The Ole Miss Running Rebels parlayed their astounding victory over SEC-rival Alabama into the biggest jump in the latest Associated Press Top 25 college football rankings.
Powered by quarterback Chad Kelly’s 341 yards and three touchdowns, the Rebels withstood a late Crimson Tide rally to hold on and claim a 43-37 victory and climb 12 spots to No. 3 in the country behind only No. 1 Ohio State and new No. 2 Michigan State.
The Rebels and head coach Hugh Freeze actually garnered 11 first-place votes, compared to seven for the Spartans following their 35-21 win over Air Force, and 42 votes for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State isn’t exactly clinging to the nation’s top ranking, but its unconvincing and narrow 20-13 win over unranked Northern Illinois put a scare into Buckeyes nation and voters. This week marks the second straight time the Buckeyes have lost votes, compared to last week’s total of 59.
With the Big Ten owning the top two spots for the first time since 2006, the Spartans and head coach Mike Dantonio didn’t earn a major victory unlike last week, when it escaped then-No. 7 Oregon, but are putting pressure on Ohio State well before their meeting on Nov. 21 in Columbus.
Alabama, a week removed from being the only SEC power in the top 10, experienced the second-biggest decline of any team in the nation after losing to Ole Miss. Nick Saban’s squad plummeted to No. 12, and now are now looking up at the No. 3 Rebels, No. 8 LSU Tigers, and No. 7 Georgia Bulldogs.
The Tide’s precipitous fall from grace was topped only by USC after it fell 13 places following a 41-31 loss to previously unranked turned No. 23 Stanford. The Trojans defense was lit up for 474 Cardinals yards and had no answer for senior quarterback Kevin Hogan.
LSU, which also picked up one first-place vote, posted the third-highest progression in the rankings after pummeling then-No. 18 Auburn 45-21 behind running back Leonard Fournette’s 228 yards and three touchdowns. The Tigers improved five spots this week, while Auburn finds itself out of the top 25 after suffering its first loss of the season.
Meanwhile, UCLA climbed three spots to crack the top 10 after barely edging out BYU 24-23 at home. With true freshman quarterback Josh Rosen tossing three interceptions, the Bruins instead relied on running back Paul Perkins and his 216 yards rushing.