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The Ole Miss Rebels lost a tough battle with the Missouri Tigers by a final score of 38-27 at Faurot Field on Saturday night. The Rebels fall to 3-4 (2-2 SEC) on the season, while the Tigers improve to 5-1 (2-0 SEC).
Head Coach Matt Luke talked about playing two quarterbacks leading up to the Mizzou game, and the Rebels did play both John Rhys Plumlee and Matt Corral against the Tigers. Both quarterbacks found success against the Missouri defense, and neither one threw an interception all night.
Plumlee completed 8 of 17 pass attempts for 103 yards and 2 touchdowns. As well, Plumlee ran the ball for 143 yards and 2 more scores. Corral had an efficient night, throwing for 133 yards and completing 10 of 16 passes.
Going forward, it is encouraging to see that the Rebels have two very good options at the quarterback position. Time will tell the story, but it is likely that Rebel fans will see both freshmen playing in the final five games of the season as the Rebels fight for bowl eligibility.
Freshman quarterback John Rhys Plumlee continues to run wild against opposing defenses. Plumlee ran the ball 23 times for 143 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Tigers to pace the ground attack for Ole Miss. He averaged 6.2 yards per run. Plumlee’s numbers would have been even higher if not for a penalty that negated his 57-yard touchdown scamper late in the first quarter.
Plumlee has topped the 100-yard mark in rushing yards in each of his three starts this year. He ran for 109 yards against Alabama and gashed Vanderbilt for 165 yards. Plumlee is the first Power 5 quarterback to rush for more than 100 yards in each of his first three starts since 2010 when both Taylor Martinez (Nebraska) and Denard Robinson (Michigan) accomplished the feat.
In three starts and limited playing time against Cal, Plumlee has rushed for 470 yards and 4 scores on just 73 attempts. He is averaging 117.5 yards per game, the most of any Ole Miss player. If his 53 yards on 3 runs against Cal is taken out of the equation, Plumlee has accumulated 417 rushing yards in his three starts for an average of 139 yards per game. Those are impressive numbers for anyone, especially a true freshman quarterback seeing his first action as a collegian.
Sophomore wide receiver Elijah Moore was a major playmaker against Missouri on Saturday night. Moore hauled in 8 receptions for 102 yards and his team-leading fourth touchdown of the season. The Fort Lauderdale native has caught 4 of the 9 touchdowns Ole Miss has recorded through the air this season.
Moore continues to pace the Rebel receiving corp this year with 44 receptions and 562 yards through 7 contests. Moore is the only Rebel with double-digits in catches and more than one receiving touchdown. Further, no other Ole Miss player has reached 150 receiving yards for the season. Even with defenses keying on him, Moore has found a way to make plays for the Rebels.
Moore’s 102 yards against the Tigers is the third time this season that he has topped the 100-yard mark in receiving yards in a game. In September, he hauled in 11 catches for 102 yards against Cal and grabbed 7 receptions for a season-high 130 yards and 2 scores in the win over Arkansas.
The offense converted more than half of its third-down conversion attempts against the Tigers. Ole Miss was successful in getting the first down on 9 of 17 third-down opportunities on the night. Although the Rebels came up short on the scoreboard, the ability to convert on third down and keep drives alive will serve the Rebels well in the final five games of the season.
Missouri quarterback Kelly Bryant was able to find enough success to lead the Tigers to a victory over Ole Miss, but he had to do it against a tough trio of Rebel defenders. Defensive back Jalen Julius paced Ole Miss on defense and had a career night against Mizzou. The redshirt senior from Florida registered career-best marks for tackles (11) and solo tackles (10). Julius is second on the team in tackles (41) and has 31 solo stops to his credit this season.
Linebacker Lakia Henry made his presence known against Missouri by recording 8 tackles, 6 solo stops, and a tackle for loss. The junior from Georgia is the leading tackler for Ole Miss with 50 stops on the season. Henry has recorded 3 tackles for loss and a sack this year, as well.
Junior linebacker Sam Williams made 4 tackles, had the only sack of the game for Ole Miss, and grabbed the first interception of his career when he picked off a Bryant pass late in the game. The Alabama native now has 3 sacks this season, tied with Benito Jones for the most on the team through 7 games.
Ole Miss returns home this Saturday night to play host to Texas A&M at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The Aggies have won 8 of 11 all-time meetings with the Rebels and the last two matchups in the series. Texas A&M defeated Ole Miss 38-24 last season in College Station and pulled out a 31-24 win in Oxford in 2017. Prior to that, the Rebels won three straight contests with the Aggies. Ole Miss edged Texas A&M 29-28 at Kyle Field in 2016 and dominated the Aggies during a 23-3 triumph at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in 2015. Hotty Toddy!
Jeff is a college sports fanatic who was able to recognize many D1 team logos by kindergarten. Growing up, Jeff played football, baseball, basketball, and ran track/cross country. Jeff’s love for college sports was expanded while running track/cross country at Indiana University, where he earned a General Education degree and attended every sporting event possible when not running for the Hoosiers. A proud parent and husband, Jeff resides in Oxford. His wife is an Ole Miss graduate, and Jeff has a year of post-graduate studies at Ole Miss under his belt. Jeff and his family can be found at just about any Ole Miss sporting event throughout the year. Jeff follows the idea of God, Family/Friends, and Football as a way of life. Writing about Ole Miss sports plays to Jeff’s love affair with collegiate athletics perfectly!