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Ole Miss beats Austin Peay, 54-17, to move to 2-0

Ole Miss beats Austin Peay, 54-17, to move to 2-0

OXFORD, Miss. — The Ole Miss football team is 2-0 after a 54-17 win over Austin Peay Saturday night in the Rebels’ home opener at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

After a short week of practice following Monday night’s win over Louisville in Atlanta, head coach Lane Kiffin’s team came out ready to play against the Governors, rolling up 630 yards of total offense in the victory. 

Happy but Never Satisfied

In the post game press conference, Coach Kiffin reflected on the Rebels’ second game in six days. “We’re 2-0 and that’s the best you can be after two games,” he began.

I just had to remind myself going in the locker room that this was a challenging week with two less days, we only had one day of practice. I think we came out and played pretty well in the first half, good job by the players getting that done. It got sloppy in the second half, unfortunately these games tend to do that, when it’s lopsided. It’s hard to get them to come out and play the same way in the second half. We did get to play a lot of players, excited about that.  

Head coach Lane Kiffin

Kiffin also mentioned a couple of areas of concern. “I thought we gave up too many yards on defense and we weren’t very good on third down for the second week in a row on offense,” he noted.

The Ole Miss offense came out and put points on the board quickly. On the unit’s first possession, they capped off a ten play, 80-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Matt Corral to wide receiver Dontario Drummond.

The offense played fast and did not have a single drive longer than 2:38 until midway through the third quarter. Corral finished the game 21-of-33 for 281 yards and threw five touchdown passes.

The Rebels’ leading rusher was Henry Parrish Jr. who racked up 72 yards on eight carries. Dontario Drummond caught six passes for 107 yards, while Jonathon Mingo hauled in seven of eleven targets for 99 yards and two touchdowns.

A word from Mingo

After the game media had a chance to hear from Mingo on his season thus far.

“I feel like I’ve been doing OK.” Mingo said. “I feel like there are some plays I still left out there and can be better, but I feel like I’m playing faster and more confident than last year, so I’m just trying to build on that week by week,” he commented. 

Mingo would have notched a third touchdown after a phenomenal focus catch in the end zone that was, unfortunately, called incomplete. It was initially ruled an incomplete pass and after the referees reviewed it, the call stood. From what I saw, it was indeed a catch.

However, as for Mingo, he didn’t dwell the play. “I caught the ball and it kind of popped out at the end. I was just trying to keep it from touching the ground. I feel like I had a touchdown, but I’ve got to control what I can control, so if they say no touchdown, it’s no touchdown.”

It’s always interesting to hear what coaches tell players after such a lopsided win. Mingo shed a little light on that, saying:

We know we left a lot of plays out there; we weren’t as clean as we should’ve been. It’s a good job for right now but back to the drawing board tomorrow. We’ve got to erase this game and get ready for Tulane.”

Wide receiver Jonathan Mingo

Williams playing for the Rebels — and his son

On the other side of the ball, the Rebel defense gave up 404 total yards to the Austin Peay offense. However, Ole Miss did score a defensive touchdown for the first time since the 2018 season.

That score came on a strip sack from Sam Williams who would scoop and score from 33 yards out.

Williams spoke with media after the game and was asked about his touchdown. “Coach (Wilson) Love always says, “See ball, get ball,” so I put that to action.”

The senior defensive end from Montgomery, Alabama talked about his change in mentality this season. “Well, first off, I have a son (Samuel Williams, Jr.) that I have to go hard for.” Williams said. “My coach always told me to never let a man judge your heart or effort.”

Coach Kiffin noted earlier in the press conference that when Williams showed up for fall camp this year, he was a different person.  Williams was asked when things started to click for him. “Looking into my son’s eyes and going through all the things I’ve been through in my life, if I have the chance to change, why not do it,” he explained.

Williams finished the game with five total tackles, two which were solo, two sacks, two tackles for loss and two forced fumbles — and a touchdown.

Tywone Malone makes his home debut

Another bright spot for the defense — and something fans have been waiting for — was the debut of defensive lineman Tywone Malone. The true freshman from Jamesburg, N.J. saw playing time in the second half and made the very most of it, finishing with three total tackles, one tackle for loss and one sack.

Other notables for the Ole Miss defense Include Ashanti Cistrunk, Tylan Knight, Miles Battle, Keidron Smith, A.J. Finley, Trey Washington, and Jaylon Jones who all had five total tackles. Chance Campbell recorded a fumble recovery to go along with four total tackles.

Saturday was my first game in the press box. I was very excited for the opportunity and can’t wait to be back next Saturday!

Stay tuned for more coverage as the Rebels prepare to host Tulane.

(Feature image: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)

About The Author

Nick Filipich

Nick Filipich was born and raised in Biloxi, MS. He is an Ole Miss senior majoring in Sports and Recreation Administration. A sports junkie with a great passion for all things Ole Miss, Nick played baseball and football in high school — which is where he discovered his love for sports. He is an avid Braves and Saints fan, and in his free time enjoys spending time with family, friends and his black lab, Dixie.

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