As you can imagine, any film review this week is an exercise in eye-gouging. But this segment can't only exist when things go right as much as I'd like for it to do so. That wouldn't be fair and wouldn't yield SB Nation tens of cents like this article will.
When I looked back at the film, it became quickly obvious that Ole Miss really hurt itself in the first few drives, and Florida was able to take advantage and then not let up. Don't mistake that as me saying Ole Miss is the better team or "gave this away." I don't think either of those things. I just think it could have been a better game had Ole Miss' first three drives not each had one disastrous play, losing the Rebels ten yards or more each time.
But Florida did have to capitalize on those good fortunes, and that they did. The Gators scored touchdowns after each of the Rebels' first drives. With hindsight we now know that would have been enough for them to get a win anyway. But the game could have been very different had the Rebels been able to hold Florida early and not allow them to pile on with vast amounts of momentum.
Let's take a look at the first touchdown they scored and just how differently it could have gone.
Without further ado, here it is.
Yeah. Not good. Florida took the lead quickly and never let up. Honestly though, the Rebels came very close to turning this into a huge play for Ole Miss. In fact, they came close twice. Then it inexplicably led to a Gator touchdown.
The Rebels came out in a Cover-3 look, meaning they would be dropping three players in the secondary back to cover separate deep zones of the field. In this case, Mike Hilton plays the role of centerfielder of sorts. He's covering the deep middle, which is where the ball will end up.
Robert Nkemdiche utterly dominates his matchup, abusing a double team and getting immense pressure on Will Grier, and look! Mike Hilton is in position to intercept the throw or bat it down at worst. Even if Nkemdiche doesn't make the sack, this play can't really go wrong.
And then it goes wrong... horribly wrong. Hilton severely misjudges the route, getting out of position and seemingly assuming Florida wide receiver Demarcus Robinson is running a go route. Unfortunately, he is not. He's running a post directly to where Hilton would have been backpedaling. Instead, Hilton doesn't realize what's going on until it's too late.
When Robinson makes his final cut, Hilton is turned around and unable to defeat the inertia fighting against him. Robinson is wide open, and Florida is up 7-0.
Let me say that Mike Hilton is probably my favorite player on the team. Hell, he's the Chucky Mullins Award winner. I'm not trying to call him out. Most of the team struggled in this one. Still, it was tough to see this early score come so easily because of a player we as a fan base have grown to like so much. Here's hoping he can get back to being the versatile piece that has made Ole Miss' secondary so interesting for the last three years. Assuming Ole Miss can even get past Memphis unscathed with so many injuries piling up, the Rebels will need incredible discipline in the secondary when Texas A&M comes to Oxford in three weeks.