Each week, The Rebel Walk’s Jeff Tetrick takes a look at the Ole Miss Postgame Points, examining five takeaways from the Rebels’ most recent football game. Here are the Postgame Points from the win over Kent State.
The Ole Miss Rebels improved to 3-1 on the season by downing the Kent State Golden Flashes 38-17 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Saturday. The Rebels had to endure two weather delays and a feisty Kent State squad that kept the game tight into the fourth quarter.
One of the most impressive things about this win was how Ole Miss was able to finish the opposition with a dominant final quarter. Both the offense and defense came up big when it mattered the most.
In the final stanza, the offense possessed the ball for more than 10 minutes and produced 14 points. The Rebels made 7 first downs, gained 167 yards, and converted on all 4 third-down attempts in the fourth quarter.
On the defensive side, Ole Miss held the Golden Flashes to 28 yards and no points in the final quarter. Kent State held the ball for just over 4 minutes, punted twice, fumbled once, and made 1 first down the entire quarter. Coach Matt Luke and his staff must be pleased by how the Rebels finished this game.
2. Sack Party
Ole Miss recorded a season-high seven sacks on Saturday against the Golden Flashes. The Rebels had a sack party in the Kent State backfield. Ole Miss had registered just 2 sacks all year coming into this contest.
In addition to all the sacks, the Rebel defense ended the day with 15 tackles for loss and 5 quarterback hurries. The constant pressure was a big reason the Golden Flashes converted on only 5 of 17 third-down attempts in the game.
Ole Miss created a pair of takeaways that led to 10 points against Kent State. Zedrick Woods intercepted a pass, Mohamed Sanogo forced a fumble, and C. J. Moore recovered that fumble.
This marks the third consecutive game in which the Rebels have created at least two turnovers. The last time Ole Miss created two or more turnovers in back-to-back-to-back games came during the 2014 season when the Rebels had a six-game stretch of multiple takeaways against Louisiana-Lafayette, Memphis, Alabama, Texas A&M, Tennessee, and LSU.
4. Overall Defense
While the defense racked up sacks, created takeaways, and finished strong in the fourth quarter, the overall defense was noteworthy against Kent State. The numbers indicate this was the best all-around effort by the defense in the past couple of seasons.
The 17 points allowed by the defense are the fewest since the Georgia game in Oxford in 2016 when the Rebels whipped the Bulldogs 45-14. The defense held the Golden Flashes to 23 first downs on Saturday, the best mark since limiting Texas A&M to 18 last November in Oxford. Finally, Kent State gained just 390 yards of total offense against the Rebels. That is the lowest number of total yards given up by Ole Miss since last September when the Rebels allowed 334 yards in a win over UT-Martin.
5. Firing on all Cylinders
The Ole Miss offense was firing on all cylinders in the big win over Kent State. Scottie Phillips was a dual-threat against the Golden Flashes. Phillips ran the ball 19 times for 112 yards and a touchdown, and he added 2 receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown receiving the ball.
Jordan Ta’amu had a nice afternoon throwing the ball, completing 28 of 38 pass attempts for 442 yards and 2 touchdowns. His top target was A. J. Brown, who grabbed 7 passes for 96 yards on the day.
Sophomore D. K. Metcalf caught 5 balls for 102 yards and a touchdown. DaMarkus Lodge recorded 6 catches for 81 yards, and tight end Dawson Knox caught 2 passes for 79 yards.
The Rebels tallied 651 yards of total offense and averaged 8.7 yards per play against the Golden Flashes. Ole Miss was balanced in play-calling with 37 running plays and 38 pass attempts. The Rebels generated 209 rushing yards and 442 yards through the air.