While Jeff Scott has been out with what was originally thought to be a thigh bruise, the Ole Miss run game thrived beyond what most teams might minus their leading rusher.
Scott’s injury turned out to be a bone spur placing pressure on a nerve.
He hasn’t played since the Texas A&M game. In his absence the run game didn’t seem to miss a beat – until Saturday against Arkansas.
With I’Tavius Mathers and Jaylen Walton getting more carries, the Rebels were better tackle to tackle which is where they need to show improvement.
But as teams adjusted to Scott’s speed on the edge, which got the Rebels off to a very fast start to the season running the football, Arkansas took away the inside run game. Ole Miss ran the ball well for several plays on one drive, but that drive ended with the Rebels settling for a short field goal from the Arkansas 1.
On the day Ole Miss averaged just 2.9 yards per rush against the Razorbacks. Maybe that would have been a game where Scott could have gotten free on the outside. Most other SEC teams had run the ball successfully against Arkansas, which is giving up 223.7 yards a game on the ground in conference play. Only Tennessee is worse in that category.
Troy isn’t too bad in run defense (142.0 ypg), but the Rebels should be able to move the ball on the ground with or without Scott. The important thing here is for Scott to get into the flow and get back in a groove.
Ole Miss will need all hands on deck against Missouri, which has gotten some strong play from its defensive line. The SEC’s newest Tigers lead the SEC in sacks at 3.4 per game and are third in run defense, giving up 111.9 yards on average. Mizzou defensive end Michael Sam leads the SEC in sacks at 1.0 per game and in tackles for loss at 1.6 per game.