Each week, The Rebel Walk’s Jeff Tetrick takes a look at the Ole Miss Postgame Points, examining the top five, positive takeaways from the Rebels’ most recent football game. Here are the Postgame Points from the loss to Arkansas.
1. One Week
Ole Miss suffered a 38-37 setback to Arkansas on Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The Rebels jumped out to a 31-7 lead over the Razorbacks early in the second quarter, but a turnover just before halftime led to an Arkansas score and changed the complexion of the game. The Razorbacks used that momentum to claw their way back into the game. Arkansas used its rushing attack to control the clock, and the defense limited Ole Miss to a pair of field goals in the fourth quarter. The Razorbacks returned a fumble for a touchdown with six minutes to play and got a last-second field goal to pull out the win.
This was a heartbreaking loss for Ole Miss. The Rebels dominated the early part of this game and had chances to put this game out of reach in the fourth quarter. Ole Miss never trailed once in the game until the final play of regulation.
The Rebels now stand 3-5 on the season. With four games left, Ole Miss has to focus on winning one week at a time. There are four opportunities in November for the Rebels to win a game and finish the season on a positive note.
2. Jordan Ta’amu
Quarterback Jordan Ta’amu made his first-career start in an Ole Miss uniform against Arkansas on Saturday. The junior from Hawaii put up some impressive numbers in his debut.
Ta’amu completed 20 of 30 pass attempts for 368 yards with 1 interception. It is the most passing yards ever recorded by an Ole Miss quarterback in his first-career start.
Ta’amu rushed the ball 9 times for 76 yards and 2 touchdowns. He showed off his dual-threat ability in his first full-time game as a Rebel. On the day, Ta’amu accounted for 444 yards of total offense. That number ranks fifth in school history for yards of total offense in a single game.
As he gains additional practice time and gets more comfortable running this offense, Ta’amu looks like a guy capable of putting up big numbers and helping Ole Miss win games!
3. DeMarquis Gates
Senior DeMarquis Gates had a huge day on the defensive side of the ball for Ole Miss. The Georgia native recorded 15 tackles against Arkansas. Gates had 10 solo stops, assisted on 5 other tackles, and registered 3 tackles for loss. Gates set a career-best mark in both tackles and tackles for loss in this game. It is the fourth time this season that Gates has made at least 10 tackles in a game.
If that was not enough, Gates recovered a fumble and was credited with a pair of quarterback hurries. Simply put, Gates was the best player on the field on Saturday!
4. Jordan Wilkins
Senior Jordan Wilkins had another outstanding day running the ball for Ole Miss. Wilkins carried the ball 16 times for 118 yards and a touchdown against the Razorbacks. He averaged 7.4 yards per rush in the game.
It is the third time this year that Wilkins has surpassed the 100-yard mark in rushing yards in a game. He leads the Rebels in rushing this season with 586 yards and 5 scores.
Also, Wilkins caught a pass for 24 yards. Wilkins has proven he is valuable out of the backfield as a receiver this year with 20 receptions for 194 yards and a touchdown. He ranks fifth on the team in receptions and receiving yards.
Wilkins netted 141 all-purpose yards against Arkansas. With 779 all-purpose yards through 8 games, Wilkins is second on the team in this category behind only A. J. Brown (791 yards).
5. Offensive Production
Despite coming up just short on the scoreboard, the offensive production was outstanding on Saturday against Arkansas. The Rebels churned out 566 yards in the game while running just 59 plays. Ole Miss averaged an incredible 9.6 yards per play!
The rushing attack produced 198 yards and 4 touchdowns with Jordan Wilkins leading the way. The Rebels got rushing touchdowns from Wilkins, Ta’amu, and Eric Swinney.
D. K. Metcalf led the receiving corps on Saturday with 4 catches for 107 yards. Sophomore Van Jefferson hauled in 4 receptions for 55 yards, while fellow sophomore Dawson Knox added 3 catches for 24 yards. Wideouts who recorded 2 receptions included DaMarkus Lodge (55 yards), Octavious Cooley (49 yards), and A. J. Brown (48 yards).
Next up, the Rebels travel to Lexington to take on Kentucky. The Wildcats won the last meeting between these two schools, recording a 30-13 win in Lexington in 2011. The Rebels’ last victory over Kentucky came in Oxford in 2010, when Ole Miss claimed a 42-35 decision. The Rebels hold a 27-14-1 lead in the all-time series with the Wildcats.