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The 3-2-6 Report: Ole Miss rights the ship against the Aggies

Oh where o’ where has our defense been, oh where o’ where has it been?

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Texas A&M Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Lane Kiffin cuts to the chase when answering questions from the media and very rarely minces words.

“I thought the running backs did well,” Kiffin said in his postgame interview, immediately following the victory, “390 yards rushing against a bunch of five-stars is pretty good.”

My wife asked me why I was laughing uncontrollably at Kiffin during the postgame. It’s just one of those IYKYK moments. (If you know you know for those not in on the text lingo). This team’s ability to rack up rushing yards against SEC defenses is rather impressive. While Ole Miss was running the ball at a high level of success last season, they are relying fully on it this season for a few reasons: The insane talent in the backfield and the play action passes for Jaxson Dart.

It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win and we look at the 3-2-6 report to break down.

3 Plays of the Game

A 61-yard run put Judkins over 1000 yards for the season, as a true freshman, sharing the backfield with one of the most highly scored recruits to ever attend Ole Miss in Zach Evans. It also put the Rebs in position to score its final touchdown of the contest, one they had to have in the end.

With 1:11 remaining in the first half and A&M looking to extend their 14-10 lead before the half and getting the ball back at half, the Rebel defense flexed it’s recently disappeared muscle. On first down at the Ole Miss 30, Cedric Johnson sacked Conner Weigman for a six yard loss. The very next play, JJ Pegues sacked Weigman for a three yard loss, setting up a 3rd and 19 from the Rebel 39. A 12 man on the field penalty made it 4th and 24 and the Aggies had to punt it away.

Talk about guts. It was 4th and 4 on the Ole Miss 16 yard line and Kiffin just defies all odds. I honestly was thinking to myself ‘we could see the punter try to run for a first here’ but the Rebs busted out a tight set and direct snap to JJ Pegues who barely made the first down, which he may not have but video review would be inconclusive. Ole Miss had given up 14 unanswered points and needed to capture momentum on the road. That first down allowed the Ole Miss offense to tack on 3 points, a decisive 3 in the end.

2 Players of the Game

At this point it should just be Quinshon Judkins and the one other player who performed well each game. He’s not going to get enough Heisman hype to get an invite this year, but he is cementing himself as one of the best backs in the entire country. On his 19th birthday, Judkins toted the rock 34 times for 205 yards and a touchdown. Thats 6 yards per carry with a long of 61. Can’t wait to play the new NCAA game and destroy people with this kid.

The other honor has to go to Jaxson Dart. The kid just keeps getting the job done. A 65% completion percentage isn’t the most appealing number, but he threw 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. He also added 95 rushing yards with several key first down pick ups. He is going to have to sling it for the Rebs to beat Bama, but he has done an admirable job during his first season at the helm.

6 Important Things

  1. The defense only created 2 QB hurries. Makes sense when a true freshman QB making his first career start goes 28/44 for 338 and 4 tuddies
  2. The Rebels ran the ball 63 times compared to just 20 pass attempts. Obviously the numbers are skewed because some passing plays turned into scrambles, but the coaching staff is determined to relentlessly run the ball no matter the game flow (or that lack of confidence in the passing game).
  3. At 8-1, the Rebels are off to its best start since before my parents were born. If Alabama knocks off LSU this weekend, this sets up for a game to decide first place in the SEC West with two weeks left in the season, of course the Rebs would have to take care of Arkansas and State after that to, um, well let’s not actually say it.
  4. The Rebs did just enough. Running the ball gave them the time of possession advantage and the defense held the Aggies to 5-14 on third down attempts and 1-4 on fourth down.
  5. If Ole Miss wants to pull the upset next weekend against Bama, the 7 penalties for 66 yards they accrued against aTm, has to at least be cut in half.
  6. 31 points and 590 yards of offense against an SEC school with a bunch of 5-stars is no joke. The problem is the trend of our defense has to change immediately or Alabama might put up 600+.