The Ole Miss Rebels toppled juggernaut South Alabama on Saturday night, 47-27, in their 2017 season opener to advance to 1-0 on the year. They did not play the game in NCAA Hell, contrary to sundry previous reports.
The Rebs stymied the Jags on South Alabama’s opening drive, forcing a three-and-out, which hasn’t been seen since perhaps the 2015 Landsharks. The Rebs then proceeded to march their asses down the field astride Shea Patterson’s majestic arm for a welcome seven points on the team’s first offensive possession of the season. Ole Miss then held USA to yet another punt then earned a field goal on the ensuing short-field drive.
It was 10-0 Ole Miss at the end of the first quarter.
Then, the second quarter. The Jags’ running game came to life, and they also found some ordnance through the air. Their tying score came off the arm of quarterback Cole Garvin, who darted a 30-yard strike to Jamarius Way in the front of the end zone to even things up. That drive was the result of a horrendous fumble by Jordan Wilkins, who miffed the handoff delivery.
Ole Miss managed an answer, such as it was, on their ensuing possession, with a feeble field goal after a rather promising drive ended with Patterson running ham-wild all over the field for a one-yard gain. Again, this is experimental football.
The Rebs answered those first half struggles with a wondrous Patterson to AJ Brown pitch and catch resulting in a 71-yard touchdown pass. IT WAS SPLENDID. SHEA PATTERSON TOOK THE WHOLE GODDAMN SHIP OVER AND DECIDED TO SLING OUT A RIDICULOUS TD TO YOUR BEST FRIEND AJ BROWN. South Alabama answered with a very polite field goal.
This offense is fun as all hell, but maybe Shea Patterson shouldn’t scramble so much.
This purring machine raced circles around USA for extended periods on Saturday night. It was flashy, it was airborne, it was exhilarating. Hopefully this is the norm. Matt Luke came out with a passing play on the Rebs’ first down of 2017 and dialed up just one running play on their opening scoring drive.
Either way, Shep Rattlerson made better decisions in the second half, not scrambling out so much and offering himself to the wolves of his opponent. Ole Miss kinda needs him.
They threw a lot, though, and well, and that was fun as shit.
It appears that Ole Miss needs to work on the very fundamental football skill of “tackling.”
South Alabama’s third drive established a strong ground game, helped along by a butter-soft Ole Miss secondary and tackling game. The first half was shit for the Rebs’ defense, but they shored things up as best they could and held USA to 17 points in the concluding window.
The receivers are good. A.J. Brown is REALLY damn good.
Here, just look at this.