After a pair of deep touchdown receptions by freshman tight end Evan Engram and junior receiver Donte Moncrief, the Ole Miss Rebels pulled Bo Wallace. All seemed alright, with the Rebs sitting pretty at halftime, up 31-0 on the Southeast Missouri Redhawks after amassing 369 yards of offense in the first half.
Then, behind Barry Brunetti, Robert Ratliff, and a hodgepodge of players from all across the depth chart, the Rebel offense couldn't score in the second half. Instead, they amassed a mere 163 yards, turned the ball over twice, and was generally unable to sustain anything long-term or connect on any big plays.
To me, this signals multiple things. One, Bo Wallace simply cannot get hurt if we are to expect this offense to play well in the Southeastern Conference. Barry Brunetti is a very skilled runner, having led the team yesterday with 111 yards on 18 carries, but he was a mere 3-of-12 passing for 48 yards (compared to Bo's pedestrian 8-of-15 for 188 yards and two touchdowns). Two, that wasn't "sixty minutes of passionate football." That was "a quarter and a half of effort and then just enough football to keep it respectable," and probably because the players and coaches wanted it that way. A 70-0 type of outcome would have been nice, but is also completely unnecessary unless you're padding somebody's stats for a Heisman campaign. Three, this team has been focused on Texas ever since the clock struck 00:00 against Vanderbilt. Southeast Missouri was simply a tune-up.
We'll have more on this game later, but take solace in a few things: the Rebs are 2-0, nobody else was hurt last night, and this team is actually capable of sleepwalking to a victory now. That's progress, y'all.