Big-play defense in 2013?

It doesn’t always happen this way — as the 2009 season below shows — but you often find wins and losses line up with a turnover margin that won’t surprise you.

If you’re making big plays on defense and giving the ball back to your offense — and if your offense is protecting the ball — success will usually find you.

Along those lines, here are some interesting numbers from Pete Roussel at

Roussel likes the Ole Miss defense to force a lot of turnovers. He has them No. 5 on his list of teams with the most take-aways per snap in 2013: 5. Ole Miss: The Rebels forced a turnover once every 33 snaps last season, which was impressive considering it was their first season in Dave Wommack’s system and the Rebels didn’t have any players drafted.  The secondary is very experienced.  Defensive ends Channing Ward and Carlos Thompson expect to have big seasons rushing the passer.  Denzel Nkemdiche is a very opportunistic blitzer and his younger brother, Robert Nkemdiche, is capable of tallying several momentum-changing plays as a true freshman.

There’s much more at the link.

The Rebels were minus-.08 in turnover margin last year, No. 63 in the nation, No. 9 in the SEC.

The negative is obviously not the goal, but it’s light years ahead of where the Rebels were the last two years. In 2011 the Rebels were No. 100 in turnover margin, down from No. 88 in 2010. In 2009 — with a 9-4 record — Ole Miss was No. 102 in turnover margin.

The Rebels’ best finish in that category under Houston Nutt was No. 72 in 2008, Nutt’s first year. That left the Rebels No. 7 in the SEC.

Last year, the Rebels’ first under Dave Wommack as coordinator, they gained 15 interceptions and 13 fumbles.

When Wommack was the coordinator for Hugh Freeze at Arkansas State in 2011, the Red Wolves were No. 44 at plus-1.5.

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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