After an embarrassing loss to Florida and before a nerves-inducing contest against Memphis, the No. 15 Ole Miss Rebels were simply looking to get some reps and snag a win against an easy opponent this past Saturday. Thankfully, New Mexico State was just that opponent, as Ole Miss cruised to a 52-3 win over the Aggies in front of a technically sold out crowd in Oxford. Given the game's place in the schedule, the players and coaches seemed depleted and unenthusiastic and the Rebel crowd was sparse after halftime. Even the DC alumni association's watering hole, which is typically uncomfortably crammed with Ole Miss fans, was roomy and quiet for yours truly, Catfish Jeff, and a couple-dozen other Rebs.
This was one of those games that nobody really wants to see on the schedule, but we are all secretly glad it's there. After the physical and emotional toll of the first few weeks, it's nice to see the Rebels get a chance to play some lazy football and win convincingly doing so. Resting banged up starters and giving reps to second- and third-string guys ain't a bad deal either in week six.
So while Saturday was dull, nobody is really complaining. The Rebs are 5-1, hanging out in the top-15 of most polls, and getting ready for a hometown-but-not-really-hometown bout against a good Memphis Tigers team this Saturday. So what if last weekend wasn't fun; it was necessary, and the team took care of business.
Laquon Treadwell sure took advantage of his opportunity to shine against a lesser opponent. Here, take a look:
Treadwell has a pretty damn good game all around. He finished with eight catches for 136 yards and a pair of scores. He also knocked a guy's wiener off. Nice work, Megaquon.
"That Didn't Sit Well"
There are a lot of them right now. Did you know that? You probably knew that. Off of the top of my head, the Rebels were down a starting tailback (Jaylen Walton), a starting receiver (Damore'ea Stringfellow), a starting guard (Rod Taylor), a starting defensive tackle (Issac Gross), a starting linebacker (C.J. Johnson), a super-badass starting safety (Tony Conner), and, I dunno, probably like 30 other guys. Couple that with Laremy Tunsil's NCAA bullshit and Tee Shepard leaving the team to focus on his education, and you've got an Ole Miss team that looks quite different from the one we thought we'd see take the field against UT-Martin a month-and-a-half ago.
Red zone offense
It's still not good.
Third down defense
This is also a problem. Watching the Rebels struggle against the Aggies in the first quarter was maddening. The team buckled down and played smarter, effective football after they found some sort of groove, but good teams (i.e., the ones left on the Ole Miss schedule) aren't going to be so forgiving.
The NCAA, again
Because fuck 'em, again, that's why.
"Going Back for Seconds"
Unlock the Swag
Yes, we have got to always consider the level of competition, but Chad Kelly looked great again this past Saturday. He made a few bad decisions, but he showed that he is, overall, a very talented quarterback. His throws have an accuracy and velocity not seen in Oxford since Eli Manning, and he's got Wallace-ean moxie to back it up. He's currently leading the SEC in passing yards (1,862), touchdowns (14), and yards per attempt (9.8). He's second in QBR (166.81) and third in completion percentage (64.36). He is, simply put, a good quarterback. Behind a complete offensive line, he'd be a real handful for Ole Miss opponents.
Mike Hilton's football IQ
There's not a football player on this defense that's better at making heads-up plays than Mike Hilton. He's tremendous at sniffing out and stopping the run (particularly when the play's moving laterally) and does pretty well in pass coverage. He typically knows where and when to be, and makes plays to the best of his abilities. If he were a few inches taller and 20-30 pounds heavier, he'd very easily be projected as a high NFL draft pick.
Everyone's favorite Ole Miss NFL receiver took in the action this Saturday:
I wish he would have done my fantasy team a favor over the weekend, but I won't hold that against him too much. Good to see #Feed back in Oxford.