– Thumbs up: Dexter McCluster had over 200 yards of offense for the second straight week, most of it on the ground where he rushed for 186 yards on 22 carries, one a 79-yard touchdown. Linebacker Patrick Trahan played inspired against his old team. He was consistently around the ball and finished with six tackles, a half tackle for loss and a forced fumble.
– Thumbs down: Quarterback Jevan Snead was pressured and didn’t handle it well. Snead was sacked three times, completed less than 50 percent of his pass attempts and threw just one touchdown pass compared to two interceptions. The defense bit on the fakes too often.
Keys to victory
– Reviewing the 3 keys to the game listed in Saturday’s GameDay edition:
Pass protect:Not good. Protection was a niche this offensive line was beginning to carve for itself, but Auburn got to Snead, and drives stalled. The Rebels were unable to hit plays downfield, and no wide receiver beyond Shay Hodge got impacted the game.
Punch it in:Ole Miss punched it in from inside the 10 when Snead passed 7 yards to fullback Andy Hartmann on the opening drive of the game. The problem was the Rebels didn’t get in the red zone enough to make “punch it in” a factor.
Topple Tate:The Rebels did a fair job of defending against Auburn tailback Ben Tate. He was averaging 112 yards a game and would have been held under 100 yards had he not broken free on one 53-yard touchdown run.
– Utility player Dexter McCluster was the Rebels’ only real threat Saturday, rushing for 186 yards and catching four passes for another 17 yards.
– The Rebels are at home Saturday night at 6:30 (CSS) against Football Championship Sub-division team Northern Arizona.
– The Rebels have to get more than McCluster from their offense, and that starts with more consistent play up front and ball-protection. Ole Miss is minus-5 in turnover margin in its last two games. Something has to change to get two more wins to become bowl eligible.
NEMS Daily Journal