I said that we didn’t come here to cover spreads, we didn’t come here to play at the time what was the No. 1 team in the country close.

“It doesn’t matter, we didn’t win the game. Maybe some other places that’s good, or it’s been good here in the past. It ain’t good enough. We came here to win, to beat Alabama, and we didn’t do it.”

No. 11 Ole Miss outgained No. 9 Alabama 403-317, with the Rebels (8-2, 4-2 SEC) passing for 212 and rushing for 191 against the Crimson Tide (8-2, 5-2).

It’s an approach that has trickled down to his players, too.

“We didn’t come in here because we wanted to play a close game,” cornerback Miles Battle said.

OPINION:Where would Alabama football be without Bryce Young? A loser to Ole Miss, for starters | Toppmeyer

GAME STORY:Ole Miss football can’t hold lead, suffers seventh straight loss to Alabama

JUDKINS:Ole Miss football’s Quinshon Judkins sets single-season rushing TD record against Alabama

Lane Kiffin postgame transcript

Opening Statement: 

“Really disappointing finish, to that game, to your home winning streak on the line. Playing Alabama, with ball in our hands to win. We didn’t do it. Watched two other teams this year do it, in Tennessee and LSU, finish right at the end when you have a chance to do it. Gotta commend those guys, got a great team and the Heisman trophy winner. Said it all week, the guy puts his cape on, takes over when no one else is making plays around him. Did a great job like Bryce does, and we didn’t finish. We are really ashamed, a waste of a lot of things.”

On Ole Miss’ last offensive drive:

“Went really fast, seemed like the whole thing went fast in a two-minute situation knew we had issues with their rushers and for whatever reason they were only playing one of them at a time early so we were able to know where one of them was. Then when they both go in, it becomes a different game. Tried to pop some runs in there, which were effective. Then stalled out down there at the end. Tried to go back to a fade to Malik, who really dominated that matchup the entire day. Then didn’t make plays at the end. We can make plays and we can call better plays.”

On the second-half offense not being as effective as the first half:

“I think it’s a fair assessment, I don’t think it has been the whole season. Last game, at (Texas) A&M (we) had a really good third quarter. I really do think people get used to the speed, like I’ve said before, so a lot of times it works better early. It has been the case a lot of times. Now the game was a strange game in the third quarter because you look up and we have one series. I think we had one series for 14 minutes or something like that. And actually scored on it, scored a touchdown. Then we had back-to-back three and outs. I think, off-hand, until then at the end there was only 3 series there in about a quarter and a half.”

On first-half defensive success: 

“I thought our guys did a really good job, they were one-dimensional. Had the ability to run the ball and at times didn’t care to. I get it, they got Bryce and he ends up throwing the ball a lot. I thought our defense did a really good job early and late. In the middle not as great, but plenty good enough to win. When you play that team, especially at home, we got to score more points.”

On how to keep the team up after a disappointing loss like this one:

“It is what it is, but it’s just a shame. Unfortunately, it’s just going to be one of those games you remember your whole life. It was right there with a chance to win. To have to play defense against Bryce, and to have the ball in our hands with a chance to win. I actually, not that it mattered to the play calling and what was going on, but as we were driving down there, and I would have taken the score don’t get me wrong, but it was almost like as we took a little more time in the red zone, I was saying ‘Ok this is good’. We obviously still want to score because we didn’t feel like handing him the ball back with a minute left.”

On the gameplan against Bryce (Young) this year compared to last year:

“You can look at the analytics, three-man rush versus Bryce, his completion percentage is off the charts against it. He has won the Heisman trophy, he’s a great player and gives you problems because he’s an elite thrower and the first guy rarely gets him down and he extends plays. Once he’s not in rhythm where he sets his feet and moves off the target, you don’t have a very good feeling because something is going to go wrong because he is going to find a way to make a play somehow. He’s special.”

On the fumble before half:

“There is really a 10-point swing there when they start the third quarter with a field goal. That was obviously discouraging, it is what it is. Zach took a big hit, unfortunately the ball came out, and actually ended up with a concussion and didn’t return. Really good play by them and obviously a big deal to hand 7 points away right there.”

How the program can take that next step:

“Make one more play. There’s not some magic formula of we got to go change all those things or do all these things different. Games come down to one possession, one play games like that, one side makes the plays and finds a way to win. Those guys have been in a number of them this year.”

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