Ole Miss defense wants to make sure it closes games strong

In the grand scheme of things Texas A&M’s last-play touchdown was rather meaningless last week and did nothing to change the fact that the Ole Miss defense had out-performed the Aggies’ offense for most of four quarters.

Narrowing that focus to one particular group that last touchdown meant a lot.

“That was aggravating for us. We want to be the No. 1 defense in the nation. We let them get 20 points. They earned it. They have a really good team, but for them to score 20 points was aggravating for all of us. That’s something we take upon ourselves. We have a couple of more games to prove to ourselves we are the defense that people think we are,” Ole Miss safety Cody Prewitt said.

Through six games Ole Miss leads the SEC and is second nationally in scoring defense at 11.8 points a game. That would be 10.8 points per game had someone batted away A&M’s final pass.

The Rebels are third in the SEC and No. 13 in total defense at 307.2 yards per game.

“We gave up way too many points. It was a great thing that we won, but I think after the game as a defense we kind of talked and said, ‘This is just not acceptable if you want to win the big games,’” cornerback Senquez Golson said.

Golson said the older players on the unit, guys like himself, C.J. Johnson and Prewitt, reminded teammates when it was 35-7 that there was still a fourth quarter to play.

Defensive play-calling changed a bit with that big lead. There were softer coverages and less blitzing at the end, defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said.

One thing A&M’s last touchdown did was set the tone of conversation around the Ole Miss defense this week.

Golson thinks the Rebels can be better at tackling and general execution.

The biggest talking point this week, though, has been about staying strong until the end.

“Finishing. We did not finish against Texas A&M. That’s what we’ll put a big emphasis on the rest of the season, finishing,” he said.

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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