The No. 3 Ole Miss Rebels improved to 7-0 on the year after defeating the Tennessee Volunteers 34-3 last night in Oxford. Both teams came out swinging on defense, with the Vols having the early advantage in field position and points after an early field goal put Tennessee on the board first.
From there, the game was uncomfortably close until the second quarter, as the Tennessee defense - a pretty damn good defense in its own right - put a lot of pressure on Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace and stifled the Rebels first several drives. It wasn't until the late in the second quarter when Ole Miss would overcome that 3-0 deficit and take the lead on a 39 yard touchdown pass to Vince Sanders.
A drive later, Jalen Walton would score on a seven yard scamper, and the Rebels would take a double-digit lead into the half. In the game's final 30 minutes, Ole Miss would score 20 unanswered points and win a game that, on paper, finished convincingly in favor of the Rebs.
Even though he (somehow) has yet to throw an interception in SEC play, Bo Wallace had one of his worse games of the season last night, completing just 13 of his 28 passing attempts for 199 yards for a pair of scores. Until the second half, the Rebels didn't mount much of a rushing attack, and the team only finished with 3.8 yards per carry. In general, the Rebel offense struggled, mounting just 383 total yards against a talented but young Volunteers D.
The Ole Miss defense, on the other hand absolutely dominated Tennessee from start to finish. Tennessee totaled zero rushing yards - literally zero - on 28 attempts and the Landsharks forced three turnovers on the night, two of which came on Senquez Golson interceptions. His seven interceptions on the year now leads all of FBS football.
In short, it was an outcome that a lot of Rebel and Vol fans saw coming. Both defenses played well enough to keep it competitive early, but Ole Miss' defense simply played better to earn the win. I think you'll see that as a bit of a recurring theme for the rest of the second half of the season.
Hotty Toddy, and stick around here for more coverage of the Rebels' win against Tennessee as well as their upcoming trip to LSU.