Ole Miss report card: Rebels get back on track
It was important for Ole Miss to rebound quickly after their loss to Florida last week, and the Rebels were able to with a 52-3 victory over New Mexico State on Saturday. The following are the grades the Rebels deserve based on their performance.
For a third time this season, Ole Miss went over 50 points in a single game, and quarterback Chad Kelly had his fourth 300-yard game of the year, which ties a school record. Kelly finished with 384 passing yards, averaging 11.6 yards per attempt and threw for three touchdowns. Star wide out Laquon Treadwell was spectacular, hauling in eight catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns, including an impressive one-handed grab that went for a score. Their red zone offense was also better as the Rebels scored touchdowns on four of their seven trips. They do still have to clean up the turnovers. Ole Miss had three more Saturday, and the Rebels have seven turnovers in their past two games.
The Ole Miss defense held New Mexico State to less than 3.5 yards per pass and to 2.6 yards per rush. The Rebels also didn’t allow a touchdown in the entire game or any points after the first quarter. However, Ole Miss must improve its third-down defense. New Mexico converted 7-of-18 times on third down Saturday. The Rebels are ranked 12th in the SEC in third-down defense after being ranked first in the conference last season.
Special Teams: C
Ole Miss receives an average mark in special teams just by virtue of the fact they didn’t really see much of the field. Kicker Gary Wunderlich made his only field goal attempt, which was a 21-yard chip shot, and punter Will Gleeson only had one attempt. In the return game, Ole Miss had three attempts with the longest being Zedrick Woods’ 16-yard kick return to start the game.
It’s a lot easier to coach when the offense spots you 50 points. Of course, Hugh Freeze calls the plays for the offense, so he should receive some credit for the Rebels dynamic plays from Saturday, but the offense also turned it over three times. Freeze said on the field after the game that he called some plays that the team didn’t go over in practice this week and that could have led to a few mistakes.
The score was obviously lopsided, but it was expected to be with New Mexico State on a 14-game losing streak coming into The Grove. Ole Miss did what it had to do to take care of business and get back on track. They will have to clean up the turnovers and third-down defense to remain in the SEC West race.
— SB Nation (@SBNation) October 11, 2015