Three Takeaways from the Rebels’ 59-3 win over Central Arkansas
OXFORD, Miss. — The Ole Miss Rebels are now 2-0 on the season after dominating the Central Arkansas Bears in Oxford, 59-3. Here are this week’s three takeaways from the game.
Dart looks more comfortable in second game
After a less-than-ideal performance a week ago, Ole Miss quarterback Jaxson Dart looked much sharper this week and showed some clear improvements against UCA.
Last week, Dart missed some throws that he needed to make, particularly in the deep passing game, but this week he completed some of those same throws.
Against Troy, the USC transfer looked a little jittery at times I thought; however, he seemed much calmer as the game went along this week. He made two big throws on his first drive to set the Rebels up with a field goal as time expired in the first half. I thought that was huge for him as the team had struggled offensively in the second quarter following Altmyer’s injury.
He was able to come in and take over the huddle and make some big plays immediately when he was put in the game. Dart is beginning to look the part of a starting QB more and more, and he’s shown flashes of his athleticism and arm talent.
This team is very disciplined
This may not seem like a lot right now, but I think this will be something we point out as one of the team’s strengths as the season goes along.
The 2021 team was one of the most penalized teams in the country, and it was something that really hurt them at times last season. One can already tell through two weeks that that is not going to be the case this season as the penalties are down quite a bit.
I think most of the older guys on the team will tell you, the difference between a 10-win season and a 7 or 8-win season usually comes down to just a few plays that happen during the course of a game and throughout the season.
If you don’t beat yourself with penalties and mistakes, the chances of those season-defining plays going your way increase dramatically, and I think this team is off to a great start when it comes to not shooting themselves in the foot.
Defense continues to impress
I’ll reiterate once more that this was Central Arkansas, an FCS school, so it’s hard to make a lot of assumptions simply because they from a lower division.
However, that being said, the Ole Miss defense absolutely suffocated UCA tonight. It was three-and-out over and over for the Bears all night long. The offense gave them a couple of chances to score by turning the ball over in Ole Miss territory — but the Rebels’ defense didn’t miss a beat. They continued to hold UCA scoreless for almost the entirety of the game, despite what situations they were given.
This is one of the most physical and aggressive Ole Miss defenses I have ever seen. They are very comparable to the 2014 defense, which finished the season as the number one unit in the country.
While I’m not saying after two non-conference games that will be the case for this team, they do share some of the same elements as that defense: they are extremely physical and they fly around the field and make plays constantly.
One huge plus for this defense is how incredibly deep they are. The second defensive line and defensive back units come on the field and the production doesn’t drop off at all. When a team is able to have players come in and play well and allow the unit to stay fresh, it can be a huge nightmare for opponents.
It’s still early, but I think this defense has a chance to be really really good this season.
Ole Miss travels to Atlanta to play Georgia Tech next Saturday, September 17, and we will have your “Three Takeaways” after the game.
(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)
Dillon is from Yazoo City, Ms. He is a senior journalism major pursuing a career in sportswriting. He grew up an Ole Miss fan and has always followed Ole Miss sports as well as the Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Braves. He played football and basketball in high school and enjoys spending time with friends and family.