Thank goodness for Jeff Scott, if you’re the Ole Miss Rebels. Scott catapulted Ole Miss into the new year with the team’s first victory, after scoring on a 75-yard run with one minute and change remaining in his team’s wild finish over Vanderbilt, 39-35. The run was well taken by America, and so was the glimpses of Ole Miss’ top 10 recruiting class, which will be on display once again facing Southeast Missouri State at Vaught-Hemingway this Saturday.
Freshman receiver Laquon Treadwell showcased this class’s good standing very early last week. Treadwell’s nine receptions for 82 yards set a Rebel freshman single-game reception record. Treadwell got treated to the SEC Freshman of the Week honor after just one game on the college gridiron. The nation’s top recruit in 2013 defensive end Robert Nkemdiche ran a “trickeration” in punt protection, rumbling through defenders. Watching Vanderbilt try to tackle the ex-high school running back was downright disturbing.
Vanderbilt strung out two 11-point leads on Ole Miss during the 60 minutes. Needless to say, Ole Miss won’t have to pull a Week 1, putting up 29 points on the Redhawks like they did against Vanderbilt after intermission. Ole Miss had to search for replacements on both ends this week. Nkemdiche’s elder brother Denzel and last season’s team leading tackler and offensive guard Aaron Morris won’t be active Saturday facing the Redhawks after both suffered injuries last Thursday night.
Still, Ole Miss, with the elder Nkemdiche, looked a step behind during stretches defensively, trying to limit the Commodores power running game and Vandy receiver Jordan Matthews. It’s blatantly obvious where the Redhawks want to go primarily after taking peeks at the Vanderbilt film, in the direction of wide receiver Spencer Davis. If Davis and running back Lennies McFerren don’t come out full steam ahead, and revive this offense after a 35-7 beatdown from Southeastern Louisiana last weekend, the whole offensive outfit would be lucky to rumble over double figures in yardage on a solid SEC defense.
Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace netted the most yards given up by Vanderbilt in their last nine games, 489 yards. As a result, the Rebels scored on three straight drives during the second half. Ole Miss must endure reality; they hav only one game in the first five games at home. The Rebels have to go to Texas, then travel to Alabama and Auburn in back-to-back weeks. Since this is a slam-dunk game, does Ole Miss look ahead just a bit and start building for what lies ahead? Probably not.
Ole Miss won’t lose sight of the fact that the last OVC school to come into Oxford, led to a dumpster fire season in 2010, 49-48 Jacksonville State. SEMO will compete, but remember half of their starters on both sides made their first start at Southeastern Louisiana. SEMO head coach Tony Samuel replaces a total of 15 starters for both sides, including special teams from last season. The Rebels offense should compete with 494 yards that Southeast Louisiana executed in Week 1.
The SEMO Redhawks are 1-17 all time against FBS opponents, going 0-4 against current SEC schools. The Rebels were down by a touchdown at halftime last season against FCS Central Arkansas. All Ole Miss did was outscore them 35-7 from the final half.
Give me a party in the Grove, Ole Miss 56, Southeast Missouri State 7.