For the second straight year the Ole Miss Rebels are 2-0 heading into a matchup against Texas after downing Southeast Missouri State 31-13.
In football there are two types of ugly and the Ole Miss-Southeast Missouri State game had both. The first type of ugly is when one team is pummeling the other. Ole Miss did that by jumping out to a 31-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
Quarterback Bo Wallace passed for 188 yards and two touchdowns on 8-15. He also ran the ball twice for 15 yards. Aside from the 67 and 64-yard touchdowns by Donte Moncrief and Evan Engram respectively, Wallace was anything but sharp. Still he led the Rebels to an insurmountable lead while scoring on every drive.
The second type is when the game is unbearable to watch which is what happened after the 31-0 lead when the offensive starters were pulled. Barry Brunetti failed to look like an SEC quarterback or anything close. He was 3-12 for 48 yards and the misses were not even close, including a two-hopper to an open target. To his credit he looked amazing when running outside the pocket, picking up 111 yards and a score on the ground.
The running game worked well overall for Ole Miss who attained 281 yards on the ground on 49 carries. Brunetti led the team, followed by I’Tavius Mathers with 56, Jaylen Walton with 34 and Jeff Scott with 28. Freshmen Kailo Moore and Mark Dodson each got carries in the game, combining for 21 yards.
SEMO looked lifeless in the first half and were clearly overmatched from the onset. A team known for the run, the Redhawks only amassed 93 yards on 43 carries (2.3 ypc) and zero touchdowns. Ron Coleman led the team with 13 carries for 45 yards and quarterback Scott Lathrop managed to run for 26 yards on 14 carries. Lathrop was 16-24 for 159 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, a second quarter pick to Cody Prewitt.
Prewitt, who had two interceptions all of last year, has two of the three Rebel picks this fall. He was also second on the team with six tackles in the game. The leading tackler was Denzel Nkemdiche’s temporary replacement Serderius Bryant. The Florida-native had an astounding 15 tackles including a quarterback hurry and tackle for loss.
The lone sack for Ole Miss was by Channing Ward for six yards. After a disappointing freshman season, the High School All-American has set the tone this season with a monster hit on special teams in the opener and his disruptive play against SEMO. The Rebels were constantly in the backfield and had six tackles for loss, led by freshman Robert Nkemdiche with two.
Ole Miss (2-0) travels to Austin this week to take on the Texas Longhorns (1-1) whom they just replaced in the rankings. The Lognhorns fired their defensive coordinator Manny Diaz after allowing 550 rushing yards in a 40-21 loss to BYU. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. CT on the Longhorn Network.
Southeast Missouri State (0-2) will look to get their first win of the season against Southern Illinois at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. SIU (0-2) has dropped a pair of heartbreakers so far this year: losing by eight at Illinois and in overtime against Eastern Illinois. Gametime will be at 1:00 p.m. CT.