It’s All in the Details: Ole Miss DE Jared Ivey Makes Game-Winning Play for Rebels
Ole Miss defensive lineman Jared Ivey saves the day for the Rebs
OXFORD, Miss. – On Kentucky’s final drive of the game Saturday, there was a small detail noticed by the Ole Miss coaching staff that may have saved the game for the Rebels.
With Ole Miss leading 22-19 and the Wildcats driving for a potential game-winning drive, Kentucky junior offensive tackle Jeremy Flax went down with a leg cramp and was forced out of the game. His replacement, redshirt freshman David Wohabaugh, Jr., had notched limited, if any, action in the game.
The Ole Miss defensive staff saw that and relayed it to edge rusher Jared Ivey.
“It was something we were made aware of as soon as the change was made when the guy went down with cramps or something like that,” Ivey said.
“Coach came to the sideline and was like ‘we need to attack that guy, he’s coming in, he’s fresh, he’s young, he hasn’t been in the whole game, we need to show him what we are about, and just go straight for that matchup.’ I think that’s why they chipped, but I guess it wasn’t enough.”
Ole Miss DL Jared Ivey
What ensued was the play of the game with less than a minute remaining.
Y’all! What a defensive play on the forced fumble by Jared Ivey and the recovery by @Taviusrobinson!! Literally game-changing as the Rebels beat No. 7 Kentucky, 22-19! #PartyInTheSip pic.twitter.com/xLnfdRfJqc
— The Rebel Walk (@TheRebelWalk) October 1, 2022
Ivey was able to get to Kentucky quarterback Will Levis and knock the ball loose and when Tavius Robinson fell on it, the Rebels had secured the win to move to 5-0 on the season.
“I had like an edge rush, they had a tight end on the line I didn’t know if he would chip (block) or just release right away,” Ivey said.
“(He) came off, he chipped pretty hard, I kind of stumbled a little bit, got my footing together and worked to move outside and just kind of tried to bend the corner and reached out and the ball was right there, and he put it, basically right in my hand. I looked to the side and watched Tavius hop on top of it.”
Jared Ivey, describing the game-winning play
The win propelled Ole Miss to a No. 8 ranking in this week’s Associated Press poll.
Despite the scare from the Wildcats late in the game, Ole Miss quarterback Jaxson Dart had confidence his defense would hold Kentucky out of the end zone.
“Honesty, I was pretty calm until they had the big play (to get deep in Ole Miss territory),” Dart said.
“I go against (our defense) every single day and I’ve been in countless number of two-minute drives against them and they are so hard to drive down against in two minutes even in practice, so I know that if it’s tough on our offense to do that, it’s going to be really tough for another team’s offense to do it.”
Jaxson Dart on the Rebels’ defense
Still, Dart did have some nerves on the sideline.
“I was biting my nails,” Dart said. “Yeah, that was pretty fun. Yeah, I was going pretty hard on my nails.”
Despite scoring 22 points, Ole Miss could only muster three in the second half, and those came in the third quarter. Even with the lack of offensive production, Ivey said the defensive mentality does not change.
“I feel like it’s nothing different that goes through anybody’s mind on defense,” Ivey said. “We go out there and the only course of action is to stop them from scoring. We could be down 100, up 100 you know no matter what it is, what situation it is, what the offense is doing, what the other team is doing, what the refs are doing. We’re going out there and we’re trying to stop them from scoring.”
The defense kept Levis, a possible first-round pick in next spring’s NFL Draft, and the SEC’s leading returning rusher Chris Rodriguez, Jr., to 328 total yards, and just 108 on the ground. Ole Miss also sacked Levis three times and recorded nine tackles for loss.
On the season, the Rebels are surrendering just 11.8 points per game.
As a road trip to Vanderbilt looms, Ivey believes the defense can improve next week just as it did after beating Tulsa a week ago.
“That (improving) was something we were hyper fixated on,” Ivey said.
“It was relentless from the coaches, coming in and having to correct all the little things. We did things well last week; we did things well this week. But there’s again little small details that we need to harp on and we just go back at practice and just focus on getting better.”
Ole Miss and Vandy kickoff Saturday at 3 p.m. in Nashville. The game can be seen on the SEC Network.
(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)
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.