This past week was a tough one on campus for the Rebels after suffering an embarrassing double-overtime loss to Jacksonville State and the talk from the players was to make up for that with a one-sided win.The Rebels accomplished some of the goals against the Green Wave, but not all of them. The most important thing for the Rebels was they earned a win. But the 27-13 triumph, which was seven points less than the Las Vegas oddsmakers thought they should have won by, was still not close to the performance this team was hoping for.
Instead of making a big statement, the Rebels had to settle for a solid, if not spectacular showing. The offense looked good in the first half, but Jeremiah Masoli and the unit didn’t do much in the second half. Ole Miss’ defense wanted to smother the Green Wave and talked about dominating them all week. There were some highlights turned in by the defense, including forcing two turnovers in the second half, but much like the offense, there is still more to accomplish for a unit that has a lot of experience in the starting lineup.
“A win was something we needed to do real bad. Last week we were disappointed and we needed to come make a statement. We wanted this game to be that statement game for us and we needed to come out on top, but it wasn’t a big enough statement,” Ole Miss running back Brandon Bolden said postgame. “We didn’t do everything we wanted to do on offense. The defense executed and did a pretty good job, but we didn’t do what we wanted to on offense.”
Senior strong safety Johnny Brown agreed with Bolden that Saturday’s win wasn’t nearly as impressive as he would have liked.
“We really had to come out and make a statement because we felt like we let the team down last week. I replayed (last week’s loss) all week. I couldn’t even sleep,” Brown said. “After this win, I kind of put (JSU loss) behind me a little bit. At the same time, it’s not good enough. I don’t think it was a big enough statement, but it’s a start.”
Kentrell Lockett, one of the team’s captains and inspirational leader, understood why Bolden and Brown weren’t entirely satisfied.
“I would say Johnny and them said that because to get that taste out of your mouth and that type of embarrassment, we had to put a lot more points on the board or have a big shutout and just keep them quiet the majority of the game just to let them know that last weekend was a fluke and this is the real Ole Miss football team out on the field,” Lockett said. “That didn’t happen, but it’s a win and it’s a great a start just to get that bad taste out of our mouth from last week.”
The win over Tulane was a good start to getting back on track and for the Rebels to become the team many think they can be this year.
But the time is also running short for improvement.
While teams typically get better and better as the year goes, so does the schedule and right now, these Rebels don’t seem to be ready to compete in the SEC each and every week.
Hopefully for them they will make another big jump because the next three weeks, with all the games being at home, are critical to their long term success. (September 13, 2010, Page 1B)