OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss quarterback Jordan Ta’amu seems to grow more comfortable with each passing game. The Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette, on the other hand, were not at all comfortable with Ta’amu’s passing game.
Ta’amu ran the Ole Miss offense expertly, guiding the Rebels to a 50-22 victory over ULL that moves Ole Miss back to .500 (5-5, 2-4 SEC) overall.
Ta’amu, who took over when Shea Patterson went down with a season-ending knee injury, completed 28 of 36 passes for 418 yards, and the Rebels’ offense rolled for 641 total yards in the win.
(Click here for box score.)
Senior Jordan Wilkins rushed for 124 yards and a score on 14 carries.
Ta’amu threw three touchdowns – all in the first half – to put the Rebels up early. Two of the scores went to A.J. Brown, who tied former Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell for the school record for most receptions (14) in a single game.
Brown finished with 185 yards and two touchdowns.
“You can tell he was ready to go in pregame,” head coach Matt Luke said of Brown.
“I was really pleased with him. He’s a great player. He makes a lot of good plays for us, just making people miss, making tough catches. I’m glad he’s on my team.”
Head coach Matt Luke on A.J. Brown
A.J. Brown ties Laquon Treadwell’s record
From the opening kickoff, Ta’amu wasted no time picking up where he left off last week in Lexington against Kentucky. He led Ole Miss on a quick 5-play, 75-yard drive that culminated with DaMarkus Lodge’s 37-yard touchdown catch.
On the Rebels’ next possession, Ta’amu found Brown for the 31-yard touchdown catch that featured Brown juking right on his defender before then going back to his left to get into the end zone.Ta’amu would hook up with Brown again for a 27-yard score.
In the post-game press conference, Brown mentioned he thought about jumping over his defender on his first TD reception.
“It just happened,” Brown said. “My intentions were to jump over him until I saw him.”
Brown said he got wind of his record-tying receptions, and hoped Coach Luke might give offensive coordinator Phil Longo the signal to draw up a play for him.
“I didn’t know he needed one more to break the record,” Longo said.
“He just had one of those days. He got man coverage and when he gets man coverage, we are going to get him the ball.“
Offensive coordinator Phil Longo on A.J. Brown
“We didn’t have a big conversation about getting him the record. We were just trying to manage the fourth quarter to get out of the game healthy,” Longo said.
Ta’amu accounts for 5 TDs in the first half
Ta’amu rushed for an eight-yard score at the 3:46 mark of the first quarter, going in untouched and unfazed after pump-faking a pass to the right side of the field, literally offsetting ULL’s defense. He rushed for another one midway through the second quarter to give Ole Miss the comfortable 35-7 lead.
In the first half alone, Ta’amu was responsible for five touchdowns, completing 24 of 30 passes for 321 yards.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (4-5, 3-2 Sun Belt) rushed for 228 yards on 31 carries and finished with 427 yards of total offense.
- The 35 first-half points tied a season-high for Ole Miss and marked the fourth time in 2017 that they have scored 30 or more in a half.
- The 441 total yards in the first half are the most yards in any half this season.
- The 641 total yards of total offense were the fourth-most in program history.
- A.J. Brown now has five 100-yard receiving games this season. Former WR Laquon Treadwell holds the Ole Miss record with six 100-yard performances in 2015.
- RB Jordan Wilkins finished the game with a season-high 124 yards rushing on 14 carries and one TD. It was Wilkins’ fourth 100-yard rushing performance of the season.
- The Rebels converted on a two-point conversion on the last touchdown, with Luke saying he just wanted to make it an even four-touchdown game.
- True freshman quarterback Levi Lewis left the game in the third quarter after taking a hit.
- Junior Jordan Davis came in and led the Ragin’ Cajuns to two scoring drives, in which he had scoring runs of 10 and 31 yards, respectively.
- After both touchdowns, kickers Stevie Artigue and Terik Miller missed the extra point attempts.
Ole Miss Injury Report
- OL Alex Givens didn’t play today as he’s still in the concussion protocol following the game last week against Kentucky.
- Jordan Sims lined up at right guard in Givens’ absence.
- Daronte Bouldin is out for the season as Luke mentioned earlier in the week. Bouldin suffered a broken foot against the Wildcats.
- Trey Bledsoe and Markell Pack left the game with possible concussions.
- Van Jefferson suffered an arm injury and didn’t return. After the game, Coach Luke said he does not yet know the extent of his injury.
Ole Miss hosts Texas A&M next Saturday. Game time has not yet been announced.
(Feature image credit: Dan Anderson, The Rebel Walk)