The Tennessee home crowd was not happy late in the fourth quarter against Ole Miss.
Fans of the Volunteers began to throw water bottles, pizza boxes, beer bottles, a mustard bottle and a golf ball? Yes, a golf ball at Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin.
The chaos resulted in a 20-minute delay in the game as security tried to get the crowd under control.
Tennessee had been mounting a comeback vs. the No. 13 Rebels, with quarterback Hendon Hooker scoring a touchdown with 13:41 left in the game to make it 31-26.
After a few empty possessions, the Volunteers got the ball back with 4:08 left to play. They moved up to the 50 before they were backed up 14 yards on a sack and penalty. Facing a 4th-and-24, Jacob Warren caught a pass from Hooker and got near the first down marker, but was ruled just short. The Rebels took over possession with 54 seconds left. Video review confirmed the ball was short of the first down marker.
That got the crowd going.
Trash rained down on the field, as Ole Miss had to clear its sideline to avoid debris. Tennessee’s band, dance team and cheerleaders were sent to the locker room during the delay, and parts of the student section were cleared by police.
Play eventually resumed with 54 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Ole Miss was forced to punt after going three-and-out, and Tennessee — which burned two timeouts during the Rebels’ final possession — took over with a chance to drive down the field and win the game.
Tennessee’s Mac Brown returned the punt 53 yards out to the Ole Miss 47-yard line, and the team drove all the way down to the Ole Miss 21. With 3 seconds left, backup quarterback Joe Milton III looked for a target in the end zone, but was flushed out of the pocket and scrambled 13 yards before getting pushed out of bounds at the 8-yard line to end the game.
Following the game, Tennessee chancellor Donde Plowman issued a statement on Twitter, saying she was “astonished and sickened” by the throwing of trash on the field.
There was already plenty of tension coming into the game between the Tennessee fan base and Kiffin. The now-Ole Miss coach was the one-time coach for Tennessee in 2009. After a 7-6 season, Kiffin left for USC, angering Volunteer fans at his brief tenure.
And Tennessee fans reminded him of how unhappy they were when he entered the stadium:
After the game, Kiffin said on the SEC Network that he was feeling “relief” that the game was over.
“I don’t know if I’m more excited that we found a way to win or that I didn’t get hit with the golf balls that they were throwing at me,” Kiffin said.
Then, as he was walking toward the locker room and fans continued to throw things at him, Kiffin sent the crowd something back in return.
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