Ole Miss Football: What The Rebels Are Saying After The Win

OXFORD, MS - SEPTEMBER 8: A.J. Brown #1 of the Mississippi Rebels points to the sky after scoring a touchdown against the Southern Illinois Salukis during the first half at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Oxford, Mississippi. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
OXFORD, MS - SEPTEMBER 8: A.J. Brown #1 of the Mississippi Rebels points to the sky after scoring a touchdown against the Southern Illinois Salukis during the first half at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Oxford, Mississippi. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

The Rebels picked up their third win of the 2018 Ole Miss football season Saturday and here is what they are saying about the win.

Saturday the Ole Miss Rebels defeated the Kent State Golden Flashes 38-17. Week-four of the 2018 Ole Miss football season is in the books and the Rebels are now 3-1 and getting ready for their first SEC road game at LSU. The win may have not been exactly what Ole Miss fans were expecting but it is still a win in which the Rebels showed some much-needed improvements and that is what matters most.

The game was anything but perfect for the Rebels who had a difficult time getting the offense cranked up. The Rebels came out strong and scored on their first drive but were stymied for much of the first half and thanks to the defense settled for a 7-7 tie at the half. The second half the Rebels offense opened up and worked on the scoreboard and picked up the win. Jordan Ta’amu and the NWO had another big day and we saw production from the running game.

Looking Back

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Rewind to a year ago and the Rebels were 2-2 and the prospect of a decent season didn’t look very good. However, there was the Auburn game in which it seemed the Rebels turned the curve and began to play much better with the end result being a .500 season. Considering what the Ole Miss football program had already been thru and with what they were facing from the NCAA the season was a success.

While there are still issues which Matt Luke and his staff can work on this team is getting better despite the final result of the Kent State game. The first three or four games are tough on any team and all are working to fix the little things. The Rebels are no different and while we may be worried by what we saw from the offense the Rebels defense looked much better. They made some big plays and secured the momentum even when the offense was down.

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According To Rebels

Following the 38-17 win coach Matt Luke met with the media and discussed the win and what he saw on the field against the Golden Flashes. Of course, Luke gave an opening statement and was obviously happy to get the win. According to OleMissSports,

"“I was proud of the kids bouncing back, getting up off the mat, and going to get a win. The defense played really well in the first half. They had seven sacks. So I’m happy to see them have some success that we can build off of and proud of that.” ~Coach Matt Luke"

The Rebels defense looked better in the Kent State game than they have all season. Coach Wesley McGriff had the defense ready to play and they played very good. The Rebels defense allowed 390 yards for the Flashes but allowed just 242 yards thru the air and just 148 yards on the ground. While Rebels fans were pleased with the defensive effort there were some concerns with the Rebels slow offensive start which Luke mentioned

"“We just couldn’t get going; something was off a little bit. We were moving the ball, but just weren’t finishing in the red zone in the first half. I did think we finished well in the second half and looked more like It was supposed to look. Guys started to make some plays.” ~Coach Matt Luke"

Overall most fans were happy to get the win and it end looking far better than it began. Of course, a win makes everything better even though it should have been far worse than three TDs. However, Matt Luke seemed pleased with what he saw even though there may be room for improvements.

"“Again, overall, I am please we were able to go get a big win and a bounce back win getting off the mat. I am pleased that we are 3-1.” ~Coach Matt Luke"

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The story of the day was the Ole Miss defense which showed up big time in the first half of the game. Luke spoke about the success the Rebels had pressuring the Flashes quarterback which led to 7 Rebels sacks on the day when the Rebels only had 2 sacks thru the previous three games.

"“They were more of a spread team that threw it, so we had more opportunities to attack the quarterback. I am very happy to have some success, it looked like we had a few more that he scrambled out of. I think we could have had a couple more, but overall really pleased and hopefully we can build off of that.” ~Coach Matt Luke"

Coach Luke also adressed the ability of the Longo offense to find success in the second half when they were unable to get cranked up in the first half. The Rebels scored 31 points in the final two frames of the game with 3 of the 4 TDs the Rebels scored coming on the ground.

"“We just never could get our rhythm going. I don’t think it was an effort issue. We got clicking in the second half, and guys were making plays. I do think they were playing two high coverage making us earn everything underneath. I thought the decision making in the second half was a lot better.” ~Coach Matt Luke"

Markel Winters Talks

Senior Markell Winters indeed had a career day coming against Kent State with 3 sacks according to OleMissSports becoming only the third Rebel since 2010 to total 3 sacks in a single game. Winters and the Rebels defense practically lived in the Golden Flashes backfield and created chaos for the Kent State fast paced passing game. After the game Winters commented on his and the team’s effort.

"“I give all glory to God first and foremost. It was challenging after last week when we did not show up like we should have. The coaches this week really challenged us to focus on them. Also, to do better and perform.” ~Senior DE Markel Winters"

Of course, the defensive effort was huge and the Rebels played with a sense of purpose the entire game. Winters spoke about the effect their confidence in each other and being more focused helped them in Saturdays game.

"The confidence we found was in each other. Just to see everyone knew their job and that they could do it. Play for each other. That was a big thing. Playing with a purpose is important. Our theme this week was that you have your what and your why. You have your job and you know what you are supposed to do, but there is a reason why you are doing that job.” ~Senior DE Markell Winters"

Naturally we watch to see how the Rebels defense progresses thru the week heading into the LSU game this coming Saturday in Baton Rouge. We have to imagine this game was a huge boost for them on a confidence level. They now know they can be a tough defense if they execute and play consistently.

Scottie Phillips Talks

The 2018 Ole Miss football season has seen the emergence of JUCO Transfer Scottie Phillips at running-back. Highly touted coming into the Ole Miss backfield Phillips has lived up to the hype and is now in 2nd among the SEC rushing leaders with 467 yards and 5 TDs on just 53 carries. According to OleMissSports Phillips talked about his style of play which has led to his being one of the top rushers in the SEC this season.

"“I would say I am just a downhill back. I try to make one cut back and make guys miss, then get to the open field” ~Junior RB Scottie Phillips"

So far this season Scottie Phillips has seen some great games but he has also been blessed with a very experienced and huge offensive line. Against the Golden Flashes Phillips rushed 19 times for 112 yards and 1 TD. Phillips talked about the offensive linemen.

"“I am just trusting my guys and being patient. I just have to allow them to get in front of defenders and open holes for me.” Junior RB Scottie Phillips"

Scottie Phillips has now seen four games as a Rebels running-back and has done a great job. This coming weekend Phillips will be rushing against one of the top defenses in the SEC in Baton Rouge and shared his thoughts about playing in Death Valley.

"“I most definitely have thought or dreamed of playing down there before. I know it is going to be a hostile environment. I am ready. I am going to embrace the challenge.” ~Junior RB Scottie Phillips"

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Stay Updated

With a trip to Red Stick ahead of us please be sure to be checking back this week as OHT will have a lot to discuss about the upcoming game against the LSU Tigers. Be sure to visit and like our Facebook page and following us on Twitter for the latest Rebels news and updates. This will be a very exciting week heading into Saturday SEC road game and I’m sure we’ll be busy. Hotty Toddy!