Taking full advantage of a rare 11 a.m. start by hunkering down in front of the TV tonight, I bring you notes and thoughts from the Rebels’ 48-0 win over Presbyterian …
The first thing that comes to mind is Senquez Golson did not have an interception.
It’s easier to not when Golson doesn’t have a pick than when he does because he seems to have one – or more – most games this season.
His pick-less performance against Presbyterian ended a string of five games with at least one interception.
So Golson remains at nine picks for the year.
The game quickly deteriorated as most games do – or you hope they do – against FCS competition.
The Rebels could have made the margin a little wider, but they also weren’t perfect in this game.
They went three-and-out and missed a 42-yard field goal after starting a drive at the PC 30 following C.J. Moore’s blocked punt.
There was the occasional big play by the Blue Hose, not many. One of them was when freshman cornerback Kendarius Webster didn’t turn to look for the ball, and a team that doesn’t pass very much connected on a 32-yard play against Ole Miss.
Webster was starting because Trae Elston was out, and Mike Hilton was back at safety.
This is a really good secondary when everybody is healthy, and all starters should be as close to healthy as they’ve been in a while when the Rebels play at Arkansas on Nov. 22.
Special teams play in general was sloppy against Presbyterian. Missing kicker Gary Wunderlich, Andy Pappanastos missed a 42-yard field goal wide right. He later missed an extra point, but he had hit his first six, and he was playing in his first college game.
Andrew Fletcher got in the game for a third-quarter field goal attempt, but it was blocked.
On punt returns, Markell Pack fielded one on the bounce inside the 5. It might have gone out of bounds, but it also might have rolled into the end zone. When you’re inside the 5 take your chances with the latter.
Pack later fumbled a return, but it was scooped by Webster and returned for positive yardage.
It’s been a long time since the punt return game was a weapon.
In other news …
The Rebels didn’t really dominate in the red zone, scoring on just one of three opportunities. That’s nit-picking. They didn’t have many opportunities because the Blue Hose couldn’t tackle them once they got past the first level of the defense.
One of those missed opportunities came with Fletcher’s blocked field goal, and that was when a mix of reserves were playing. Things get a bit discombobulated when guys who aren’t used to getting a lot of reps start getting them.
When a team wins by seven touchdowns there’s a lot to like.
The most impressive aspect today was the power run game. There were four runs of at least 50 yards, two each by Jordan Wilkins and Mark Dodson. Three of those went for touchdowns, two by Dodson.
You would like to have seen Bo Wallace play a turnover-free game, but he hung a deep ball, and the wrong team caught up to it.
Wallace was otherwise strong, 11-for-15 passing for 140 yards and two scores. He also scrambled for a 9-yard touchdown.
Life after Laquon Treadwell got off to a great start for Ole Miss receivers. Vince Sanders was targeted early and had touchdown catches of 66 and 23 yards. He broke tackles on both of those touchdown plays.
Quincy Adeboyejo’s numbers were not as splashy – five catches for 21 yards – but I liked his game. He had a nice grab on a slant from Wallace. The ball was thrown hard and high, and Adeboyejo snatched it and reeled it in. The play went for 9 yards.
Adeboyejo also had a couple of short catches with hopes that he’d break tackles and turn them into big gains. He didn’t Saturday, but I think he will.
The eye-catcher among the receivers was Derrick Jones. Stop me if you’ve heard Derrick Jones’ athleticism described before.
He played receiver in high school and has played mostly safety and cornerback at Ole Miss.
Hugh Freeze toyed with Jones at wide receiver earlier this year when the staff began to grow weary of the Jones at cornerback experiment.
Injuries required Jones to move back to corner, and that’s where he was playing last week. Then Treadwell’s injury required Jones to move again.
He had a touchdown catch of a 31-yard pass from DeVante Kincade. The ball was well-thrown, and Jones was covered, but he caught it over the top of the defender, showing the athleticism that makes the staff work so hard to find a place for him on the field.
The run game and the receivers looked good. The backup quarterbacks, Kincade and Ryan Buchanan, both produced, combining to go 13-for-15 passing.
Defensively there were no real stars to jump out. Players just got off blocks and made tackles, 12 of them behind the line.
The Rebels forced two turnovers. Some FCS teams have coughed it up a lot more.
Reserve defensive end Carlos Thompson led the team with seven tackles.
All of the good that comes from the FCS game has to be taken with a grain of salt because the team’s players are not FBS athletes.
What this dynamic run game will look like in two weeks remains to be seen. It hasn’t been dynamic in most SEC games.
I doubt Mark Dodson averages 42.7 yards per carry in Fayetteville, but if the Rebels can get half of the 400-plus they got today they’ll win the game.
The game day snaps for young players were great, but the biggest thing the Rebels got out of this game was rest for the weary.
There were no apparent new injuries, and there’s an open date this week.
Arkansas’ power run game is not a matchup that favors an Ole Miss defense that was basically throttled by the rush attacks from LSU and Auburn.
However, Ole Miss is getting healthy, and Dave Wommack will have two weeks to implement a plan.
That’s good news for the Rebels.
What Ole Miss needs to do in its last two games, however, is run a little more, give up the run a little less, and do what it does best.
Let Wallace pass, get his receivers involved and hope he protects the football as he’s done in most SEC games.