– About the only positive note the Rebels were able to climb down from Rocky Top with was that they were able to establish a strong running game.
– Transfer quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, coming off a concussion against Louisiana-Lafayette the week before, had his worst game at Ole Miss, completing just 39 percent of his attempts and throwing three interceptions, two returned for touchdowns. The Rebels were minus-5 in turnover ratio, couldn’t stop the Vols on third downs and consistently gave up big plays on defense.
Keys to victory review
– Evaluating the keys to victory in Saturday’s GameDay section:
1.Pressure the quarterback: There was sporadic success here. Ole Miss got some pressure early in the first half, but it wasn’t consistent enough or sustained enough to take true freshman Tyler Bray out of his game.
Bray passed for 265 yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone. The Rebels finished with three sacks, but Bray was never in a situation where he feared the next hit.
Allowing three sacks is about what Tennessee does on average. The Vols had given up 31 through nine games.
2.Force turnovers: Not a single one did the Rebels gain. They gave up five. Need we say more?
3.Run the football: The Rebels did in fact run the ball with good success between the tackles, but they fell behind so quickly and by such a large margin, that they weren’t able to stay with the run game as much in the second half.
Ole Miss has 196 rushing yards as a team.
– Tailback Brandon Bolden: The junior rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries.
– In a match-up of last-place teams there was still bowl-eligibility to play for, and it appears that meant more to Tennessee.
Masoli has been good enough this year to chalk up Saturday as just a bad day, especially given the concussion from a week before.
The defense, though, was predictably poor and did nothing to inspire hope that things will change in the last two games against foes less vulnerable than the one they faced in Knoxville.
Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal