The Ole Miss offense had a better day than the Rebels’ defense, winning the Grove Bowl in a system that awarded points based on yards for the offense, stops for the defense.
There were some other measures too. I didn’t try to understand them all and focused instead on key players within the scrimmage.
Here’s Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze:
Here are a few observations and some numbers provided by Ole Miss media relations.
Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack has talked about how good he feels with his four safeties. Two of those – AP All-American Cody Prewitt and junior Trae Elston – are returning starters. The other two are newbies, though one with a bit more experience.
Freshman C.J. Hampton got in and mixed it up early today, showing some good ball skills even when he didn’t finish with an interception when he had the chance.
Anthony Alford, the Southern Miss transfer showed the speed and athleticism his teammates have raved about by stringing plays out to the sideline for little or no gain.
Prewitt led all defensive players with 10 tackles and also had two forced fumbles.
There weren’t too many monster defensive plays, but there was consistent pressure leading to six sacks, two of them by prep school transfer end Marquise Haynes.
CJ Johnson’s health is the starting point for improved pass rush, but the Rebels are quicker opposite Johnson with Florida International transfer Fadol Brown and with Haynes.
Speaking of speed, Kailo Moore moved from running back to corner this spring and twice showed his track speed by running down ball-carriers who thought they were about to score after long gains.
One of those stops was by I’Tavius Mathers, who had two long runs. Freeze called Mathers his most improved running back. Mathers finished with 121 yards on four carries but did not score.
The next-best rusher was quarterback DeVante Kincade who had 38 yards on six attempts, a long run of 13 yards.
Cornerback Mike Hilton was impressive in pass coverage with two PBUs.
There’s good stuff in this clip though it appears it didn’t get properly turned off when Dave was finished speaking. Put on a seatbelt if you proceed past the interview.
Among the quarterbacks, Wallace was 10-for-21 passing for 152 yards with a touchdown. He had a 68-yard completion to Evan Engram on a wheel route.
Ryan Buchanan was 6-for-10 for 100 yards with a 45-yard completion, and Kincade was 5-for-8 for 57 yards with a touchdown.
Laquon Treadwell has been better than he was today, though he finished with two catches for 46 yards and a touchdown.
Mark Dodson had only two rushing attempts but was noteworthy for what he did after catching short passes with two grabs for 69 yards.