Notes and observations from a 27-7 Ole Miss loss to Louisiana Tech …
I was asked on Twitter if I thought Ole Miss was mailing it in last night. The quick answer is yes. The final score was embarrassing, the Rebels' offense dominated at home and losing a buy-out game for the second time in two years.
But mailing it in, to me, means a complete absence of effort. I don't think the effort was all that good, but the results I've seen before, and there was effort from some players.
I've seen the Rebels' offensive line struggle all year. The fact that Ole Miss mounted no consistent threat against Tech was not surprising.
As bad as I've seen this year, though, that was the worst, and that's where the mail-it-in part comes, at least on offense.
Tech had 12 tackles for loss and three sacks. Every 6.6 plays Tech dealt Ole Miss a yardage setback, and that doesn't count the times Randall Mackey scrambled out of the pocket.
Mackey appeared distracted and was not very good himself, but he had absolutely no help from his line, and if you can't block, what can you really do on offense? Not much. La. Tech was disciplined enough that it certainly wasn't fooled with misdirection.
Zack Stoudt finally replaced Mackey a few minutes into the fourth quarter, but Mackey won the job in part because the Rebels couldn't protect Stoudt, and that hasn't changed. If anything it's gotten worse.
So Stoudt was also ineffective, completing just eight of 19 attempts and throwing a pick six on his first pass.
Mackey's ability to avoid pressure helped win him the job, and it's why he'll keep it for No. 1 LSU this week.
I don't think the mail it in part applies to the whole team, however. Tech had three touchdowns, two of them scored by its defense.
Like the Ole Miss offense, the Rebels defense did what it's done this year, giving up big plays. Tech was backed up to its 5 with 35 seconds left when it got a 48-yard run from Hunter Lee. The Bulldogs efficiently worked the clock in the final seconds to hit a 43-yard field goal on the final play of the half and take a 10-7 lead they would never relinquish.
Freshman C.J. Johnson had his best game of the season, getting a start at end and recording nine tackles, all solos, a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery.
Kentrell Lockett and Serderius Bryant each had eight tackles.
The combined energy of Bryant and D.T. Shackelford should give a good start at linebacker for whoever coaches next year.
Charles Sawyer broke up three passes, two of them on back-to-back plays in the first half to help keep Tech out of the end zone.
Freshman Senquez Golson had a nice game in his first start with two tackles, a pass break-up and his first interception.
The most visible problem in the loss goes back to the offensive line. This group has under-achieved all season, but it has had productive periods of play in recent weeks against Arkansas, Auburn and Kentucky.
Ole Miss went into the game giving up 8.6 tackles for loss per game. Indeed, tackles for loss and sacks kind of tell the story for the Rebels' season. Ole Miss has now given up 90 tackles for loss and recorded just 47. The Rebels aren't physical enough to win on either side of the ball.
So, did they mail it in against Tech? Not everyone, but that may come over the last two games. Attitude can be infectious.