Day After Observations

Notes and thoughts from Ole Miss’ 24-10 loss to Missouri …

I really thought the Rebels would play a cleaner game, but that wasn’t the case early. There were still a couple of false starts, not many, but when you commit one on fourth-and-goal from inside the 1 against a top 10 team, that’s a huge opportunity lost.

The fact that the Rebels didn’t even get three points out of that — The field goal was blocked — made it worse. That was a 90-yard drive with no points.

How different might the game have been if the Rebels punch in a touchdown there and answer Missouri’s quick strike from the opening possession?

The Tigers moved swiftly down the field to score with the opening kick. On Missouri’s first offensive play Cameron Whigham had a clean shot for a sack of James Franklin and whiffed, another example of a key play not made.

Ole Miss defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said he thought his guys over ran plays like that throughout the night, a factor in a Missouri run game that totaled 260 yards and helped the Tigers go 8-for-14 on third downs.

There were also drops by receivers that we haven’t seen in a while.

That sloppy play did get cleaned up, and ultimately the game was lost because Missouri just wore out the Ole Miss offense. The Rebels could get nothing going consistently. There was some success between the 20s, but when the field shrunk Missouri kept Ole MIss out of the end zone. The Rebels were 1-for-3 in red zone opportunities and that lone score wasn’t a touchdown.

When Jaylen Walton came up short on third-and-goal from the 1 I was remained that this team still needs a power back.

The quarterbacks have been the answer to the power run game this season, and that has often worked, but every team needs a guy that can bang it in and move the pile on third-and-1. That’s hard for Walton and I’Tavius Mathers to do. It might not be as hard for Jordan Wilkins next year as a redshirt freshman or maybe Mark Dodson — they gave it a shot with Dodson and it didn’t work last night — after a year in the weight room.

Mathers and Walton revived the run game this season when teams took away the perimeter game. They do a great job of picking holes and running hard, but they don’t move the pile.

We learned during the game that Bo Wallace was playing while he had began to show flu-like symptoms Friday night. Wallace was pretty good in the first half going 20-for-28, but he was just 4-for-14 in the second half. Fatigue may have been a factor then. Another factor was the fact that Missouri knew the Rebels were going to have to pass at that point. The Tigers lead the league in sacks but had only one, and that one didn’t come until the second half.

Missouri’s big receivers against the smaller Ole Miss corners was a big story line during the week. I thought the Rebels’ corners held their one. Mike Hilton was beaten once, and a few other receivers got open, but that wasn’t the norm.

Ole Miss’ big corner, freshman Derrick Jones, had a nice deflection as well on a ball that could have been a touchdown. Jones had three tackles and broke up two passes on the night.

Now it’s Egg Bowl Week, and the roles are reversed from a year ago. It’s MSU playing at home and needing to win the game to make a bowl game.

It’s quite an interesting picture at quarterback for both schools, more for MSU obviously with the uncertainty surrounding both Dak Prescott and Tyler Russell.

Wallace enters the discussion as well. You’d expect the flu to get cleared up by Thursday, but you don’t know what the abbreviated week of preparation might be like if Wallace is weakened.

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to Kory Keys and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

Posted in Football
  • Killer_Beeze

    PA…you’d think everyone who usually posts on your blog were “out with the flu” bug. What happened to all the posters is a mystery????
    I will say this: Missouri demonstrated to me the toughness and the skills which ‘Bama exhibited in their 25-0 win over the Rebels. Although, I believe the Rebels have improved considerably since that game in T’town, they’re not quite on the level of the Tigers and the Tide. I think those two teams match up very well for the upcoming Dec. 7th title game.
    ***The Egg Bowl win will only determine the “pecking order” of bowl games available for the Rebels while it will mean whether or not Ms State even goes to a bowl game.

    • Parrish Alford

      Beeze, I suspect there’s a bit of transitioning going on after the pay wall.

      I like your observations on Missouri. I thought they were the best team I’ve seen since Alabama.

      Ole Miss lost to a better team last night but had too much self-inflicted pain that took itself out of a chance to win.

      • Missouri Rebel

        I agree P.A., I think that Mizzou is the second best team in the conference for sure and ole Johnny football better have his helmet strapped on when they visit Columbia this coming weekend. I expect that game to finish with the same result as the LSU game…and on our front, I’m glad you mentioned that missing piece of our running game in your observations…I’ve been moaning all year over the lack of a “hammer” in the running game. I don’t think our offense will get over the hump against good defenses until that develops.

        • Parrish Alford

          No matter what offense you run there’s always room for a big, physical back who moves the pile. I would have picked Missouri over A&M before the LSU game for whatever that’s worth. This year in our picks contest not much.

  • Missouri Rebel

    Well guys, I’ve been watching Mizzou play all year and still wasn’t sure about them until Sat. night. They’ve got good darn football team… Last year they were riddled with injuries but have bounced back and are tough on both sides of the ball…I can understand that too…last year we were lucky in the injury department but this year the injury bug has bitten us pretty hard too…We didn’t play our best game but the Tigers sure came to play…
    Lucky for me, even thought there are tons of Mizzou fans in my neck of the woods, they are pretty humble and I won’t catch the trash talk this morning that I would from most SEC fans…I’m sure that won’t last forever though, these guys up here are enjoying being in the SEC now and are embracing it more and more.

  • Mantachie

    pretty much the same impression I have had all year, we need a running back. small and quick is good but not when you hit a big line man, our red zone is more effective when we are in the 10 to 20 yard range instead of 3 yard line, when it all closes in we have no power to push it in, I would love to see what might have been in all losses if we had a Brandon bolden type back fast but not small, he made some good runs against Denver proud the free agency rout landed him in place of green ellis. but I doubt we have that type of back now that new England would gamble on

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