Each week, The Rebel Walk’s Jeff Tetrick takes a look at the Ole Miss Postgame Points, examining the top five takeaways from the Rebels’ most recent football game. Here are the Postgame Points from the Georgia Southern game.
1. November Win
Ole Miss may not have turned in a perfect performance in a 37-27 victory over Georgia Southern at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Saturday. However, the most important postgame point is that the Rebels earned a November win to gain some momentum heading into the final three regular season games.
Further, Ole Miss took another step towards gaining bowl eligibility. The Rebels sit at 4-5 with road trips to Texas A&M and Vanderbilt up next before the home finale with Mississippi State.
With injuries taking a toll on the Rebels, getting to 6 wins will be no easy task. The challenge got a bit more difficult with the news that quarterback Chad Kelly is out for the rest of the season. Yet, Ole Miss showed a resiliency in fighting back from an early deficit to win this game. Now, the Rebels must overcome adversity and seize two more victories to earn a bowl berth.
2. Offensive Balance
Ole Miss was able to find success running the ball against Georgia Southern. While the Rebels have struggled to run the ball effectively most of the season, the ground attack was a nice compliment to the efficient passing performance turned in against the Eagles.
The Rebels completed 17 of 28 passes for 245 yards through the air. Ole Miss got 196 yards and 3 scores out of 45 rushing attempts.
Akeem Judd was the star in the backfield, carrying the ball 26 times for a career-best 139 yards and 1 touchdown. His 139 yards are the most by an Ole Miss running back in a game since 2014.
Going forward without Chad Kelly under center, the Rebels will need the running backs to step up and help the new quarterback by protecting him and giving balance to the offense.
3. Passing Game
In what was the final performance by Chad Kelly in an Ole Miss uniform, he led the Rebels to another dominant day throwing the ball against Georgia Southern. Kelly connected on 16 of 23 pass attempts for 236 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. Kelly finishes his Rebel career with 50 touchdown passes.
Senior Evan Engram had another stellar day to headline the effort of the receiving corps. Engram grabbed 4 receptions for 75 yards and 1 touchdown. With his seventh touchdown catch of the year, Engram set a new single-season school record for receptions by a tight end with 53. Engram broke the record of 52 that was previously established in 1947 by College Football Hall of Fame member Barney Poole.
Van Jefferson caught 4 passes for 49 yards against the Eagles. Damore’ea Stringfellow pitched in with 5 catches and 66 yards for the Rebels.
4. Red Zone Success
One key statistic in the victory over Georgia Southern was the success of the Ole Miss offensive unit in the red zone. The Rebels scored on 5 of 6 chances in the red-zone, producing 3 rushing touchdowns and 2 field goals from Gary Wunderlich. The only red-zone opportunity where the Rebels failed to score came from kneeling to end the game.
5. Defensive Stars
While the defense gave up a lot of yards and 21 first-half points to Georgia Southern, the Landsharks buckled down after halftime and held the Eagles to just a pair of field goals the rest of the way. There were four defenders who stood out for the victorious Rebels.
Senior Fadol Brown made his presence known by recording a career-high 14 tackles, including 1.5 tackles-for-loss and a sack.
Senior Rommel Mageo produced 12 tackles and 1.5 tackles-for-loss, while junior DeMarquis Gates was the third Rebel to reach double digits with 11 tackles. Finally, sophomore Zedrick Woods stood out with 6 tackles and an interception. Woods leads Ole Miss with 3 interceptions on the season.
(Feature image credit: Mario Parham, The Rebel Walk)