Unlike the defense, the offense was not as pitiful in last year’s defeat, scoring 31 points. That didn’t stop the team from being driven by resentment to run up the score on the Horns. Ole Miss got eight more first downs than Texas, 28-20, converted much better on third down, 5-10 to 4-15, and outgained Texas 449-320.
Quarterback(s): Bo Wallace was more or less a game manager, only throwing the ball 25 times and rarely downfield. He finished 17-25 for 177 yards for two touchdowns with 12 rushes for 64 yards and a score. Wallace has yet to throw an interception this season and his lack of turnovers is one of the major reasons the Rebels are still undefeated.
Barry Brunetti, who figured to be more of an asset, was 0-1 passing and ran the ball just once for two yards. In the first two games he ran the ball 20 times for 140 yards and three touchdowns. It figured that he would have had an even bigger role against a team that struggles against the run. Hugh Freeze knows better than we do though and that’s again why, Ole Miss is 3-0.
Oh, and don’t forget the Bo Wallace spin move into the endzone.
Running backs: Jeff Scott is an Animal. I know what you’re thinking: “Animal isn’t a proper noun you idiot, lowercase that now before I open up catgifs.com.” Hold on a second. I mean that in the Muppet sense of the word. Scott, like the puppet drummer, is of modest-proportions, is slippery to catch, and when he gets going no one can seem to stop him. See what I did there? Anyway, he rushed for 164 yards on just 19 carries and scored a touchdown. He also added six receiving yards and took a 73-yard punt return to the house.
Jaylen Walton and I’Tavius Mathers contributed 54 yards of their own with a touchdown from Walton, but Saturday night was the Jeff Scott Show.
Wide receivers/tight ends:
First and foremost, how good is this receiving core at blocking downfield? That is a staple of the spread offense but guys like Donte Moncrief take it to a new level. I’m a sucker for quick stats but an even heavier one when it comes to non-stat sheet things like that.
Moncrief continues to be doubled with a safety over the top and had only four catches for 43 yards. He did manage to slip through in the first quarter for an 18-yard touchdown though. With Moncrief’s doubles comes opportunities for other guys, particularly freshmen Laquon Treadwell and Evan Engram. Treadwell is still searching for his first trip to pay dirt, but led the team with five receptions and leads the team on the season with 16. Engram had his second touchdown of the season when he broke the game open to an 8-point lead late in the third. Jordan Holder improved yet again with 39 yards receiving.
Offensive line: Laremy Tunsil got the nod at left tackle over senior Emmanuel McCray and the move paid huge dividends. Wallace was not sacked once in the game and the Longhorns got just two tackles for loss for a combined three yards. Senior Jared Duke started his first game since freshman year at right guard. The line is fluid and is deeper than they are given credit for. Oh and shocking news: Tunsil is good. He’s really, really good.
Special teams: Everything is bigger in Texas. I guess that includes Tyler Campbell’s leg. The redshirt senior booted three punts with an average of 55.0, a long of 75 and only five return yards against. Andrew Ritter had a good game as well with four of his seven kickoffs being touchbacks and nailing a 52-yard field goal as the first half concluded. The only knock on Ritter was the missed extra point which was just a mess by all 11 men on the field. Did I mention Scott had a touchdown return?
If it weren’t for that pesky extra point, this would be a perfect A+.
Ole Miss will obviously need to take more shots down the field against an Alabama team that is facing a plethora of secondary issues. The running game is keyed in and the offensive line is really clicking moving forward. Alabama does not turn the ball over so you would ideally like to see more turnovers forced in the first part of the season. All-in-all the Rebels need to enjoy their first 3-0 start since Alf was on television and have two weeks to prepare for the two-time defending champions.