Tom Brady. Peyton Manning. Patrick Mahomes. Eli Manning.
What do all of these players have in common? None of them would have won this game playing behind that offensive line.
Ten sacks! Yes Matt Corral getting hurt absolutely changed the course and very likely the outcome of this game, but even he would have had a tough time leading this team from his back.
Even without Corral and the horrendous play in the trenches, the Rebels had their chances to pull this one out. Vegan legend Cale Nation was 0-2 kicking field goals, meaning Ole Miss could have been down 21-13 on that last possession, changing play calling as they only needed one score, not two.
The pick six by Baylor was sheer luck. The defender just happened to be in the right place after the deflected ball at the line went over Casey Kelly’s head. The worst part was that Kiffin checked to that play from the sideline right before.
Speaking of pick six, Dean Leonard would still be running for days, which I feel that’s what he was thinking about before securing the ball when he undercut a Baylor player on a route.
Granted Altmyer did not arrive in New Orleans expecting to see the field beyond the sidelines, his second interception... well you just knew one of those was coming. Jeff Lebby eased the freshman into the game, he built confidence, then he forced one down the field. To be fair, Corral’s interception was a much worse head scratcher.
First-Half Defense— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) January 2, 2022
First downs: 3
Third down: 1-for-6
Fourth down: 0-for-2
Passing yards: 15 pic.twitter.com/HKAUjqiCXR
The defense did the damn thing though. Ole Miss ran 30 more plays than Baylor and outgained the Bears in yardage. The Rebs had 8 more first downs and forced more punts.
DJ Durkin has made this defense respectable. If Ole Miss is able to retain him, that is a massive plus for this bleh offseason thus far. This was a 7-0 game because of pick six, until it was 7-7 heading into the final stanza. The guys on defense did their jobs.
Sorry, Ted Lasso, it truly is the hope that kills. Altmyer and that defense provided that glimmer of hope for so long, only for it ultimately burst into flames at the end.
Shout out Matt Corral. Top-three Ole Miss Quarterback all-time. Salute to you and good luck in the NFL.
Shout out Luke Altmyer. None of us had any reason to believe he would provide hope upon his entry. But the dude was surprisingly agile and had incredibly nice touch on his deep ball. If Kiffin strikes out in the portal, he could be serviceable until the young prince Arch arrives.
Shout out Snoop Connor. Criminally underplayed throughout his career, yet he has stuck it out. He should've been the workhorse in this one.
Shout out to all you OL ‘croots in the portal, we got some playing time immediately available next season.
The Sugar Bowl sucked. But this was one hell of a season in Oxford. In year 2 under Kiffin, most regular season wins and a 7th place Heisman finisher. Speaking of, he’s just a good dude. He didn’t Kenny Pickett his team to a NY6 bowl loss. He opted in, laid it on the line for his teammates and he will be beloved forever in Oxford, MS.
Ole Miss by damn.