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 Texas A&M game.
1. Bye Week
The Ole Miss Rebels lost a tight battle with Texas A&M 24-17 last Saturday night at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Ole Miss drops to 3-5, 2-3 SEC while the Aggies move to 4-3, 2-2 SEC. Texas A&M has won three straight meetings in the series and has claimed victory in nine of the twelve all-time matchups between these SEC West rivals.
Ole Miss gets a much-needed bye week after starting the season with eight consecutive games. The Rebels can certainly use the bye week to rest physically and mentally and to get several injured players healed up in time for the final month of the season.
2. Strong Running
Ole Miss continued to display its strong running game against Texas A&M. The Rebels rushed for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns on Saturday. The Rebels ran the ball 44 times and averaged a solid 5.7 yards per run. The 250 yards and 5.7 yards per run are the most given up by the Aggies this season. Those numbers are very impressive considering that Texas A&M has played Clemson, Alabama, and Auburn already.
The Rebels have rushed for 200 or more yards in 4 consecutive games, something Ole Miss has not done this century. Freshman Jerrion Ealy paced the Rebel ground game with 80 yards and a touchdown. Senior Scottie Phillips ran for 67 yards, and freshman Snoop Conner added 52 yards and a score.
3. Third Down
The Ole Miss defense was very effective on third down against Texas A&M. The Rebels allowed the Aggies to convert just 3 of 13 third-down opportunities in the game. This was a big reason why Ole Miss held the Aggies to just 66 plays and 337 yards of total offense.
Winning the third-down conversion battle often decides which team wins the game. In this case, the Ole Miss defense did its part. Ultimately, what doomed the Rebels was a defensive touchdown by Texas A&M and a couple of missed field goals.
4. Sack Party
Ole Miss matched a season-best mark by recording 4 sacks against Texas A&M. The Rebels notched 4 sacks against California earlier this season at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Four Rebels were a part of the sack party on Saturday night. Sam Williams (1.5), Jalen Julius (1), Charles Wiley (1), and Benito Jones (0.5) all got to Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond. Williams (2) and Jones (1) registered quarterback hurries, as well. The pressure Ole Miss put on Mond was a big reason that he completed just 16 of 28 passes for 172 yards and threw 2 interceptions in the game.
Ole Miss generated a pair of takeaways against Texas A&M by picking off two Kellen Mond passes. Donta Evans and Austrian Robinson tallied the interceptions for the Rebels. It was the second interception of the season for Evans, while Robinson notched the first pick of his career as a Rebel.
Ole Miss has created a turnover in 7 of 8 games this season, with the lone exception being the commanding win over Vanderbilt. The Rebels have 8 interceptions and 4 fumble recoveries and own a plus-three turnover margin for the season.
After a week off, the Rebels return to action to face the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn leads the all-time series with Ole Miss 32-10 dating back to 1928. The Tigers defeated the Rebels 31-16 last year in Oxford and have won three straight in the series. The most recent Ole Miss victory over Auburn was at Jordan-Hare Stadium in 2015, when the Rebels walked away with a 27-19 triumph. Hotty Toddy!