No team or fan base likes to take a loss at any level. While the Ole Miss Rebels took that loss on Saturday to a now #22 ranked Missouri team, many upsides were seen as they continued to battle on the road. On the other side, it is obvious there are still many growing pains being experienced by this young group. That being said, let us take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly in the loss to #22 Missouri on the road Saturday.
Good: Ole Miss has found their quarterback, and it is not the expected man from the start of the season. While we had to hold out hot takes and over exaggerations after the near-comeback against California, John Rhys Plumlee has not just taken the job from Matt Corral, but proved that this offense was made for him. Ole Miss’s zone-read offense just works so well when Plumlee is taking the snaps. While he may not be *quite* the passer Corral is, he made two beautiful deep throws for scores against the Tigers. All while rushing for 143 yards and six yards per carry. Rebel fans, rejoice, we have got ourselves a stud.
Bad: Luke Logan has been great in games against Alabama and Vanderbilt going 8 for 8 on extra points and 2 for 2 on field goal attempts. However, any time a kicker misses an extra point, they are gonna end up on the wrong side of this list. While it didn’t end up playing into the loss, if Ole Miss scored, it forces a successful two-point conversion rather than just an extra point. So, Logan has been much improved, but there are obviously still improvements to be made.
Bad: While Plumlee ran the ball very well, the running backs did not accomplish the same. Even with Missouri losing their best linebacker for the year in Cale Garrett last week, the running back group combined to rush for 43 yards on 19 carries, only good for 2.3 yards a carry. Overall, it seemed as if the offensive line and running backs were getting beat at the point of attack all game. While efforts like the 400-yard game against Vandy do not happen every week, this was not a good performance by a loaded group of halfbacks.
Ugly: The defense allowed 562 total yards of offense to Kelly Bryant and the Tigers. Simply put, wins in the SEC do not happen if teams can move the ball whenever and however they want on you for four quarters. While defensive coordinator Mike Macintyre’s group has mostly looked improved this season, a rebound performance at home against a suddenly reeling Texas A&M team is much needed.
Ugly: In an eleven-point game, usually one call does not have the ability to change the outcome. I would argue that one decision may have in this case, though. Corral had led the Rebels down the field and into goal-to-go territory with 1:08 seconds left in the half. After three straight runs, Matt Luke faced a decision on a fourth down from the one-yard line with eight seconds left in the half down 12-7. Instead of putting his mobile quarterback in the game for more options, he kept Corral in the game to hand it off to Snoop Conner for the fourth consecutive play, who was stuffed for no gain and a turnover on downs. While I understand if one quarterback leads you down the field you stick with him, if that quarterback is not a threat on the field to score on what Mizzou obviously knew was a run, why even have him on the field in a must-score situation?
Up next: The Rebels try to defend home-field against the formerly ranked Texas A&M Aggies, who lost last week 47-28 to the Alabama Crimson Tide at home. Saturday’s game is slated for a 6:30 P.M. CDT kickoff time and will be broadcast on the SEC Network.