Kneauxing the Enemy 2018
Overall Record 3-1, 0-1 in SEC
At Old Miss the defense rests, literally. After four games this season the Rebels have given up 147 points, an average of 37 points per game. They have given up an average of 190 yards on the ground per contest this season. They have allowed an average of 314.5 yards through the air per game. Upon further examination, they have given up 4.5 yards per rush attempt and 7.19 yards per pass attempt. The defense rests at Old Miss, or it goes on the field to allow the offense to rest. On the SEC stat chart, the Rebels are second in the league with 326 total tackles. This means they have a lot of good tacklers, or, the opponent is running so wild, everybody on the team has no choice but to tackle. It seems like it is the latter. The Rebels have allowed 5.9 yards per play to the opponent’s offense this year.
The leading tackler is senior safety Zedrick Woods with 20 solos, seven assists. Junior linebacker Mohamed Sanogo also has 27 tackles, 19 solos, eight assists. Junior defensive tackle Josiah Courtney has nine solo tackles and 10 assists for the year.
The low point of the season for the Rebels was their 62-7 defeat to Alabama. In the contest the Tide scored 49 points in the first half.
Offense is another story. Senior Jordan Ta'amu is the Old Miss quarterback. Tiger fans may remember Ta'amu from the LSU-Old Miss contest last year. He was the quarterback who took the place of an injured Shea Patterson. Ta'amu has started nine straight games, into the 2018 season, since that meeting. In the nine games, Ta'amu, has averaged 329 passing yards per contest. During the stretch he averaged two passing touchdowns, just under one interception, and was sacked 2.4 times per contest. Currently Ta'amu is fifth in the nation in total passing yards, with 1359 for the season. He is eighth in the land in passing yards per game with a 339.8 yards per contest mark. He is fifth in the nation averaging 16.99 yards per pass completion.
The Nasty Wideouts
Ta'amu's two favorite receivers are junior A.J. Brown and sophomore D.K. Metcalf, the second and third leading receivers, respectively, in the Southeastern Conference. Both receivers are built more like linebackers than wideouts. The 6’1, 230 pound Brown has 26 receptions for 381 yards this year. He averages 14.65 yards per reception and has caught three touchdowns. The 6’4, 230 Metcalf has 18 receptions on the year, averaging 20.4 yards per grab with four touchdowns. Senior DeMarkus Lodge has 13 catches for 184 yards this year. He averages 14.2 yards per grab. The receivers are part of the nasty wideout tradition at Old Miss. Braylon Sanders is also another dangerous receiver.
The Rebels have nine receivers who average at least 10 yards per reception.
The leading rusher for Old Miss is junior Scottie Phillips. He has rushed for 467 yards this year, averaging 7.5 yards per carry. He has scored five touchdowns.
The veterans are on the left side of the Rebel offensive line. Senior left guard Javon Patterson and junior left tackle Greg Little provide solid blocking, yet the Rebel offensive line has been prone to giving up sacks.
The Rebels, as usual, love to throw the football. They use the pass to open up their running game. Their weakness is obviously their defense. The Purple and Gold offense should be able to move the ball, but the defense will have to stop the pass. Old Miss averages 42 points per game. The Rebels have potentially lethal characters lurking in their passing game, and it might be in the Tigers' best interest, to keep the contest from becoming a video game.