Quick Glance: Rebels beat Kentucky 22-19
OXFORD, Miss. – Here is a quick glance at Ole Miss’ 22-19 win over No. 7 Kentucky Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
The defensive front seven. The Ole Miss defense recorded nine tackles for loss and three sacks. But more importantly, they kept Kentucky quarterback Will Levis off balance the entire game.
The Wildcats’ possible first-round NFL Draft pick was harassed the entire game, including holding on to the ball too long and being hit in the end zone as he tried to throw the ball away. The result was an intentional grounding penalty and a safety.
There were two. First, the shotgun snap was continually low which threw off the offense’s timing in both the run and the pass game. Late in the game, Caleb Warren, the starting center, came into the game after missing most of the contest with an injury. His presence remedied the problem.
The kickoff coverage team struggled. Kentucky’s Barion Brown returned three kicks for 164 yards. His long was an 85-yard return, and it should have gone for a touchdown, but he tripped over his own blocker to save the Rebels seven points. The coverage unit must be addressed, or it will come back to bite Ole Miss later in the season.
THE KEY PLAY
Thank you, Jared Ivey. With less than a minute to play and Kentucky driving for a possible winning score — the Wildcats had actually scored on the play prior, but were called for illegal procedure to negate the TD — Ivey broke through the line and knocked the ball loose from Will Levis. Tavius Robinson recovered to save the game and keep the home unbeaten streak alive.
THE KEY PLAYER
Are we sure Quinshon Judkins is just a true freshman? He ran for a game-high 106 yards and a touchdown and also caught a pass for another 14 yards with 11 of those coming after the catch.
With Zach Evans banged up and Ulysees Bentley IV missing time to injury, Judkins might be the team MVP in the early part of the season.
THE MOMENTUM SHIFTER
Oddly enough, it was a punt. Fraser Masin pinned Kentucky at its own one-yard line (his second punt of the day that was downed inside the five) and that directly led to a safety which essentially provided the winning margin.
WHAT THIS GAME MEANS GOING FORWARD
The Rebels are now 5-0, but most-importantly, they have knocked off a Top 10 team. With Vanderbilt and Auburn next on the schedule, a 7-0 start is likely and that will put Ole Miss in the Top Ten.
(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.