OXFORD, Miss. — An excited Ole Miss Rebels football team took the field against No. 1 Alabama at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Saturday, and on the first play from scrimmage wide receiver D.K. Metcalf caught a 75-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jordan Ta’amu.
The 11-second, one play scoring drive sent a shockwave throughout the Vaught–but, unfortunately, that was the only time the Rebels would find the end zone before ultimately losing 62-7 to the Tide.
(Click here for box score.)
Three plays after the Rebels’ score, Alabama running back Damien Harris scampered for a 43-yard touchdown to even things up with 13:39 left in the first.
After that, the Tide began rolling and did not stop until the game was over. By then they had amassed 516 yards of total offense (306 passing, 210 rushing).
In his post game press conference, Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke expressed disappointment at the outcome but said he and the team will move forward and learn from their mistakes. “We cannot let this one game beat us twice,” Luke said. “It’s just one game, one of our twelve opportunities,” he added.
“We were outplayed and we were beaten, but we have got to find a way to come back tomorrow to learn from the mistakes and move forward. You want to find out why things happened the way they did, but you really just want to learn from it and move forward. It’ll be a normal Sunday tomorrow. We’ll watch the film and learn from it and move forward.“
Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke
Alabama QBs rack up yardage
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa looked sharp, completing 11-of-15 attempts for 191 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 47 yards.
At 35-7, midway through the second quarter, backup QB Jalen Hurts entered the game and completed 7-of-10 passes for 85 yards, two touchdowns and one interception (C.J. Moore).
Defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff
After the loss, Ole Miss defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff said he does not want this game to be a tone-setter going into the next week. Though he believes his unit is improving, McGriff said, “It is just not coming fast enough.”
Ta’amu vows ‘..this will never happen again…’
Offensive coordinator Phil Longo was frustrated after the loss and said he “expected a better performance” from the Rebels’ offense. In the first two games of the year, the Ole Miss offense scored 47 and 76 points, respectively. However, the offense was unable to get on track following the initial touchdown.
Ta’amu completed 7-of-22 passes for 133 yards and one TD. He suffered two interceptions, one of which was a pick-six when the game was out of reach. Ta’amu emphasized the importance of shaking this loss off and having short-term memory heading into practice and the next game–and he vowed not to have this type of game again.
Ta’amu never left the game for the Rebels–even though his teammates were being substituted around him. He explained his desire to stay on the field.
“I didn’t want to quit. I didn’t want to give up. I just fought all four quarters to do my best. The best thing I can do is just learn from my mistakes and come out next week stronger than ever. I just promise you guys that this will never happen again on my side..the offense side and this team in general.“
Ole Miss QB Jordan Ta’amu
The speed of the Alabama defense definitely caused problems for Ta’amu and the offense. “I just knew I had to get rid of the ball faster, and I couldn’t hold the ball for long,” he said. “My mentality, as soon as I stepped in the game, I just had to get rid of it fast. They’re pretty good,” Ta’amu added.
The Rebels’ senior quarterback went on to explain what was taking place. “I tried my best just to throw it over the top,” he said. “They did well just defending our outside receivers. I could have made better throws and given my receivers more chances. It would have turned out a lot different,” he said.
Ole Miss takes on Kent State at 11 a.m. next Saturday, September 22, in Vaught-Hemingway. Then, the Rebels will travel to Baton Rouge to face a red-hot LSU team who defeated Auburn, 22-21, Saturday.