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Three Takeaways: Ole Miss knocks off Texas A&M in College Station for key SEC win

Three Takeaways: Ole Miss knocks off Texas A&M in College Station for key SEC win

OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss is now 8-1, 4-1 SEC after defeating Texas A&M 31-28 in College Station. Here are this week’s three takeaways from the key win.

Just win, Baby!

The Rebels did what they needed to do after suffering a loss in Baton Rouge: win.

It didn’t matter how good they looked doing it and it didn’t matter if they won by 40 points or by one. They just needed to win, and they did.

At this point in the season, there is no room for talk about playing up to expectations or beating teams by a certain margin. In November, you are what the numbers say you are, and Ole Miss is an 8-1, top-12 ranked team.

Had they fallen in College Station, things might have been very different right now for Lane Kiffin’s bunch.

A loss could have triggered a domino effect that might have had the potential to spin out to a 7-5 season. The Rebels would now be going into a bye week with a really bad taste in their mouths, and a mountain to climb in order to finish things strong.

Thanks to this win, none of that is the case. 

Ole Miss made all the plays and did all the right things in order to escape College Station with a victory.

There were several big plays throughout the course of the game that led to this win.

Ole Miss’s JJ Pegues converted a fake punt on fourth and four on the Rebels’ 16 — yes, sixteen, in the first half while Ole Miss was down 14-7. Not converting would have been devastating to Ole Miss’ chances, but they converted and later scored.

Frasier Masin had one of the best punts of his career late in the game when the Rebels were trying to hold on to the lead and get out with a win.

It forced the Aggies to start a critical drive deep in their own territory. Had the punt been lackluster, it would have given Texas A&M a much better shot at coming back, but it wasn’t.

Defensively, the Rebels started off about as bad as they could have, giving up two touchdowns on the first two drives. Adjustments were made, however, and the Ole Miss defense ended up holding its own for the rest of the game. Without those adjustments, the Rebs do not leave with a win — but they did what they had to do.

Ole Miss did everything it needed to get out of College Station with a victory — and an 8-1 record. Good teams find ways to win games, and bad teams find ways to lose them. Ole Miss found a way to win.

Dart and Judkins take over

Speaking of making game-winning plays, quarterback Jaxson Dart did that all night.

He finished with 140 yards passing with three touchdowns and no interceptions. His 95-yards rushing were massive in the win.

He managed the game about as well as he could have, and he made plays with his arm and his feet on several third downs that extended drives.

I was impressed by how calm and collected he was in a hostile environment in a must-win game. Dart is the real deal.

Now to true freshman Quinshon Judkins, who celebrated his birthday by running wild over the Aggies. He rushed for 205 yards on 34 carries Saturday, which marks his sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season.

  • In Saturday’s game, Judkins became Ole Miss’ all-time freshman rushing leader with 1,036 yards on the year.
  • He now ranks fifth in program history in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns (13) in a single season, becoming just the ninth Rebel to ever pass the 1,000 rushing yard mark in a season.
  • That ranks fifth on the Ole Miss single-season list and is the most by a Rebel since Dexter McCluster’s 1,169 yards in the 2009 season … Judkins is the ninth Rebel to ever run for 1,000 yards in a season.
  • Furthermore, Judkins’ 205-yard effort on Saturday is just the 12th 200-yard game in Ole Miss history.

His performance on his 19th birthday propelled Ole Miss to a victory, and he has already become the anchor of this offense in his true freshman season.

Judkins is beginning to be talked about in Heisman conversations and is one stellar performance against Alabama away from literally busting down that door.

SEC Network’s Jordan Rodgers made his thoughts on Quinshon known.

Crunch Time

Ole Miss has now put itself in a position to take control of the SEC West in two weeks.

Alabama heads to Baton Rouge to play LSU next Saturday in a game that has major postseason implications. If Alabama can pull it out over the Tigers, Ole Miss will face the Tide at home in two weeks in a game that will define the SEC west.

That game has a good chance to be the CBS game of the week, and Oxford should expect a College Gameday visit if Alabama can beat LSU.

Ole Miss has done it. They’ll enter the Alabama game with one loss and a chance to shake up the college football world. Despite the injuries and issues that slow this team down, they’ve put themselves in the position that many thought they could when the schedule came out.

The bye week is now huge. It gives the team a chance to heal from many key injuries and prepare for the game of the season.

Ole Miss has done what it needed to do to put itself in this position; now it’s time for the Rebels to take a shot at history!

(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)

Dillon Cader
Dillon Cader

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.

About The Author

Dillon Cader

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.

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