In the aftermath of Auburn’s 40-29 win over Ole Miss on Saturday night, running back Kamryn Pettway was asked what defensive weaknesses allowed him to romp for 236 yards.
Pettway: “Nobody really wanted to tackle me.”
Reporter: “Why do you think that is?”
Pettway: “Because I’m so big. I’m a bruiser.”
Kinda hard to argue with that analysis after watching the 6’0, 240-pound Pettway casually shrug off Ole Miss defenders all night.
Hey freshman linebacker Willie Hibbler, were you interested in tackling Pettway?
Doesn’t look like it.
How bout you, Detric Bing-Dukes?
Ole Miss’ linebacker situation is a complete disaster at this point, and it didn’t help that DeMarquis Gates, the only competent player of the bunch, was limited by an ankle injury. Against the SEC’s leading rushing team, the Rebels had to start a former walk-on (Tayler Polk) and a true freshman who played tight end in high school (Hibbler). Oregon State transfer Rommel Mageo has been a complete bust, Bing-Dukes doesn’t have the athleticism to fit the 4-2-5 scheme, Terry Caldwell was benched for last week’s sideline tantrum, and nobody else on the roster is capable of fitting gaps or tackling ball carriers.
It also didn’t help that starting defensive tackle Breeland Speaks played sparingly on Saturday night because he had, in Hugh Freeze’s words, “a bad week of practice.”
It should be noted, of course, that Ole Miss isn’t the only team that’s struggled to bring down Pettway this season. This was his third straight game of at least 150 yards, and he’s put defenders on highlight reels before.
Still, this isn’t exactly the first time Ole Miss’ defense has struggled to stop the run. Leonard Fournette piled up 284 yards last week in Baton Rouge, 194 of which came before contact. So maybe the fact that the Rebels touched Pettway at all can be viewed as progress.