Ole Miss is another win closer to yet another New Years Six bowl day berth, as the Rebels won in frankly less-than-convincing fashion against a team with a redundantly-named mascot. The UT Martin Skyhawks made a bit of a game against Ole Miss, pushing the ball downfield early and capitalizing on a head-scratcher of an interception by Shea Patterson to enter the half only down a point, but ultimately were not able to finish the full sixty minutes with a win. That result, one built almost entirely on a fistful of unanswered Ole Miss touchdowns in the third quarter, is more or less what you would expect between teams whose talent levels are presumably quite disparate.
So Ole Miss won a game they should have won by 20-something points. That’s fine. The team still looked less-than-capable on defense and one-dimensional on offense. That’s not fine, but it’s not unexpected at this point. Also, it is not unreasonable to suspect that the team, or the coaches at least, are also having to deal with the distractions of the kangaroo court proceedings of this week’s NCAA COI meeting, an event which inconveniently coincides with the preparation for Ole Miss’ most exciting out-of-conference opponent for the season.
So it wasn’t a pretty or even all that exciting game to watch. There are lots of reasons for that. That’s fine.
So this is what the Grove looks like for noon games now? Against UT Martin? In a season where the Ole Miss Rebels are not (yet) bowl eligible?!
Not only were y’all up and at ‘em early in the Grove, but y’all filled out the stadium too. And the crowd’s concerted effort to actually wear a single color — in this case, red — seemed to have actually worked?
I guess the tradition of generally being lazy football fans has also been destroyed at Ole Miss.
“That Didn’t Sit Well”
Here’s what I wrote in this space last week:
Oh, great, the offensive line still isn’t blowing guys up off of the ball, the running backs still struggled to find space, the back seven on defense still did not tackle and finish plays well, and maybe I’m being blasphemous here but Shea Patterson wasn’t like super-duper accurate Saturday night (completions to receivers who can make catches notwithstanding, he looked iffy at times).
Here’s what changed from week one to week two: the offensive line was pretty damn good at pass protection; the running backs looked better in the open field and as a part of the receiving game; the defense, uhh, they got a turnover I guess; and Shea was much more polished. Maybe this team improved? Or perhaps it is still too early to call. And they still did not play well for the first half of the game.
So all we really can say after two weeks is that this team is super-duper one note. They’re good at throwing and catching the football, and I don’t know if that’s something that can be quickly fixed. That’s pretty bad for the outlook of the season, considering the conference Ole Miss is in.
“Going Back for Seconds”
Shea Patterson super quietly set a school record this weekend with eleventy billion passing yards. The muted response to this is fine, because much of it is based on the presumption that Shea Patterson is good and was going to do something like this. It’s also a function of the opponent, and that Ole Miss is upsettingly one-dimensional on offense. We’re going to throw a lot this year, and Shea’s numbers are going to reflect that.
But, hey, this section is called “going back for seconds” because we’re going back for what it is what we liked the first go around. We liked watching Shea throw the football! So we’re going to keep liking it. And with Cal maybe having a pass defense that is butt, we should see more of that during Saturday’s Bear on Bear violence.
Speaking of, is anyone else really excited about this weekend’s game against Cal, because I sure as hell am. I’ve always wanted Ole Miss to play more out-of-conference games against teams out west and, of the Pac 12 destinations available, Berkeley is about as good as it gets. (Maybe a close second to watching U-Dub in Seattle.)
If I’m able to make it — yep, it’ll be a last-minute decision — I’ll write something about it. I’ll even make a point to meet up with some of y’all. We can drink beers together. Should be fun!
Of course there’s just as much a chance that I can’t go. Real life and last-minute transcontinental flights don’t oftentimes mash up well. I’ll be pretty upset too, if that makes you feel better.