Kneauxing the Enemy Ten
by Bryan Follins
For the third straight week, the Purple and Gold will be looking at a team with a prolific passing attack. This time, it will be Old Miss. The Rebels feature sophomore quarterback Matt Corral, who is fifth in the land in pass completion percentage at 72.9 for the year. Corral is tied for eighth in the nation with 24 touchdown passes, eighth in the country with 2744 passing yards, and third in the land with 343 passing yards per contest.
His favorite target is junior Elijah Moore, who is second in the country in receiving yards with 1193 for the season. Moore has caught eight touchdown passes this season. Moore is tops in the nation with 149 receiving yards per contest, and first in the country with 10.8 receptions per game. He is in the top 10 in a lot of national categories, but he is fifth on his team in yards per catch, with 13.8 yards per reception. Senior tight end Kenny Yeboah averages 19.4 yards per grab. Senior Braylon Sanders averages 27 yards per reception. Senior Dontario Drummond averages 15.9 yards per catch with five touchdown receptions.
Old Miss is fourth in the nation in passing offense, averaging 357 yards per game, tenth in the land in passing yards per completion with 14.9 per game, and third in the nation in total yards per game, averaging 563 yards per contest.
The Rebels feature two dangerous running backs in an up-tempo offense. Sophomore Jerrion Ealy has rushed for 701 yards this season. He has nine touchdowns for the campaign, and averages 5.2 yards per rush. Last season Ealy rushed for 141 yards against the Tigers. The other back is sophomore Snoop Connor, who has rushed for 355 yards, averaging 4.2 yards per run. Ealy and Connor are also good pass receivers.
Last year, sophomore quarterback John Rhys Plumlee ran for 212 yards against the Tigers, but he does not play much, probably because of Corral’s emergence as a passer. Corral has 311 yards rushing after eight games.
The Rebels offense operates behind a veteran group of offensive linemen, including sophomore left tackle Nick Broeker, junior center Ben Brown, and senior right tackle Royce Newman, who was a guard last year. They have allowed 15 sacks in eight games.
The Rebels are not good on defense. They give up 528 total yards per game. One reason is they were allergic to tackling for the first part of the season. They have improved their tackling, but not much. They give up 5.7 yards per rush and 8.6 yards per pass. If those figures are calculated literally, they reveal the Rebels cannot stop anybody.
Junior defensive back Keidron Smith leads the team in tackles with 52, 31 solos. Junior linebacker Jaquez Jones is second on the squad in stops with 51, 25 unassisted.
Old Miss comes to Tiger stadium with a three-game winning streak. The loser of this contest will have a losing season. On paper, this contest looks like a four-to-five-hour game. Viewers may want to pack a lunch…..or dinner….or breakfast. On the other hand, the game may turn into a titanic defensive struggle. Not.
**Note: Playing conditions may change due to COVID 19.