In this new segment, I'll be outlining which three plays really clinched the game for the winning team after each game. It's a topic I always like to discuss with friends after a win or loss, so I figured it would be a good conversation-starter here. I planned to debut this after the Jacksonville State game, but I couldn't bring myself to write about three plays that sealed the Jacksonville State win.
3. Third Quarter: DE Jason Jones recovers HB (and former Ole Miss commit) Payten Jason's fumble on the UM 5 yard line.
Why it was important: Tulane had the ball down 24-3 to open the third quarter. They promptly marched down the field from their own 18 yard line to our five. On first and goal, the gave the ball to Payten Jason who inexplicably fumbled it, allowing Jason Jones to pounce on the ball and get the Rebels out of a jam. Obviously, it's always nice to force a turnover in the red zone. The last thing we needed was for Tulane to immediately get the score within two possessions. By getting the ball back, we were able to tick a small amount of time off the clock and get the ball back to Tulane's 16 yard line. It would be eight minutes after having the ball at the Ole Miss 5 before Tulane could score.
Why it's not #1: Ole Miss mustered just nine yards on their ensuing possession, and Tulane came right back and scored after receiving the punt. This play really helped Ole Miss, but it wasn't an epic gamechanger.
Why it was important: After getting the ball on our own 36 and up by two touchdowns, Masoli lateraled the ball out of bounds for a loss of six. Facing 2nd and 16, he completed a gorgoues throw to Markeith Summers who raced down field 70 yards. This touchdown pass was thrilling and gave us a lead that, ultimately, Tulane wouldn't be able to match.
Why it isn't #1: Scoring a seventy yard touchdown is generally quite helpful in a team's effort to win a game. The timing of this touchdown is really the only reason it isn't number one. It wasn't as big a game changer as the #1 moment simply because it happened when we were up by fourteen and cruising to victory.
1. 4th quarter: Jeremiah Masoli completes a sixty-one yard pass to Markeith Summers who is tackled at the Tulane 14.
Why it was important: Tulane had just held the Rebels to ten yards in the third quarter and an interception on the first possession in the fourth. They had also kicked a field goal to bring the Rebel lead to eleven and had all the momentum in the world. When Jeremiah Masoli rolled out of the pocket, I actually thought he was looking to throw the ball away. Then he threw an incredible deep ball on the run to Markeith Summers who was running a fade. Summers' foot was caught from behind, and the Rebels had the ball in great field position. You could feel the momentum shift back to the Rebs on that one play. While we didn't score a touchdown on the possession, the field goal put the game out of reach.
Why it's #1: It is the single moment in the fourth quarter when I became quite confident that Tulane wasn't going to win even if they mustered incredible luck from that point on.
If you think I've missed a play, please tell me about it.