This story has been updated from a previous version.
Lane Kiffin needed only one line to illustrate how much the game between No. 12 Ole Miss and No. 1 Alabama means to him.
Kiffin took a pregame interview with CBS Sports sideline reporter Jamie Erdahl moments before the game and only took one question: what notes he had to give Nick Saban’s defense fits. He gave an all-time answer, and an all-time mic drop:
It’s clear Kiffin was honed in, as he didn’t even let Erdahl get her next question in before tossing his headphones off and jogging back to his sideline.
Kiffin is aiming to become the first former Saban assistant to beat him in 24 tries. Alabama’s offensive coordinator from 2014-16 had a great first attempt in 2020, giving the Crimson Tide no shortage of problems in what ultimately was a 63-48 defeat in Oxford.
The Rebels got the ball first, but couldn’t manage to score on their first possession of the game. That said, Kiffin showed no hesitation to be aggressive against the Tide defense, going for it on fourth down three times on the drive. Ole Miss’ final attempt was thwarted after running back Jerrion Ealy was stopped a yard short on fourth-and-1 at the Alabama 6.
It was only one possession, but it shows Kiffin won’t be afraid to take it to the top-ranked team in the country. He has one of the country’s best quarterbacks in the country in Matt Corral, who he’ll need to have a great game if he wants to beat the Tide, led by their own star signal-caller in Bryce Young.
Unfortunately for Kiffin and Co., that failed fourth-down conversion was the first of three failed attempts in the first half alone — the Rebels’ other two drives were a fumble recovery by the Tide and a punt as Alabama took a 28-0 halftime lead.
That led to a funny moment in the CBS Sports halftime studio, where Adam Zucker, Brian Jones and Rick Neuheisel all had buckets of popcorn in front of them on the desk:
Funniest moment: CBS Sports at halftime of Ole Miss/Alabama having Adan Zucker, Brian Jones, and Rick Neuheisel all having buckets of popcorn as Lane Kiffin told Jamie Erdahl in pregame interview, “Get your popcorn ready.” Alabama leads 28-0 at the half. pic.twitter.com/Tsz53zAEWw
— Rudy Martzke (@FakeRudyMartzke) October 2, 2021
It seems someone on the Alabama sideline was aware of Kiffin’s popcorn statement as well, as Alabama mascot Big Al was seen in the end zone sporting an addition to his usual costume:
Kiffin and Co. eventually got on the scoreboard in the third quarter, then scored 14 more garbage-time points in the fourth. But it was not, as he said, a game worth getting your popcorn out over.