Wow. That was an incredible win and an incredible statement for Ole Miss, going into Tuscaloosa and shocking No. 2 Alabama. The Rebels jumped out to an early lead and then managed to hold on and earn the back-to-back victory over the Crimson Tide, the first time that has been achieved in the program’s history.
Here are the takeaways for Ole Miss following Saturday’s thriller:
The SEC has been put on notice:
It’s one thing to defeat a higher-ranked program, but it’s another to do it against Nick Saban and Alabama on the road. Ole Miss came out, played aggressively and took advantage of the opportunities that were presented to them. The Rebels intercepted the Crimson Tide’s quarterbacks three times on Saturday and converted two of those turnovers into touchdowns, while the third interception sealed the victory. It hasn’t been a pretty three weeks for the SEC, but Ole Miss has looked sharp and hungry during that span. At this point, the SEC is Ole Miss’ to lose.
Quarterback Chad Kelly is a rising star:
Once a Clemson cast-off, Chad Kelly has quickly become one of the most fun players to watch in the SEC. He accounted for four total touchdowns in Ole Miss’ victory and threw for 341 yards on 18-of-33 passing. Kelly expertly baited an Alabama defensive back into leaving receiver Laquon Treadwell and coming up to stop him from scrambling, only to toss it over the defender’s head to a wide-open Treadwell for a 24-yard touchdown pass and a 19-point lead. Plus, he did this:
The defense is still dominant:
Although the Rebels’ defense looked gassed at times while the Crimson Tide attempted a comeback in the fourth quarter, much of the victory can be attributed to the pressure that Ole Miss applied on Alabama’s offense throughout the night. Robert Nkemdiche wreaked havoc for a good portion of the night and the defense swarmed to the ball constantly. Derrick Henry managed to gain 127 yards rushing, but on only one drive did he look like he could take over the game. Alabama built a dynasty through physical, aggressive defenses and Ole Miss had the superior defense in Tuscaloosa on Saturday.