The start of this game was like a shot of tequila with a chaser of Sriracha sauce — completely lit up, attention grabbing, and eye watering.
Football — Ole Miss football, even — was back. Two touchdowns on their first two possessions combined for less than one minute of possession. The first 21 points were indicative of how this game would eventually play out as the Rebels prevailed over the Texas Tech Red Raiders 47-27.
Yep, guns down, you guys.
The game was a clear statement of a couple things for the Rebels in 2018:
Ole Miss’ offense is back and clicking on 2017 levels and the defense added a couple contributors and a more swarm-tackle philosophy to improve at least marginally on 2017 production
D.K. Metcalf, who may be a cyborg, opened up the scoring with a 58-yard TD catch-and-run for the Rebels to start the 2018 season on a 33 second(!) scoring drive. Then, on the Red Raiders’ following drive, Texas Tech was all but stopped at midfield when an absolutely ridiculous catch kept their scoring chances alive, leading to a game-tying TD on a 15 yard run.
But, have no fear. Jaylon Jones ripped off a 94-yard kickoff return to answer the first Texas Tech touchdown, giving this wild matchup its third touchdown in less than five minutes to start the game.
Four minutes and 43 seconds, to be exact.
The white uniforms Ole Miss was donning - you know the all-white even the helmets, super icy white prior to Labor Day - seemed spectacularly white and shiny at this point. Ole Miss built a 17-7 lead on a field goal as Texas Tech kept a drive alive with a targeting penalty against DaMarkus Lodge committed by Desmon Smith (clearly an anagram for Demon Smiths, stay woke).
Tech at this point lost starting quarterback McLane Carter to a lower leg injury, who clearly will go on to have a line of successful car dealership or insurance offices, and replaced him with a clone/similar second string option in true freshman Alex Bowman.
Bowman honestly played a poised game for a freshman in a neutral site game against an SEC opponent. Keeping it 100. Kid played a pretty good ball game, so shoot your .38 special in the air and kill a Lone Star beer in celebration.
Then, a hero emerged from a barren wasteland - the Ole Miss run game.
Scottie Phillips is bae.
A hero all of us wanted as die-hard fans, but none of us deserved. “Hotty” Scottie Phillips took over. The juco transfer blew up for his first of two TD runs with a 39-yard sprint to the end zone on a fourth-and-one, showing nice speed against an over pursued TTU defense.
Phillips went on to more than 200 yards rushing and two touchdowns, including a 65-yard run later in the game. It was a score that put the Rebels up 37-20 in the third quarter giving Rebel fans a level of confidence in the run game they haven’t seen in years.
Just for reference, last year’s leading rusher Jordan Wilkins, cracked 1,000 yards in the final game of the season. Phillips is on track for 2,400+ yards after this debut — so essentially a comic book movie-like debut for the JUCO transfer.
Jordan Ta’amu was also good.
But our very handsome, talented and muscular Hawaiian son and QB, Jordan Ta’amu, led the offense with 22 of 32 passing, more than 300 yards passing and two touchdowns. Ta’amu looked hesitant at times but ultimately protected the ball and fed the NWO — Metcalf and Starkville Mayor AJ Brown — with scores.
Despite looking a bit uncomfortable in the first half, our son ran an offense that churned out 546 total yards of offense, 336 passing yards, and 10.5 yards per pass completion. And despite a less than ideal conversion rate on third down (4-of-13), the offense was good enough for 47 points while being relatively conservative and controlling clock in the second half.
Our Throwin’ Samoan will have one more tune-up before it gets very, very real in week three.
With the win, Ole Miss improves to 1-0 on the season and snaps a 15-game season opener winning streak formerly carried by the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Ole Miss will face Southern Illinois Potato College next Saturday at 3 p.m. in Oxford. For deeper analysis on #stats and #film, continue to follow @redcuprebellion.