AUBURN, Ala. – The absence of end C.J. Johnson was not the primary factor in the Rebels’ inability to stop the run, said Ole Miss defensive coordinator Dave Wommack, who pointed to missed tackles.
Johnson, the Rebels’ sack leader a year ago, has not played at full strength this season. He spent the summer recovering from a broken leg sustained in spring drills and sat out practice last week with a sprained ankle.
“It looked to me like most of it was just tackling. I don’t think right now we’re doing a very good job of tackling. There was a lot of, if you will, hidden yardage, because we’re not tackling very well,” Wommack said.
With Johnson out, freshman Robert Nkemdiche moved back out to end to start but played the bulk of the game inside at tackle.
Wommack said he schemed around the absence of Johnson with a new package of three down linemen and three linebackers which put Serderius Bryant and Denzel Nkemdiche on the field at the same time, something that rarely happens with the two outside linebackers.
Ready for home
Freeze says the Rebels have lost the momentum of their 3-0 start and are eager to return to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
“We look forward to going home. It doesn’t get much easier, but at least we’ll have our people behind us like we’ve (not) experienced on the road,” he said.
Quarterback Barry Brunetti was a bigger part of the Rebels’ plan than he had been as he nursed an ailing shoulder the last two games. He rushed for 28 yards on six carries.
“I feel like this schedule has made us tougher. Now it’s time to go home and see if we can win six straight,” he said.
46 – The Rebels lost 46 yards rushing on 14 tackles for loss by Auburn.
It was only 25 yards after a shanked punt by Ole Miss’ Tyler Campbell, but Auburn got a 23-yard field goal from Cody Parkey with 3:02 left to provide and eight-point margin.
“We missed a lot of tackles that we normally would have made. It was really aggravating knowing that we didn’t execute. It was a physical mistake that caused us to have less execution than I though we should have.” – <b>Ole Miss safety Cody Prewitt
The Rebels begin a string of six home games with a 7:30 kickoff against Texas A&M.
The Rebels were 3-for-5 on fourth-down conversions but just 5-for-19 on third downs. … Robert Nkemdiche had four tackles after getting none last week. … Three different Auburn players had two sacks each. … Donte Moncrief had six catches for 122 yards.