The Ole Miss Rebels had a lot to prove last night when they travelled to New Orleans to take on the Tulane Green Wave. Not only did they had to prove that last week's debacle against Jacksonville State was an fluke, they also needed to prove that if they built a lead against Tulane that they would be able to sustain it.
The Rebels were successful in proving those points.Ole Miss built a 24-3 lead going into halftime thanks to the play of Jeremiah Masoli and Markeith Summers. Masoli scored the game's first touchdown on a quarterback sneak, then Brandon Bolden added a 16 yard rushing touchdown of his own the very next drive. After a Byron Rose field goal with 6:51 left in the second quarter, the next drive Masoli threw a 70- yard touchdown bomb to Markeith Summer just before halftime.
The 3rd quarter for the Rebels proved to be a sluggish despite a lost fumble by Tulane as the Rebels could not even muster a first down. Then Rebel fans were seeing signs from last week as Tulane outscored Ole Miss in the 3rd quarter and added a field goal after Masoli was intercepted by Phillip Davis at the outset of the fourth quarter.
However, the Rebels were not about to allow a repeat of last week as the Rebel defense clamped down in the final minutes and forced a key fumble that allowed the Rebels to run down the clock and win the game 27-13. Let's move away from the recap and onto the factors that put the Rebels back on the winning track.
On both sides of the ball, there were three players that were crucial to Ole Miss winning this game. On offense it was both Jeremiah Masoli and Markeith Summers. Masoli had 308 yards of total offense in this game and had both a passing and rushing touchdown. Summers caught 5 passes for 165 yards which included the 70-yard touchdown catch, and a 61 yard catch that set up the game-clinching field goal.
On the defensive side of the ball, that player was Jonathan Cornell. He was all over the field Saturday night with 11 total tackles, and a career-high 3 sacks. However, his last sack was the most valuable play he made all night as it jarred the football loose from Tulane quarterback Ryan Griffin and returned possession to the Rebel offense.
This Rebel team was much different from the one that played last week. They jumped out to a big lead, but instead of lying down they stopped a Tulane comeback in its tracks. The defense played much better as they held Ryan Griffin to 218 passing yards and held Tulane's running backs to just 94 total rushing yards. Plus, they shut down Tulane's offense when it mattered the most, and held them out of the end zone until the third quarter.
This was a good win for the Rebels as they regained their confidence and composure after last week's disaster. They need to keep that confidence for the rest of the season as the schedule will get harder from here on out. My next article will be previewing next week's game versus Vanderbilt,and why Ole Miss has the potential to win big despite it being an SEC game.
Until next time,