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 win over New Mexico State.
1. Great Win
Ole Miss picked up its fourth victory of the 2019 season on Saturday by cruising past New Mexico State 41-3 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The Rebels move to 4-6 (2-4 SEC) with 2 rivalry games remaining on the schedule. The Aggies fall to 0-9 on the year and 0-2 all-time against Ole Miss.
It was a great win for Ole Miss in that it snapped a three-game losing streak. As well, the Rebels had a complete performance by playing well on both sides of the ball. The offense hummed along behind a superb running game, while the defense limited the Aggies through the air and on the ground and kept them out of the endzone all day.
2. Still Running
New Mexico State defenders might have nightmares this week that Ole Miss is still running the ball for big gains against them.
The Rebels ran the ball 61 times on Saturday and 13 of those carries went for 10 or more yards. Ole Miss finished the game with 447 yards on the ground and averaged a hefty 7.3 yards per run.
The last time the Rebels ran for more yards in a game was in 1962 when the Rebels pounded out 454 yards against Chattanooga. The 447 rushing yards against New Mexico State is the fifth-most in school history.
All five Rebel touchdowns in the game came on the ground and courtesy of freshmen. Quarterback John Rhys Plumlee led the Rebels with 177 rushing yards and 2 scores. Running back Snoop Conner topped the 100-yard mark with 109 yards and 2 touchdowns on the day, while fellow freshman Jerrion Ealy ran for 71 yards and a score.
3. Total Defense
As impressive as the offense was in racking up 606 total yards against New Mexico State, the defense was incredibly stout in shutting down the Aggies. Ole Miss limited New Mexico State to 59 plays, 3 points, and 193 yards of total offense on Saturday. It is the best defensive performance by the Rebels since a 23-3 victory over Texas A&M in 2015 when the Rebels allowed just 192 yards.
Ole Miss had its best day defending the pass this year. The Rebels surrendered just 127 passing yards to New Mexico State for an average of 5.1 yards per completion. It marks the fewest passing yards given up since limiting Mississippi State to 111 yards last year.
Ole Miss held an opponent to under 100 rushing yards for the fifth time this season by giving up just 66 yards on the ground against New Mexico State. The Aggies averaged a mere 2.8 yards per run for the game. The 2012 Ole Miss team was the last unit to hold 5 opponents to under 100 rushing yards in a season. That team accomplished the feat against UTEP, Tulane, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, and Pitt.
4. Sack Attack
The Ole Miss offensive line did not allow New Mexico State to record a single sack on Saturday. However, the Rebel defense was able to take down New Mexico State quarterback Josh Adkins 4 times in the game for a net loss of 23 yards.
The Ole Miss sack attack featured 4 different players getting Adkins to the ground. Willie Hibbler, Benito Jones, Josiah Coatney, and Quentin Bivens were the Rebels who registered a sack. It was Hibbler’s first sack of the season, while Coatney recorded his second sack this year. Bivens now has 2.5 sacks for the season. Jones shares the team lead for sacks with Sam Williams with 4.5 through 10 games.
While the 41-3 final score shows how well Ole Miss played against New Mexico State, three other statistics stood out that emphasized the dominance displayed by the Rebels.
First, Ole Miss did not punt once on Saturday. It is the first time this season that the Rebels did not need to punt in a game. Any game in which the punter is not necessary is a fantastic day.
Second, Ole Miss scored points on all 6 trips into the red-zone against New Mexico State. The Rebels cashed in with 4 touchdowns and a pair of field goals for 34 points in red-zone possessions.
Finally, Ole Miss won the key third-down statistic on both sides of the ball against the Aggies. The Rebel defense limited New Mexico State to just 4 of 14 third-down conversions. That is a big reason why the Aggies ended up with just 59 plays and 193 yards of offense on Saturday. On the flip side, the Rebel offense converted on 10 of 16 third-down opportunities. This helps to explain how the Rebels ran 80 plays and rolled up 606 yards of total offense.
Ole Miss will play its final home game of the season by hosting No. 1 LSU on Saturday night at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The Tigers have won three straight matchups with the Rebels and lead the all-time series 62-40-4. The last time Ole Miss defeated LSU was a 38-17 victory in Oxford in 2015. Hotty Toddy!