Notes and thoughts from the Rebels’ 25-0 loss to Alabama …
Hugh Freeze called this a measuring stick game, and the measure says the Rebels might not be as far along the “journey” as some had hoped.
Like Bo Wallace, I thought Ole Miss would score some points. I tend to look at previous results and matchups when trying to hash things out before a game.
Obviously this was an Alabama defense that had shown some vulnerability this season but was on top of its game Saturday night.
I don’t think Alabama was motivated by Bo Wallace’s comments or even by its senior leadership calling out the team for its play last week. I think the Tide was motivated by its coach, Nick Saban.
Last year the Rebels hurt Alabama with the tempo offense. This year Ole Miss wasn’t able to get into its tempo package as much as it would have liked because it wasn’t having very much success on first down.
Offensive coordinator Dan Werner said he thought Saban’s response to last year’s tempo success was to keep the game plan very basic and simple. Freeze said it just seemed like Alabama players were in the right place every time they had to make a play.
Safety Cody Prewitt
Last Monday Wallace talked about his receivers being better than Texas A&M’s. I thought the Ole Miss receivers actually played pretty well in the game, barring a drop by Donte Moncrief on a deep pattern in the fourth quarter with the Rebels trying to drive it from deep in their end of the field.
Wallace actually had a decent completion percentage for much of the game. He was 15-for-22 after three quarters, but that deteriorated to 17-for-31 for the game when it was clear he was passing every play at the end.
Wallace picked up his second turnover of the year when he was hit and fumbled in the fourth quarter, but he’s now thrown 133 straight passes without an interception going back to the second quarter of the Compass Bowl. Not bad for a guy who threw 17 picks last year.
Bottom line is the passing game is better if there’s any kind of run game.
I thought Ole Miss would have to run between the tackles, and it just wasn’t able to get it done.
I thought it was interesting on the first possession of the game, the third down before Laquon Treadwell was short on fourth-and-1. The Rebels had split backs then with I’Tavius Mathers lining up next to Jeff Scott. Mathers is considered the better inside runner, but it was Scott who got the call on third-and-1 and was stopped short when he turned it up. Mathers carried in a couple of other short-yardage opportunities later and finished with 8 yards on two attempts.
And Moncrief again
Defensively, freshman Robert Nkemdiche started and played the whole game at tackle and was not credited with a single tackle.
His brother Denzel played for the first time since sustaining a sprained knee at Vanderbilt and finished with three tackles and a forced fumble. That’s three forced fumbles in two years against Alabama for Denzel Nkemdiche, a sophomore.
Ole Miss started out getting decent pressure against Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron, but the Tide adjusted and protect McCarron well most of the night. Most of that protection was against a four-man rush, at least until it became evident that the Rebels were having trouble getting there. Ole Miss finished with seven tackles for loss by seven different people but only one sack. The Rebels were credited with four pressures of McCarron, who was 25-for-32 for 180 yards, an interception by Cody Prewitt and no touchdowns.
Freshman Derrick Jones, the big corner at 6-3, got a little action late in the game, as did defensive linemen Lavon Hooks and John Youngblood.
Though the Rebels were clearly disappointed to have not played better, the general theme coming out of postgame was to try and move forward, not dwell on the loss and have it have a lasting impact for this week at Auburn.