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Ole Miss defense excited to face Tulsa and the Golden Hurricanes’ No. 1-ranked passing attack

Ole Miss defense excited to face Tulsa and the Golden Hurricanes’ No. 1-ranked passing attack

OXFORD, Miss.To say the Ole Miss defense has been outstanding this season is an understatement. After three games, the Rebels have given up a total of just 13 points, including a shutout last week against ACC-foe Georgia Tech. 

They currently sit at No. 2 in the FBS in points allowed per game (4.3 ppg), behind only last year’s national champion Georgia Bulldogs. The Rebel defense also sits in the top five in sacks per game (4.33 spg) and No. 12 in tackles for loss per game (8.7 TFLpg). Overall, in total defense the Rebels are ranked No. 16 in the nation. 

This defensive corps may be the best Oxford has seen in a number of years. However, the meat of the Rebels’ schedule is approaching, starting this weekend against Tulsa.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do with better opponents coming up, and it starts with the number one passing offense in the country by far,” head coach Lane Kiffin said of the Golden Hurricanes at his Monday press conference. 

This is a totally different challenge than we’ve had, and some people would say the best team that we’ve played.

Coach Kiffin on the Tulsa offense

The Golden Hurricanes currently boast the top passer in the nation, as quarterback Davis Brin has thrown for just over 1,200 yards through three games. He also has thrown for 11 touchdowns while only turning the ball over once. 

Tulsa’s receiving corps has three receivers with multiple touchdown catches on the year, including JuanCarlos Santana with four and Keylon Stokes with three.

Kiffin stressed how important not overlooking this game is for his team, citing how locked in the Rebels and their fans need to be this week, even with current No. 8 Kentucky looming for an October first matchup.

“We are worried about this week, and you need to be,” Kiffin said. 

It would be great to have some home-field advantage with the crowd when you are dealing with a team that’s throwing all the time. We should have a better atmosphere than we’ve had lately with as many wins as these players have put together.

Coach Kiffin on the home crowd

Defense excited for the upcoming test

Even though this will be the toughest game this season for Kiffin’s defense, the players’ excitement to face a high-caliber passing team is growing. Defensive end Tavius Robinson is looking forward to the opportunity to disrupt Tulsa’s passing attack.

We always want to get after the quarterback. We are going to focus on stopping all of the run plays first, force them to throw it, then get after the quarterback.  

Defensive end Tavius Robinson

Even with the historic success of this Rebels defense, they are just as locked into Tulsa as Kiffin wants them to be.

“We really try to focus on ourselves and try to block out the outside noise,” Robinson said. “You never want to get too high on yourselves, and you never want to get too low.”

Senior safety AJ Finley shared the same sentiment as Robinson, blocking out the “rat poison” that Kiffin shields from his program.

“I try to stay out of all of that stuff,” Finley said. “I honestly did not know about those [defensive] stats.”

Finley shares the same excitement that the rest of the defense possesses, especially since he will be face-to-face with Tulsa’s athletic receivers.

They are really good on the outside. They have some really good receivers outside, and we have to be up for the challenge on Saturday.”

Senior safety AJ Finley

Kiffin’s Rebel defense looks to keep up its stellar play and continue the home winning streak in the team’s last non-conference game of the 2022 regular season at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium this Saturday versus Tulsa at 3 p.m. 

Trevor Terminie
Trevor Terminie

Trevor is a senior at Ole Miss pursuing a degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Sports Communication and Promotion. He has previous experience covering sports for another site, including a variety of Ole Miss sports. Growing up in New Orleans, La., he has the Pelicans and Saints running through his blood. He also grew up in an LSU family, but his love for Ole Miss continues to grow. Trevor hopes to cover sports back in his hometown after college. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

About The Author

Trevor Terminie

Trevor is a senior at Ole Miss pursuing a degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Sports Communication and Promotion. He has previous experience covering sports for another site, including a variety of Ole Miss sports. Growing up in New Orleans, La., he has the Pelicans and Saints running through his blood. He also grew up in an LSU family, but his love for Ole Miss continues to grow. Trevor hopes to cover sports back in his hometown after college. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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