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Ole Miss vs. UT-Martin football 2017: 3 things we learned from the Rebs’ 45-23 win

That first quarter ... HOO BOY.

NCAA Football: Tennessee-Martin at Mississippi Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

It took a while to settle in and find a groove, but Ole Miss eventually passed their way into a rather entertaining 45-23 win on Saturday, bringing their record on the season to 2-0.

The Rebs’ defense sagged, rolled over and died on the Skyhawks’ opening drive, allowing a seven-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a touchdown. Sure, UTM missed the extra point, but that thing lasted about five minutes and NOBODY could figure out how to tackle.

Ole Miss’ ensuing possession began auspiciously enough, with a quick completion to none other than A.J. Brown, but the momentum soon fizzled into nothing and the Rebs were forced to punt.

The remainder of the first and second quarters was [REDACTED], and Ole Miss didn’t grab the lead until the closing possession of the second quarter. Yet again, A.J. hauled in a short flip from Shea Patterson to the end zone, thus logging his fourth touchdown catch of the year.

The second half began much better, with Patterson laying down covering fire all over the place, advancing the offense down the field for two quick scores to begin the third quarter. From there, garbage time soon set in and that was all that was needed.

Here are three quick reactions to Saturday’s slop-fest in Oxford.

The Rebel defense remains horrendous.

We’ll have to wait for Bill C’s advanced boxed score to find out just how many yards UTM gained after contact, but take our word for it: these guys need to learn how to tackle. This shitshow will not pass muster in Berkeley or Tuscaloosa or anywhere.

Shea Patterson broke Chad Kelly’s record for passing yards in a game.

With 10 minutes remaining in the proceedings! Shep Rattlerson is very good. Final line: 32 of 43, 489 yards, five touchdowns and an interception.

The Rebel offense remains entertaining.

A full four different pass catchers hauled in touchdowns. A.J. Brown netted two for himself. DaMarkus Lodge, Jordan Wilkins, and D.K. Metcalf all grabbed one apiece. Lodge and Brown both broke 100 points receiving. All told, a great performance by the offense to make up for the defense’s first-half mistakes.

Next up is Cal, and that’s going to be hilariously fun.