Ole Miss running back Jaylen Walton is one of the smallest players on the Rebels roster at 5-foot-8 and 168 pounds, but he made some of the biggest plays of the night in their upset win over LSU from Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Walton has built a reputation for himself as one of the top return men in the SEC, but with the injury to Jeff Scott, the Rebels leading rusher, Walton had to fill his shoes along with I’Tavius Mathers in the backfield.
Walton led the Rebels with 19 carries (three less than he had the previous four games) for 106 yards and two touchdowns as the game’s x-factor. LSU really had no defense for the scat back that picked up huge chunks of yardage when they needed it the most.
During the Rebels’ three-game losing streak that was snapped tonight, the running game has been neglected, but that wasn’t the case tonight as Ole Miss ran the ball 42 times for 173 yards. Conversely, the normally potent LSU running game was stifled by an emotional Ole Miss run defense and limited to 114 yards on 35 carries.
Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze wondered aloud if his team had enough depth to overcome injuries and compete with the best, but the performance of Walton is a sign the backfield may have more depth than originally thought.
To beat teams like LSU, you need performances from guys like Walton and it doesn’t hurt to have the support of a raucous home crowd either.
This was Freeze’s signature win with Ole Miss and he got huge results from one of the smallest guys on the roster in Walton.