This week to start things off, we're going to look at a pair of players who turned a few heads on Saturday. First, the immensely likable A.J. Moore made good on his promise, both showing up and showing out this Saturday by leading the Rebel defense in tackles. He played most of his minutes as the backup Husky behind Tony Conner, and he showed a good nose for the football against the run. All throughout camp we heard tell of the Moore twins being SEC capable footballers in due time, and A.J. is already beginning to show us why.
Then there was senior Vince Sanders, who scored two touchdowns in a game for the first time in his four year Ole Miss career. With Laquon Treadwell bottled up and Evan Engram spending much of the game out of the action, Sanders was given a chance to shine. He caught eight passes for 125 yards and the two aforementioned scores, highlighting that this starting Rebel wide receiver unit is one of the SEC's most versatile.
"That didn't sit well."
Running the football
The Rebels have struggled every game this season, and against inferior opponents, to move the ball on the ground. The offense generated two long touchdown runs, but aside from that, the backs just didn't find running room. I'm not sure what to make of it. It can't entirely center on the offensive line's woes. Some of it has to come back to the scheme being used. The offensive line cannot be bad enough to struggle opening holes against all three opponents Ole Miss has faced this season.
Stopping the run
On the other side, the Rebels have had trouble stopping the run, something I definitely didn't expect this season. With a defensive line as strong as Ole Miss is putting out there and an experience-laden linebacking corps, I can't really understand why huge holes are left undefended. If it's an assignment-based problem, that's better than a talent-based problem, but it's still something that needs to be fixed as soon as possible. Despite some success from Arkansas, I still think Ole Miss is going to beat them with relative ease, but it won't happen if the Rebels can't pay disciplined football when trying to stop the run.
"I'm going back for seconds"
Bo Wallace's Accuracy
The oft maligned Rebel quarterback completed his first 14 passes, eventually finishing the game 23 of 28 for 316 yards, four scores and a pick that was arguably Cody Core's doing anyway. His 75% completion percentage is tops in the nation right now, which really shoots holes in the "he's an inconsistent turnover machine" narrative we heard for much of the offseason.
Senquez Golson had two (and should have had three, dammit) and Mike Hilton snagged another off of a Cody Prewit pass breakup. Ole Miss now leads the college football playing nation with eight interceptions. Add to that Trae Elston's forced and recovered fumble from Saturday and you've got a defense whose identity is centered on the big play. Teams will eat up yards here and there against the Rebs, but struggle to turn them into points because of how opportunistic these Landsharks are.
Look at these jackasses kicking field goals while The Pride of the South was finishing their halftime show (scroll to the last minute or so):
Okay, I laughed. That whole scene is just hilarious.