The Ole Miss football passing attack has been stellar the first half of the season. However, Jordan Wilkins is now finding his stride in the running game.
The first couple of Ole Miss football games were blowout wins but the running game left a lot be desired. However, there has since been a sort of resurgence in the running game led by Jordan Wilkins. Over the past three games Wilkins has began to establish himself as the true number one running back for the Ole Miss Rebels.
Wilkins missed the 2016 season due to a mix-up in his school credits. It appeared that he was a little rusty starting the season. His first three games were pedestrian and unimpressive. So much so, there were rumblings among the Ole Miss faithful that maybe it was time to give more touches to D’Vaughn Pennamon.
It was understandable after the first three games. Even in a blowout win against South Alabama, he only rushed for 29 yards on eight carries. In another cupcake victory against UT-Martin he carried the ball nine times for 36 yards and one touchdown. The University of California game was extremely disappointing with 11 carries for 38 yards.
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However, lately Wilkins seems to have his mojo working. Although the Rebels were crushed by the machine known as the Crimson Tide, the one bright spot was Wilkins. He pulled off a rare feat. He rushed for over 100 yards against Alabama. Wilkin’s12 carries for 101 yards was only two yards short of his cumulative total for the first three games.
He was noticeably dominate during last week’s homecoming game against Vanderbilt. For the first time this season, we saw the offense look like a well-oiled machine with the running game being effective. Wilkins looked like a SEC running back. He had 18 carries for 113 touchdown and that does not include a long TD called back by a holding call that would not have impacted the play.
In six games this season he has already exceeded his career season rushing yards total. These last three games his confidence in the offense is starting to come through. Whether it is better blocking by the offensive line or it is his understanding of his place in this offense, Wilkins has begun to find his groove.
However, you really see his complete value to the team when he combines his effective rushing with being a great receiving option out of the back field. So far this season, Wilkins has 19 receptions for 170 yards and one touchdown. His 28.3 yards per game is second in the SEC for running backs.
His ability to catch out of the back field gives defenses another weapon to worry about and another weapon for Shea Patterson to use. He has great hands and doesn’t mind running over defensive backs.
If Wilkins keeps this up for the remainder of the season, Ole Miss can keep themselves competitive in each game. HIs successful runs will automatically open up things for the passing game and visa versa. Therefore, when they are all in sync the Rebels are hard to beat.