No. 3 Ole Miss downs Tennessee 34-3
Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley faces pressure from Ole Miss defensive end Carlos Thompson in the Rebels’ 34-3 win Saturday night. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Ole Miss (7-0, 4-0 SEC) found itself down 0-3 to Tennessee, but behind some phenomenal play by the defense came back and scored 34 unanswered to beat the Volunteers 34-3 at Vaught-Hemingway Saturday night.
Just how good was the Landshark defense? It was good enough to hold the Vols to a total of zero yards rushing and three total points; good enough to force four turnovers, and one turnover on downs; and, good enough to shut out the opposing team in the first quarter for the sixth time in its first seven games.
(Click here for complete stats from the game.)
Senior cornerback Senquez Golson intercepted two passes in the game, which gives him seven for the season, and the Rebel defense now has a total of 15 interceptions this year.
Freshman defensive end Marquis Haynes had another dominating performance with 4 solo tackles, 2.5 sacks, a quarterback hurry and a fumble recovery.
Defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche discussed the play of the defensive line after the game saying: “Tonight we had a really good game. People played really physical and fast. That’s the kind of identity we want to have as a defensive line.”
Offensively, it took the Rebels a little bit longer to get on track—but once they did, they never looked back. They also never turned the ball over. Senior quarterback Bo Wallace finished the game 13-28 for 199 yards and 2 touchdowns. In four SEC games, Wallace has not turned the ball over a single time.
Coach Freeze discussed how the offensive play-calling is affected by the play of the defense: “You can tell from our play calling that we’re comfortable as long as the defense is playing like they are,” he said. “We’re very cautious at times. You have to figure if we can score 17-20 points then we have a chance to win a lot of games with the way we’re playing.”
Senior wide receiver Vince Sanders helped Rebel fans breathe a little easier when he scored Ole Miss’ first touchdown on a 39-yard pass from Wallace with 5:08 in the second quarter. That gave the Rebels a 7-3 lead which they would never relinquish.Sanders finished the game with four receptions for 108 yards and 1 touchdown.
Coach Freeze complimented the Vols’ tenacity and talent on defense. “The entire first half felt like we were constantly backed up,” he said. “Part of the credit goes to them, for sure. They have three guys who could go in the first round of the NFL Draft on the defensive side.”
The Rebels took a 14-3 lead into the half and fans were breathing a little easier. In the third quarter, following a Gary Wunderlich 34-yard field goal, the Rebels recovered the ensuing kickoff after linebacker DeMarquis Gates, a freshman, forced the fumble and Marquis Haynes grabbed the ball for the Rebels.
Just one play later, Bo Wallace hit sophomore tight end Evan Engram for Engram’s first touchdown of the season– a 28-yard strike.
The Rebels added 10 more points in the fourth quarter to seal the 34-3 win. Ole Miss outgained the Volunteers 383-191, and though the Vols averaged 28 points per game before the contest, they were held to a season-low of three points.
Tennessee head coach Butch Jones spoke of the performance of his offense in the game: “Again, turnovers were the story of the game. We had a lot of negative yardage. When you are 3‐for‐16 on third‐down conversions you are not giving yourself an opportunity to be in the game and win.”
Next up, the Rebels face the LSU Tigers, 41-3 winners over Kentucky Saturday night in Baton Rouge. The game will kick off at 6:15 p.m. CT and will be televised by ESPN.