The Rebels have turned the ball over three times, twice with Bo Wallace interceptions while Ole Miss was marching on the Memphis end of the field.
The third was a fumble on a punt by Markell Pack, who was replaced by Anthony Alford on the next punt return opportunity.
It’s been a sloppy half for Ole Miss which has 76 yards in penalties in addition to the turnovers.
Memphis has no turnovers — Good ball-protection has been a trademark of their offense this year — but hasn’t been able to establish anything against the Ole Miss defense.
The Rebels have dominated the line of scrimmage, but they’ve also helped the Tigers along. A personal foul penalty and a secondary bust let Memphis reach the Ole Miss 7 in the first quarter. From there the Tigers went backward 16 yards but did hit a 40-yard field goal.
Ole Miss’ points came early in the first when Wallace connected with Laquon Treadwell for a 64-yard touchdown. Treadwell got behind the Memphis secondary and made an athletic play to reach the end zone.
The run game has been better for Ole Miss with 89 yards on 21 carries. I’Tavius Mathers leads with 41 yards, and he, Jordan Wilkins and Jaylen Walton are all average at least 5.1 yards per carry.
The Rebels have been all over Memphis QB Paxton Lynch with two sacks, other pressures and a multitude of tackles behind the line.
Ole Miss has a 231-57 yardage edge at the break.
The damage has been self-inflicted, but it’s damage nonetheless, and it puts pressure on the defense to maintain a dominant level of play in the second half until the offense can clean up some things and gain some separation.
Memphis at No. 10 Ole Miss
Where: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (60,580)
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m.
Television: Fox Sports Net
Radio: Ole Miss Network, Sirius 126, XM 191.
Records: Ole Miss 3-0, Memphis 2-1
Series: Ole Miss leads 47-10-2
Coaches: Memphis – Justin Fuente 9-18, third season at Memphis and third overall. Ole Miss – Hugh Freeze, 48-18, sixth season overall; 18-11 second season at Ole Miss.
Statistical Leaders: Memphis – RB Doroland Dorceus 38-218, 4 TD. QB Paxton Lynch 68-for-103 passing, 766 yards, 5 TD, 2 INT. WR Keiwone Malone 15 catches, 201 yards, 0 TD. ILB Tank Jakes 25 tackles, 9 TFL, 4 sacks. Ole Miss – RB Jaylen Walton 19-121, 2 TD. QB Bo Wallace 71-for-94 passing, 1,023 yards, 9 TD, 4 INT. WR Vince Sanders 15-225 2 TD, WR Laquon Treadwell 15 catches, 184 yards, 1 TD. CB Mike Hilton 16 tackles, 1 INT, 4 PBU.
Trends: The Rebels have won five straight in the series.
Notes: Though not played annually the series is the Rebels’ most-played with any school not currently or formerly in the SEC. … Ole Miss leads the SEC in scoring defense at 10.3 points per game and is tied for the national lead in interceptions with eight. … Ole Miss was also ranked in the top 10 at No. 8 the last time these teams played, a 45-14 Ole Miss win at Memphis in 2009. … Only the 1935 team, with 145 points through, scored more than the current Rebels’ 135 points. … Ole Miss is trying to start 4-0 for the first time since 1970. … The last time Memphis was 2-1 after three games was 2004 when it opened with a 20-13 win over Memphis at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium…. Memphis game notes list the 1963 game as a high point for the Tigers in this series. Ole Miss was ranked No. 2, and Memphis managed a 0-0 tie. The Rebels went 7-1-2 and won the SEC that season.
Summing it up: “ It’s certainly going to be a game that we’re going to have to play very, very well to win. It will be a good challenge for us. We need that at this point in the season.” – Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze
Prediction: Ole Miss 33, Memphis 19