OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Lane Kiffin, along with every fan of the Mississippi Rebels, needed to exhale after experiencing all the twists and turns of their win over Texas A&M.
Quinshon Judkins ran for three touchdowns, including the game-winner from a yard out with 1:40 left, and Zxavian Harris deflected Randy Bond’s 47-yard field-goal attempt on the last play to preserve the 38-35 victory Saturday.
“What a really exciting way to finish a game. Exciting,” Kiffin said. “We seemed in command, let it get away, come back to get ahead and get a play at the end. Our guys really played well.”
The Rebels (8-1, 5-1 SEC) remained in second place in the SEC West with their fifth consecutive win. Texas A&M (5-4, 3-3) was denied bowl eligibility for another week and lost for the third consecutive time to the Rebels.
Judkins, who had 102 yards rushing on 23 carries, capped a nine-play, 75-yard drive to give the Rebels the decisive margin. Jaxson Dart was 24 of 33 for 387 yards and two touchdowns. Tre Harris caught 11 passes for for 213 yards, including an 11-yard TD.
“It was an awesome game by Dart,” Kiffin said. “That was a really good game against a good defense without a mistake and it still went to the wire.”
Jahdae Walker led Texas A&M with eight receptions for 100 yards and Amari Daniels had 70 yards on 12 rushes with a 1-yard touchdown.
“Our guys fought, battled and we got to help them make one more play,” Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said. “We got to find a couple of inches and cure this problem.”
Max Johnson, 31 of 42 passing for 305 yards, rallied the Aggies from a 31-21 fourth-quarter deficit, scoring on a 1-yard run for a 35-31 lead with 4:34 left. He also threw a 28-yard TD pass to Jake Johnson but had a pass intercepted in the end zone.
The Rebels got scoring runs of 9 and 6 yards from Judkins to build a 20-14 halftime lead.
A&M’s Le’Veon Moss left with an injury in the second half after running nine times for 52 yards and a touchdown.
SPECIAL TEAMS TURNAROUND
Texas A&M, trailing 14-0 midway, kept the game close thanks to a big play on special teams. After Ole Miss had a 12-yard touchdown run erased by a holding penalty, Shemar Turner blocked Jacoby Mathews’ 41-yard field goal attempt and returned it for a 75-yard touchdown to make it 14-7.
“It was critical. The special teams block got us back in the game,” Fisher said. “Then we got rolling on offense.”
Texas A&M: The road losing streak extended to nine games and the Aggies are 0-4 against ranked teams. The Aggies still have to play at No. 13 LSU but otherwise have a manageable schedule and could still win eight games.
Mississippi: This marked the fourth time the Rebels overcame a second-half deficit to win.
“We’ve been in this position before, so I was confident,” Dart said. “I knew we would come back at the end. I just thought we might have scored too fast. But it worked out.”
The No. 11 Rebels have spent most of the season as the third-highest ranked among six SEC teams in the Top 25. They have a chance to move up depending on how teams ahead of them fare.
Texas A&M: The Aggies host Mississippi State next Saturday to open a two-game home stand.
Mississippi: The Rebels visit No. 1 Georgia on Saturday.