The Rebels were not very good offensively early in the game, but Hugh Freeze said that had a lot to do with being conservative and just trying to pick his attack spots and play behind a defense that continues to be lights out.
On a 38-yard drive for a field goal Tennessee coach Butch Jones got the ball out of his quarterback’s hands quickly. Justin Worley completed a few passes, and the Vols got into the red zone.
It wasn’t a pace they could maintain.
This Ole Miss defense has been good all year, but it’s better now than it was a month ago. The difference is in the run defense. Tonight Tennessee had zero yards on 28 attempts.
Worley was 19-for-34 passing for 191 yards. He threw three picks, and not all of them were because he was under a heavy rush — which he was most of the night.
The big thing about this Ole Miss offense, as you heard Freeze say, is it is protecting the football. Bo Wallace was turnover-free for the third-straight game. He hasn’t had a turnover in SEC play. The Ole Miss offense has had only one turnover in the last three games. That was I’Tavius Mathers’ fumble against Alabama that resulted in a Tide touchdown, a play that should have been negated with a facemask call.
Tennessee began the night second in the SEC in passing defense. There’s talent in the Vols’ secondary.
In spite of a less than 50 percent completion night for Wallace, there were some nice catches and throws against a good bunch of defensive backs.
Vince Sanders had four catches for 108 yards and a score. Evan Engram’s diving touchdown catch was highlight video stuff. Laquon Treadwell had four catches for 43 yards.
The Rebels finished with 180 rushing yards led by Jaylen Walton’s 60 on 10 attempts.
But it was a night for defense.
Here’s C.J. Johnson: