Postgame Points: LSU 40, Ole Miss 24
Each week, The Rebel Walk’s Jeff Tetrick takes a look at the Ole Miss Postgame Points, examining the top five, positive takeaways from the Rebels’ most recent football game. Here are the Postgame Points from the loss to LSU.
1. Rushing Attack
The Ole Miss rushing attack was very productive against a ranked opponent on Saturday night. The Rebels followed up a great showing by the running backs in the win over Vanderbilt by averaging 5.5 yards per rush against #24 LSU. On the night, Ole Miss netted 153 rushing yards on 28 attempts. Both Rebel touchdowns came courtesy of the rushing attack, as both Jordan Wilkins and D’Vaughn Pennamon found the end zone.
Wilkins led the way for Ole Miss on the ground with 86 rushing yards on 13 carries. Sophomore Eric Swinney touched the ball 3 times and tallied 40 yards against the Tigers. Junior quarterback Jordan Ta’amu ran the ball 3 times for 20 yards on the night.
2. Red Zone Points
Ole Miss made the most of its red zone opportunities against LSU. The Rebels scored red zone points on all three drives deep into the Tigers’ territory. Ole Miss tallied 13 points in the red zone by way of a D’Vaughn Pennamon touchdown and a pair of Gary Wunderlich field goals.
The other Rebel points came on drives in which the home team was inside of the Tigers’ thirty-yard line. So, Ole Miss was very efficient at producing points whenever it got into decent scoring range. Moving ahead, the Rebels need to maintain this red zone success to be able to pull out wins in games that are likely to be closely contested in the coming weeks.
3. Dawson Knox
Sophomore Dawson Knox has emerged as a receiving threat for Ole Miss in recent weeks. The tight end from Nashville, Tennessee led the Rebels in receiving against LSU. Knox hauled in 5 receptions for 72 yards on Saturday night.
Knox ranks sixth on the team in receptions (9) and receiving yards (132).
Knox caught the first two receptions of his career against Alabama, and he added another pair of catches in the Auburn game. So, his effort against LSU was the biggest impact he has had in a game to date.
While Ole Miss has an array of weapons at wide receiver, it is important to have a tight end who can catch the ball and be a threat to opposing defenses.
4. Kicking Game
Senior Gary Wunderlich looked healthy and accounted for ten points in the kicking game for Ole Miss against LSU. Wunderlich was perfect on his three field goal attempts and made one PAT kick. The Memphis native has made at least one field goal in the past seventeen games in which he has played for the Rebels.
Looking ahead, keeping Wunderlich healthy is important for the team’s success. Ole Miss has very winnable games coming up, and a top-notch kicker like Wunderlich can be the difference in tight games. With a new quarterback set to lead the offense, it is hard to predict how the Rebels will do in the red zone. While every team wants to produce touchdowns in the red zone, field goals can be just as valuable when a game is close.
5. Jordan Ta’amu
Junior Jordan Ta’amu got some time on the field in the first half when starting quarterback Shea Patterson needed medical attention for a knee injury. Ta’amu led the Rebels on a scoring drive that culminated in a field goal that sent the Rebels into the locker room trailing by seven, 13-6.
In the fourth quarter, Ta’amu led the Rebels on another scoring drive that resulted in a touchdown that closed out the scoring on the night. For the game, Ta’amu completed 7 of 11 passing attempts for 78 yards.
With Patterson out for the remainder of the season due to a torn posterior cruciate ligament, this experience should help Ta’amu prepare for his first start at home against Arkansas.
As a sophomore last year at New Mexico Military Institute, Ta’amu passed for 3,014 yards and 32 touchdowns. The Hawaii native showed his dual-threat ability by rushing for 328 yards and 7 touchdowns, as well.
Going forward, Ta’amu has the experience and the ability to keep the offense rolling and to give Ole Miss a chance to win games. His prior collegiate experience has prepared him for this moment.
Next up, the Rebels conclude a three-game homestand with an early 11:00 a.m. (CT) kickoff against Arkansas at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Saturday. The Razorbacks are limping into Oxford on a three-game losing streak, and they have not been competitive in any of those contests. Arkansas is 2-5 on the season and is winless in four SEC games.
Arkansas has, however, won three straight matchups with the Rebels and leads the all-time series 34-28-1. The Hogs claimed a 34-30 win over Ole Miss last season in Fayetteville. The Rebels last earned a victory in the series in 2013 when Ole Miss notched a 34-24 win in Oxford.
(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)