OHT really wants to be nice. However, it’s really hard to be nice when you give up 44 points in a game. Of course, the defense played better in the Auburn game than the week before. It’s always nice to see improvement even if it ends in a loss. The positives on this side of the ball have been hard to see since halftime of the Cal game. That is until the second half of the Auburn game. Ole Miss held the Auburn Tigers to only 9 points within the final 2 quarters of the game.
When OHT grades out we take the same view with defense as offense. We start with the good news first and then the bad. On the defensive side of the ball there were glimpses of greatness at times in the second half. However, we have to grade the entire game to be fair. When it came to pass defense the Rebels certainly improved from the Bama game. The Rebels did hold Jarrett Stidham, who was 14-21 and 2 TDs to 235 yards passing. Of course, one of those was a 75 yard TD strike.
On the afternoon, the defense did pour on the pressure. The Auburn Tigers had given up more sacks than any other SEC team coming into the game. Despite only sacking Stidham once, the D front did have pressure. Big plays were the problem in the game for the Rebel defense. Poor tackling and players out of position on plays continue to plague Ole Miss. However, despite a poor performance in the first half they did show up strong in the second. Therefore they deserve an improving grade.
Pass Defense Grade, C
Ok, now for the bad news. Ole Miss defense cannot stop the run. Of course, we’ve all watched the same football games so you already know this. We gave up 365 yards in the Bama game so we have to improve right? Well they did sort of. These grades are all about numbers and the number 326 is what they allowed in the Auburn game. But hey it is an improvement.
Of course, the rushing game is our Achilles heel. Until we can correct the fundamental problems we have on defense we will continue to see the blood pour. In the first half of the Auburn game we gave up 35 points scoring and most of it came on the ground. Big plays were once again the problem on the ground. And once again, poor tackling and being out of position on plays netted into big yards for the Auburn Tigers.
Rush Defense Grade, D-
However, we saw something in the second half which stood out and that was playing harder on defense. Whatever adjustments coach McGriff made at the half certainly seemed to work to their advantage in the second half. Despite allowing 561 yards in the game they did improve in their efforts against the 2nd best team in the SEC West. Also because of their intense improvement in the second half, they really do deserve a better grade this week.
Overall Defense Grade, D