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.