So how much exactly did Ole Miss miss Laremy Tunsil in the first seven weeks of the season? After seeing the 24th-ranked Rebels dominate No. 15 Texas A&M 23-3 on Saturday, let’s just say it was a lot.
Ole Miss ran for 230 yards in Tunsil’s return and gave up just one sack (and the sack wasn’t on Tunsil).
To put those numbers in perspective, the Rebels ran for just 40 yards on 24 carries against Memphis last week. Ole Miss also gave up eight sacks in its games against Alabama, Florida and Memphis.
Throw in the fact that the Aggies came into the game averaging 3.33 sacks per game, and the performance of the offensive line was impressive.
“Having [Tunsil] back and us being able to move everybody back to their original spot that we had planned on starting the year, obviously, made some impact for us,” coach Hugh Freeze told reporters in his postgame press conference. “We rushed the ball extremely well against a defense that with the exception of one game really hasn’t given up much. I think part of that has to do with Laremy being back.”
Freeze said having everyone at their most comfortable position makes it easier to call plays without relying on quarterback Chad Kelly to set the protection across the offensive line.
With Tunsil in the game, Freeze said you have the luxury of leaving him in one-on-one situations and not worrying about it.
“(Texas A&M’s pass rushers) are the most talented we’ve seen at defensive end,” Freeze said. “Laremy just gives you the chance every snap to win that. And Fahn (Cooper) is much better at right (tackle). It’s a different animal.”
Ole Miss’ 230 rushing yards were the most for the Rebels since rushing for 205 last year against Mississippi State.
“I never would’ve imagined that we would go run for that many yards and having [one] sack,” offensive coordinator Dan Werner said to Parrish Alford of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. “It’s just amazing. [Having Tunsil back] solidifies that whole (left) side and strengthens the other side.”