In a Nutshell: Ole Miss puts on an offensive show in 59-42 win over South Carolina
OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss put on a show Saturday as the Rebels beat South Carolina, 59-42. Although the offense showed its might, only failing to score on two possessions, the defense is still a work in progress. The Rebs are now 3-4 and have some momentum.
Here is The Rebel Walk’s nutshell analysis:
THE POSITIVE: The versatility of the Ole Miss offense. The Rebels were not one-dimensional even though quarterback Matt Corral set a school record with 513 yards passing. And speaking of versatile, Elijah Moore lined up as a wide receiver, slot receiver, running back and as a punt returner.
THE NEGATIVE: The run defense. Kevin Harris ran for 243 yards and five touchdowns. Harris averaged 9.7 yards per carry and when he got tired of running unabated through the Landsharks, Deshaun Fenwick averaged 9.1 yards an attempt.
THE KEY UNIT: The entire offense. Corral was not hassled much in the pocket and that protection enabled him to set a school record for yards passing in a game. The offensive line also allowed the Rebels to run for 195 yards. Does any defense in the country want to play these guys? Ole Miss turned the ball over once and punted once. Other than that, it was eight touchdowns and a field goal.
THE KEY PLAY: In the fourth quarter, Corral dropped back, pumped to the right side of the defense and lofted a deep pass to a wide-open Elijah Moore for the longest scoring play in Ole Miss history, 91 yards for a touchdown. Not only did that excite the Rebels, but it was also the dagger in the South Carolina hearts.
THE MOMENTUM SHIFTER: It seems to be weird, but a video-tape review. In the near past, Ole Miss has been hurt by non-review calls – one last year against Cal and one this season against Auburn. As time melted off the clock to end the first half, Snoop Conner took a pass from Corral and headed down the left sideline. Instead of immediately running out of bounds to stop the clock, Connor tried to get more yardage and appeared to run out of bounds after time expired. The officials decided to look at the play and ruled there was one second left on the clock. Luke Logan nailed a field goal as the clock hit all zeros to give the Rebs a halftime lead. That three-point advantage may have changed South Carolina’s thought process in the second half.
WHAT THIS MEANS GOING FORWARD: It appears the game next week against Texas A&M could very well be postponed. Should that game not be made up (the Aggies need to make up Saturday’s scheduled game against Tennessee), that leaves just a home game with Mississippi State and a road contest at LSU. With the Ole Miss offense clicking as it is, both of those are exceedingly winnable.
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.