Postgame Points: Memphis Game
Point No.1: Win The Day
The most important postgame point this week is that the Ole Miss Rebels are 4-0 on the season heading into October. While the performance was not perfect, the Rebels were able to win the day and defeat the Memphis Tigers 24-3 on Saturday night at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. This marks the first time since 1970 that Ole Miss has started a season 4-0. With a daunting slate of SEC games on tap, Rebel supporters must feel elated that Ole Miss has taken care of business in the opening month and set themselves up to make noise in the SEC West race.
Point No.2: Defense
The Ole Miss defense was absolutely phenomenal in the victory over Memphis. The Landsharks shut down the Tigers from start to finish on Saturday night. While the offense was up and down throughout the night, the defense was dominating Memphis on every possession. The Rebels allowed the Tigers a mere field goal all night, while holding Memphis to just 104 total yards. Memphis put up just 23 yards rushing and 81 yards passing against the Landshark defense. It is rare to see a major college team hold an opponent to 104 total yards. The Rebel defense must be applauded for an incredibly suffocating performance.
Take a moment and consider how great the Landshark defense has played through four games. On the season, Ole Miss has allowed only two touchdowns and has intercepted nine passes. The Rebels have held two opponents to just a field goal in a game, and the Rebels have given up just thirteen and fifteen points, respectively, in the other two games. The Landsharks are a huge reason for the 4-0 start. This is the kind of defense needed to win games in the SEC and to compete for an SEC championship.
Point No.3: Defensive Stars
All season long, the Ole Miss defense has played at an extremely high level. To this point in the season, the collective unit has been dominating their opponents. Yet, each week there are several defensive stars making key plays and big hits for the Landsharks. Against Memphis, there were a number of defensive stars.
Tony Conner and Denzel Nkemdiche stood out against the Tigers, as each recorded two tackles-for-loss. Marquis Haynes, C.J. Johnson, Bryon Bennett, and Lavon Hooks were the Landsharks responsible for the 4 sacks that Ole Miss had on the Memphis quarterback. Trae Elston had an interception for the Rebels. Also, Haynes forced a fumble that was recovered by Issac Gross. Deterrian Shackelford had eight tackles and a quarterback hurry, while Mike Hilton contributed six tackles and broke up a pass.
Again, the overall play of the Ole Miss defense has been phenomenal this season. Through four games, it is clear that there are a tremendous number of playmakers on defense that will allow Ole Miss to compete for the SEC West championship.
Point No.4: Offensive Numbers
While the execution was not perfect on Saturday night, the offensive numbers put up by the Rebels were a positive point. Ole Miss torched Memphis to the tune of 426 total yards. The Rebels rushed for 178 yards and generated 248 yards in the passing game. Two Rebels stood out on offense against the Tigers. Laquon Treadwell had a productive night, as he grabbed 5 passes for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns. Memphis appeared unable to defend the size and speed of Treadwell. Bo Wallace was able to get the ball to Treadwell when Ole Miss needed some big plays, and he delivered with 2 huge touchdown catches.
In the running game, Jaylen Walton stood out with 10 rushes for 78 yards and a touchdown. His speed and elusiveness was too much for the Tigers. As stated several times this year, the Rebels need to have offensive balance and be able to exploit opponents in both the running and passing game. This will be a key point in Ole Miss winning SEC games and competing for the SEC West title.
Point No.5: Ross Bjork
The final point this week is that applause is necessary for Athletic Director Ross Bjork and the other leaders at Ole Miss for honoring Chucky Mullins this week. The renaming of Coliseum Drive to honor Chucky Mullins was a wonderful gesture. It is one way to ensure that the legacy of Chucky Mullins will live on for generations to come at Ole Miss. As well, it was neat to see the Rebels wear the powder blue helmets in honor of Mullins. Further, the number 38 logo in the endzone was a fitting tribute. So, Rebel fans should be thankful for great leadership at the university and a beautiful decision to honor Chucky Mullins.
On a personal note, I want to thank Ross for honoring Chucky Mullins, for being a great leader, and for being an amazing human being. My family has had the honor of getting to know Ross during the past couple of years. Ross has stood by our family through some very difficult moments. He continues to be there for us as a friend and a supporter. For those who do not know my story, my wife and I lost our son, Chance, this summer to a lengthy leukemia battle. Throughout the journey, Chance and our family were blessed by support from thousands of folks from around the country, from the Oxford and Ole Miss community, and from numerous players and coaches at Ole Miss. Chance touched their lives, and we were touched by their support, friendship, and prayers. Ross Bjork, coaches like Hugh Freeze, Tom Allen, Bruce Johnson and Matt Insell, and so many Rebel athletes stood by the Tetrick family and continue to do so now. My wife, Jenn, my daughter, Collins, and myself wish to thank each of you for your support during our most difficult time in life. Thank You!
Photo credits: Rebel Walk Photographer, Ben Breland