Ole Miss is off to a very unsurprising 3-0 start to the 2022 season if fans can possibly fathom being unexcited about an undefeated start to the year.
The one surprise you might consider is the 13 total points surrendered by the defense through three games, with the only touchdown given up being a garbage time TD against Troy. The only team in college football allowing fewer points than the Rebels is over in Athens... yeah that one.
Say what you want, but Ole Miss knocked off a Georgia Tech team on the road that gave No. 5 (overrated) Clemson team all it wanted and that Troy game looks better by the week based on how the Trojans have been playing.
Let’s dive into the three best plays, two players of the game and six important things from the beatdown in Atlanta.
3 Plays of the Game
Ok, the game was over at 35-0 and Coach Lane Kiffin probably does not want to see Dart trying to truck stick someone with nothing on the line.
The kid has shades of Matt Corral in him. Forget that he’s a West Coast kid wearing number 2, the toughness and big arm remind you of a young, raw Corral. Just wait until the puka prince really starts to put it together.
This was still a game when Tavious Robinson made a huge sack on 4th down. Still weird to see GT drop back and pass so much, but on 4th and Goal from the 4, Tech had an opportunity to make it a 14-7 contest early in the second quarter.
This defense is relentless and this was the only real threat the Yellow Jackets made to ruining a shutout. It was also the moment fans on both sides realized how the rest of this game was about to go.
I teach next door to a true Georgia Tech fan. Apparently their punter always moves in slow motion. It truly seemed like Cedric Johnson got there and waited on the punter to kick it into his gut. Either way, Ole Miss had all three phases of football doing things on Saturday, which needs to continue as the Rebs prepare for a massive matchup against Kentucky in two weeks.
2 Players of the Game
This is truly a difficult selection to make. The running backs scored all six touchdowns on the day, two apiece between Evans, Judkins and Bentley IV. While Bentley IV does not get the quantity of carries the former do, he makes the most of his opportunities. The first player of the game for this week would go to the three-headed monster in the Ole Miss running back stable.
AJ Finley had seven tackles and a pass deflection. Cedric Johnson had four tackles, a sack and a punt block. Otis Reese and Austin Keys both had a sack and 4+ tackles. Again, how do you select just one player of the game?! The defense pitched a shutout, on the road against a Power 5 opponent. Ice Cream and sprinkles for everyone.
6 Important Things
- The landshark defense had seven sacks plus five more tackles for a loss. Thats nearly 20% of the Tech plays going for negative yardage.
- 53 rushing yards allowed is an incredible number. This defense is legit. The transfer portal fairy has been quite good to us so far. If Ole Miss can hold SEC opponents to 1.6 yards per rushing attempt (not likely), then the Rebs will be in every game this season.
- The top five tacklers on defense this week were players that wore Rebel jerseys last season. Finley, Cistrunk, Reese, Keys and Johnson. Seeing Keys and Cistrunk step up and play well is important. No one is shocked that Finley, Reese and Johnson are doing their thing.
- The Rebels covered. They actually covered the spread like three times. I was the only one here at the Cup who picked them not to. They burned me in Week 1. This is my plea for forgiveness.
- Ole Miss was 7-15 on third downs and 3-3 on 4th downs. So when it came to extending drives, the Rebs were converting at a 67% clip. (10-15, counting the drive extension attempts, not the literal conversion attempts).
- Ole Miss ran the ball for 316 yards and 6 touchdowns, good for 5.1 yards per attempt. I’ve said on this site a few times now. The quarterback situation + running back talent + Charlie Weis Jr. = a running team. Now can they do it against someone like Alabama?