The headline might seem like a lot coming from a fan of a team which went just 2-10 last year, but the Ole Miss Rebels, en route to a 39-0 shutout of the Tulane Green Wave, looked lethargic, lost, and largely unmotivated for three quarters of football. Still, the Rebs won in dominating fashion, but what was it about this game that does not sit well with many of us?
The best way I can think to explain myself is to point out that 26 of the Rebs' 39 points came in the first quarter. The Rebs capitalized on some costly Tulane turnovers and sustained some well executed drives to establish a huge lead early. After that though, the team was wholly unimpressive.
Literally, the players looked like they were playing through hangovers at points. I mean, it is New Orleans and all, so I won't throw stones from my glass house, but it was not particularly reassuring to see them play the way they did.
Most notably, there were something like six fumbles out of the Rebel offense. Bo Wallace and Randall Mackey seemed to have the most difficulty controlling the ball, but Barry Brunetti and Mikhail Miller weren't exactly careful either. So, yeah, every conceivable Rebel quarterback fumbled today.
A lot of the throws themselves, especially from Wallace, weren't great. There were overthrows and underthrows, throws at guys' feet, throws out of the reach of players hands en route, and an overall ho-hum performance.
The running game looks dynamic enough though. The Rebs had over 300 yards on the ground and Jeff Scott had a pair of touchdowns to pace the offense. Aside from Mackey's fumbles, really, I can't complain much about the rushing game. Jaylon Walton and iTavius Mathers both looked the part of freshmen ready to contribute, even though Mathers did not get as many touches as perhaps we would like for him to see.
The defense, on the other hand, played really well. I liked the amount of pressure the defensive line was able to get on Tulane, forcing a few quarterback hurries and some bad throws. The Rebel linebackers and defensive backs did a fine job of being in the right places at the right times, and covered the Tulane receivers well enough.
Some other aspects of the game worth mentioning:
- Bryson Rose nailed a 47-yard field goal, which is a career high for him, so that's neat.
- It was the first shutout the Ole Miss defense had since the 2008 Egg Bowl.
- The Rebs tried a few two-point conversions early, which was really odd. Neither were successful.
- Bo Wallace was injured, but the extent of that injury is not yet known. He had his shoulderpads taken and his shoulders iced down, so something was definitely up.
- The players wore "DW" decals to honor Devon Walker, the Tulane safety who broke his spine against Tulsa two weekends ago.
- The Rebs are 3-1, so be happy.
Enjoy the rest of your Saturdays, y'all. Let's worry about what appears to be an impending quarterback controversy sometime in the near future.