Five take-aways from the Rebels’ 23-3 win over Texas A&M …
Tunsil was dominant: It looked like he hadn’t missed a beat. Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett finished with seven tackles, two tackles for loss and an interception of a ball that had been tipped at the line of scrimmage. However, the money stat for defensive ends is sacks. Garrett began the night as the SEC leader with 8 1-2 and had none. The Aggies had just one as a team. Garrett made some plays downfield and once drew a holding call on Tunsil, but Tunsil clearly won the match-up.
Pass Defense was stellar: Ole Miss cornerbacks had struggled against talented quarterbacks in Florida’s Will Grier and Memphis’ Paxton Lynch. Pass coverage was much better. Corners were closer to their assignments and finished with one interception and nine pass break-ups. It seemed that Trae Elston was particularly active and finished with five pass break-ups. Texas A&M Kyle Allen looked bad, but it’s also important to note he took a hit on a shoulder last week and was playing at less than full strength.
Dominant with no Robert Nkemdiche: Breeland Speaks was only credited with three tackles and a tackle for loss, but he was in the backfield most of the night. Nkemdiche should be back next week at Auburn, and his return should bring further confidence to a group that got a big jolt tonight.
Average Kelly: I say average because I have high standards for him. He had nice TD throws to Evan Engram and Laquon Treadwell, the latter on a key deep pass that gave the Rebels an insurmountable three-touchdown lead. Kelly was accurate rolling out and throwing the short stuff, but he made some questionable decisions that helped lead to three interceptions.
Strong in the run game: It’s OK to celebrate improvement here with Laremy Tunsil because he made a hugh difference, but it’s important to note that A&M has been allowing almost 200 yards a game this year. The Aggies began the night ranked No. 12 in the SEC and No. 97 nationally in run defense. Still, the Rebels have struggled so mightily to run that this is big news … and maybe a spark.