Ole Miss Notebook: Defense shuts down option

Ole Miss' Robert Nkemdiche brings down Southeast Missouri quarterback Scott Lathrop with one hand in the first quarter on Saturday. (Thomas Wells)

Ole Miss’ Robert Nkemdiche brings down Southeast Missouri quarterback Scott Lathrop with one hand in the first quarter on Saturday. (Thomas Wells)

By Parrish Alford
Daily Journal

OXFORD – Ole Miss defensive coordinator Dave Wommack would like to have seen better pass coverage from his unit but was pleased to see his players hold SE Missouri State to less than 100 yards rushing.

The Redhawks had rushed for more than 200 yards in eight of their last nine games including 206 in a 45-7 loss at Southeastern Louisiana.
Wommack said focus on stopping the option made the Rebels somewhat susceptible against the pass

“I think it’s difficult when you play against the option to play pass coverage at times. I would like to have played better pass coverage, but those teams do that to you,” he said.

Ole Miss started junior Senquez Golson, a starter in 2012 who missed most of camp and played very little in the season opener, and sophomore Mike Hilton, who just moved to cornerback from Huskie in practice during the week.

Freshman Bobby Hill and sophomore Anthony Standifer also played extensively in the second half.

The Redhawks passed for 131 yards and two touchdowns after getting just 88 yards and no touchdowns against SE Louisiana.

SEMO had 252 total yards and averaged 3.9 yards per play.

Big nights
Junior linebacker Serderius Bryant had 15 tackles, a tackle for loss and a pressure. Bryant was starting in place of Denzel Nkemdiche, the Rebels’ leading tackler and second-team All-SEC player in 2012. Nkemdiche had knee surgery after the

Vanderbilt game and could be back for the Rebels’ Oct. 5 trip to Auburn.

Nkemdiche’s brother, freshman Robert Nkemdiche, had five tackles and two tackles for loss.

Free safety Cody Prewitt had his second interception of the year and finished with six tackles and a forced fumble.

Chief Brown, the Rover who started in place of Trae Elston, recovered the fumble and had two tackles.

Key Number – 144
Each with touchdown grabs of more than 60 yards, tight end Evan Engram and wide receiver Donte Moncrief combined for 144 yards on four receptions, an average gain of 36 yards.

Key Drive
The Rebels moved 76 yards in 11 plays with less than 7 minutes left in the second quarter, scoring on a 10-yard run by I’Tavius Mathers. That gave Ole Miss a 31-0 lead.

Quotable
“We’re glad to get the win and be 2-0, but we’ve got a lot of things we need to correct. We don’t feel like we played our best game in the second half.” – <b>Ole Miss safety Cody Prewitt

Next Weekend
The Rebels visit Texas with a 7 p.m., start. The game can be seen locally on WCBI.

Rebel Ramblings
Ole Miss was second in the SEC in sacks last season, averaging 2.92 per game. The Rebels had one sack against SEMO and have just two for the year.

parrish.alford@journalinc.com