According to the University of Tennessee Police Department, 18 arrests and 47 ejections were made at Neyland Stadium as fans littered the field with garbage over a call they disagreed with. Fans were upset with the spot of the ball late in the game and threw bottles, mustard and golf balls on the field.
Fireworks during the National Anthem before a sold out crowd for a game between the Tennessee Volunteers and Mississippi Rebels at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Knoxville. (Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports)
Ole Miss players were forced to step onto the field as the game was delayed while officials tried to regain control of the crowd. The Tennessee band and cheerleaders were also forced to leave as the debris rained down. Mississippi coach Lane Kiffin was pelted with golf balls on the sidelines.
As Kiffin was leaving the field with a police escort, fans were waiting for him as he walked into the tunnel. A video showed one Volunteers fan screaming, “F— you, Lane Kiffin, f— you!”
He waved to the crowd and impressively caught a water bottle that was thrown from the stands – a poor play from whoever threw the trash with a handful of officers standing right there. He then took off his Ole Miss visor, threw it into the crowd and walked away.
Mississippi players stand on the field after the game was delayed because of fans throwing bottles onto the field during the second half of the team’s NCAA college football game against Tennessee, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Knoxville. Mississippi won 31-26. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
University of Tennessee Chancellor Donde Plowman condemned their actions.
“I am astonished and sickened by the behavior of some Vol fans at the end of tonight’s game. Good sportsmanship must be part of who we are as Volunteers. Behavior that puts student-athletes, visitors and other fans at risk is not something we will tolerate,” she tweeted.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey also slammed the behavior.
“The Conference has established expectations for behavior and sportsmanship, and the actions of fans at Saturday night’s game were unacceptable under any circumstances. We are accustomed to intense competition every week, but under no circumstances is it acceptable to endanger the contest participants and disrupt a game,” Sankey said.
“We will review existing Conference policies and the Commissioner’s authority to impose penalties and communicate with the leadership at the University of Tennessee – and all of the SEC’s member universities – to make certain this situation is not repeated.”
A Tennessee spokesman told the Knoxville News Sentinel that more security cameras could be added to the stadium near the student section.
Debris that was thrown by fans during the second half of a game between the Tennessee Volunteers and Mississippi Rebels at Neyland Stadium on Oct. 16, 2021, in Knoxville. (Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports)
“We are trying to identify people who threw things onto the field last night in order to hold them accountable,” Plowman told the newspaper. “Further, athletics is working with UTPD and the Division of Student Life to provide recommendations to me and (athletics director) Danny White related to preventing and deterring bad behavior in the stadium, particularly in our student section.”
Ole Miss won, 31-26.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.