Week two was certainly an eventful one in the Southeastern Conference. Arkansas lost to Toledo, ranked LSU and Mississippi State played to a virtual stalemate in Starkville, the Razorbacks were stunned by the Rockets, Auburn snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat in an overtime win over Jacksonville State, Bret Bielema's SEC team lost in Little Rock to a MAC team, Kentucky won on the road in conference for the first time in a long time, Oklahoma came from way behind to beat Tennessee in Neyland Stadium, and the Arkansas Razorbacks let the Toledo Rockets literally commit a safety on purpose for the sake of field position and still somehow lost to them.
The action wasn't so dynamic or intriguing in the friendly confines of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, with the Ole Miss Rebels winning another blowout against an easier non-conference opponent, but there's still a lot to get excited about after yesterday's 73-21 win over the Fresno State Bulldogs in Oxford.
Hey! Ole Miss scores a lot of points! They score more points than any team in college football right now! Most of those points come from the Ole Miss offense! Even when considering the opponents the Rebels have played thus far, what we've seen thus far out of this team has been nothing short of remarkable. Consider this: never before as an SEC team scored at least 70 points in back-to-back games, and the last team to do so in all of FBS football was the 1968 Houston squad.
Ole Miss plays with a high tempo, eats up the field in gigantic chunks, and sends its speedy backs and receivers flying past defensive backfields into the endzone with regularity.
It's fun to watch, and a lot of folks would agree.
@RedCupRebellion explosive— AnnaMarie (@OleMissRebelFan) September 13, 2015
"That Didn't Sit Well"
We like Ryan Buchanan and Devante Kincade. The former is a Mississippi guy through-and-through, who led successful Jackson Prep squads before committing to Ole Miss over Florida. The latter is a former standout at Skyline High School in Dallas who made a name for himself during 2013's National Signing Day by submitting a confidently-worded cover letter with his LOI. This just isn't their offense to run. When Chad Kelly's in the game, Ole Miss moves quickly and confidently. When Buchanan or Kincade are in the game, the offense is nervous and clunky. Both are capable in their own rights, but Kelly is downright transformative. Everyone sees this, even Buchanan and Kincade.
Also, I don't know if they're playing down to the competition or what, but the defense needs to stop finding themselves out of position or chasing down guys from behind due to missed tackles. Yeah, we're complaining about a unit that has given up 17 points and 606 yards over two games, but it's fair to worry that they're biting way too hard on play fakes and missing on way too many easy tackles. Those are fixable problems, but not problems you want to have heading into Alabama.
"Going Back for Seconds"
The Landsharks have returned three interceptions for touchdowns this year. Trae Elston snagged his second pick six of the year yesterday, and Chief Brown got in on the action late in the contest as well. C.J. Johnson also had an interception that he returned for a good chunk of the field before being dragged down shy of the endzone. If I'm going to complain about this defense (as I just did), I have to do so with the caveat that they really are good at the "not break" part of "bend but don't break" philosophy they've played with since DC Dave Wommack arrived on campus with Hugh Freeze. Interceptions with big returns are particularly backbreaking in football, so let's hope they keep this up through SEC play.
Laremy Tunsil isn't Valuable okay Just Kidding He's Amazing but...
The offensive line - granted, against weak competition - looks like a capable unit, even with All-American left tackle sitting on the sidelines for what I can only presume is typically stupid and haughty NCAA bullshit. Fahn Cooper is a serviceable left tackle, who will look even better when (if?) he moves back to right. Robert Conyers has been a fine center, Sean Rawlings looks mighty seasoned for a redshirt freshman, and Javon Patterson looks even more capable as a true freshman. When (if?) Tunsil comes back, and if this unit can stay healthy, they'll do enough to keep the points rolling in.
Hey, you do know that Evan Engram is on this team, right?
Ole Miss has three All-Americans on offense: the aforementioned Tunsil, wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, and tight end Evan Engram. It's remarkable that Ole Miss has done as well as it has on offense without its star left tackle, but let's also keep in mind that the Rebs are doing all of this without the services of Treadwell and Engram. Over the past two games, Ole Miss has 716 passing yards. Only 117 of those yards have come from Treadwell, and absolutely zero of them have come from Evan Engram. To put it in other terms, 83% of Ole Miss' passing offense has flowed through players other than the Rebels' All-Americans. It's really tough to construe that as anything other than a good thing.
But while two of our All-Americans haven't gotten a lot of looks this season, another is taking advantage of his scoring opportunities:
The best part of this touchdown is the Fresno linebacker, No. 56, who bursts into the backfield untouched, only to be dragged four yards forward into the endzone by Mr. Nkemdiche on this keeper.