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 victory over Arkansas.
1. Balanced Offense
Ole Miss evened its record at 1-1 by taking down SEC rival Arkansas 31-17 on Saturday night at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The Rebels showed improvement on both sides of the ball from game one to game two, which resulted in an encouraging victory.
The defense tackled better and stopped the run more effectively than in the season-opening loss to Memphis, while the offense showed marked improvement in both running and passing the ball.
The balanced offense was the key takeaway from the win over Arkansas. The Rebels churned out 237 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, and the passing attack produced 246 yards and two scores. A balanced offense is key for Ole Miss in reaching bowl eligibility this fall. If a defense has to respect both the run and pass, the Rebels are capable of reaching six or more wins.
Quarterback Matt Corral had a great day throwing the ball. Corral connected on 16 of 24 pass attempts for 246 yards and 2 touchdowns. He threw no interceptions. Elijah Moore caught 7 of Corral’s passes for 130 yards and 2 scores. Running back Scottie Phillips carried the ball 26 times for 143 yards and 2 touchdowns while averaging 5.5 yards per rush.
2. Run Defense
Ole Miss was stout in its run defense in the victory over Arkansas. The Rebels limited the Razorbacks to 61 rushing yards on 26 attempts on Saturday. Arkansas averaged just 2.3 yards per run. It is the fewest rushing yards allowed by Ole Miss since holding Texas A&M to 58 yards on the ground during a 23-3 win over the Aggies in 2015 in Oxford.
The defense did not allow a rushing touchdown to Arkansas, and the Rebels recovered a fumble on a Razorback run attempt in the third quarter. Ole Miss held Arkansas to just 5 first downs on the ground. After giving up 192 rushing yards to Memphis, defensive coordinator Mike MacIntyre has to be happy with the progress made by his unit in week two.
3. Cashing In
Ole Miss was perfect in the red zone for the second straight week. The Rebels scored a pair of touchdowns and a field goal in three opportunities in the red zone against the Razorbacks.
The Rebels have been cashing in when in the red zone this season. Through two games, Ole Miss is perfect on five possessions in the red zone, resulting in three touchdowns and a pair of field goals. While big plays are nice, it is good to know that the Rebels can drive the ball down the field and put points on the board.
4. Making Plays
The defense was active, disruptive, and making plays all over the field in the win over Arkansas. The Rebels registered 10 tackles for loss, 7 quarterback hurries, and 3 sacks against the Razorbacks. Rebel defenders broke up 6 passes, and freshman Luke Knox recovered an Arkansas fumble.
Further, Ole Miss limited Arkansas to just 5 successful third-down conversions in 15 attempts. The Rebels stopped both fourth-down conversion attempts by the Razorbacks. Ole Miss did a nice job of getting off the field and getting the ball back for the offense, which always goes a long way towards winning games in the rugged SEC.
Jacquez Jones was one of the leaders for the defense on Saturday night. Jones recorded 9 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and contributed on a sack. Sam Williams had 1.5 tackles for loss and 1 sack, while Charles Wiley made 4 stops, 1 sack, and 1 quarterback hurry. Jaylon Jones broke up 2 passes, made 4 tackles, and registered a tackle for loss.
5. Excellent Special Teams
Kicker Luke Logan was perfect in his kicking duties against Arkansas. Logan connected on his only field goal attempt (33 yards) and made all 4 PAT kicks for the Rebels. Punter Mac Brown only had to punt the ball four times Saturday night, and he made the most of his opportunities to flip the field and pin Arkansas deep in its own territory. Brown averaged 49.5 yards per punt, had a long punt of 52 yards, and placed two punts inside the Razorbacks’ twenty-yard line.
Excellent special teams play through two contests has to be encouraging for Coach Matt Luke. Kickers are an often-overlooked piece of the offense, and punters help the defense by flipping field position. So far, Ole Miss is getting some great effort by the kicking specialists.
Ole Miss hosts Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday afternoon at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The Lions are ranked at #23 in the STATS FCS Top 25. The Lions defeated Jacksonville State 35-14 in week one, while their week two contest at Bethune-Cookman was called off due to the hurricane conditions in Florida last weekend.