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 his Postgame Points from the game against South Carolina.
1. Final Stretch
Ole Miss dropped a close contest to the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Despite producing 616 yards of total offense and possessing a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Rebels were unable to hold off a South Carolina rally. The Gamecocks scored twice in the final 11 minutes to secure a 48-44 win over the Rebels.
Ole Miss stands at 5-4, 1-4 in the SEC, entering the final stretch of the 2018 season. The Rebels face Texas A&M and Vanderbilt on the road before finishing the year with a home game against Mississippi State. Ole Miss is capable of winning each game, but it will take a great effort on both sides of the ball to end the season on a high note.
2. Running The Ball
Ole Miss did a tremendous job of running the ball on the Gamecocks. The Rebels ran the ball 50 times for 237 yards and 5 touchdowns on Saturday. The only time this year when the Rebels tallied more yards on the ground was during the Louisiana-Monroe game when Ole Miss torched the Warhawks for 309 yards.
Scottie Phillips continued his strong season by carrying the ball 21 times for 141 yards and 3 touchdowns to pace the Rebels. Phillips has been a tough, dependable back all year. He has given Ole Miss a threat in the run game that keeps opposing defenses honest. For the season, Phillips has rushed for 923 yards and 12 touchdowns in 9 games. He averages just over 102 yards per game. Phillips should eclipse the 1,000-yard mark for rushing yards soon and is on pace to finish at around 1,200 yards for the season.
3. Red Zone Opportunities
One area that stood out in the South Carolina game was the number of red zone opportunities for the Rebels. Ole Miss reached the red zone on 9 occasions against the Gamecocks. The Rebels were highly successful in the red zone, converting on 8 of those 9 chances to score points. Ole Miss produced 5 touchdowns and 3 field goals in the red zone, accounting for all 44 points scored by the Rebels on the day.
Aside from a fumble on the second offensive possession, Ole Miss put points on the board each time it was in the red zone. Putting up 44 red zone points would be more than enough to win most college football games. On this day, however, the Rebels were one touchdown short of pulling out a victory.
4. Passing/Receiving Records
Senior quarterback Jordan Ta’amu had another solid effort against South Carolina. Ta’amu completed 31 of 46 pass attempts for 379 yards. He used his legs to run for 66 yards and 1 touchdown, as well. Ta’amu has thrown for 3,001 yards in 2018 after his outing versus the Gamecocks. He is the fourth Ole Miss quarterback to throw for 3,000 yards in a season, joining some elite company in Eli Manning, Bo Wallace, and Chad Kelly.
The top target for Ta’amu on Saturday was freshman Elijah Moore. The rookie from Florida made the most of his first start in an Ole Miss uniform by hauling in 11 receptions for 129 yards. The 11 catches by Moore set a new freshman record for receptions in a game.
Junior A. J. Brown had another big day for the Rebels and continues to approach several career receiving records at Ole Miss. Brown caught 6 passes for 115 yards against South Carolina. Brown leads the team with 66 catches, 920 yards, 5 touchdowns, and four 100-yard games this season.
As for career marks, Brown needs just 63 more yards to become the all-time leader in receiving yards at Ole Miss. Brown currently has 2,584 career yards. The school record is 2,646 yards held by Shay Hodge (2006-2009). Brown has 170 receptions as a Rebel, which ranks fourth in school history. Finally, Brown is second in the Ole Miss record books with 10 career 100-yard games.
5. Sanogo And Woods Stand Out
Linebacker Mohamed Sanogo continued his outstanding season by leading the Rebel defense against South Carolina. The sophomore from Texas paced the Rebels with 11 tackles on Saturday. Sanogo added a sack and a pair of quarterback hurries to his effort against the Gamecocks. For the year, Sanogo tops the team with 76 tackles. He has forced 2 fumbles and has racked up 3.5 tackles-for-loss, as well.
Along with Sanogo, senior defensive back Zedrick Woods stood out for Ole Miss in the South Carolina game. Woods was right behind Sanogo with 8 takedowns against the Gamecocks. On the season, Woods is second to Sanogo with 62 tackles. Also, Woods has 2 interceptions, 3 pass break-ups, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery this season.