Ole Miss football: Grading the Rebels' loss to Alabama
Ole Miss lost 63-48 to Alabama on Saturday night in a game that featured few punts, an unexpected result and nearly 1,400 yards of offense. How did Ole Miss grade out in Week 3? Let’s take a look.
Same story, different week. Matt Corral was tremendous for Ole Miss once again. He went 21-for-28 for 365 yards, 2 touchdowns and no turnovers. This week, he was complemented by a dominant running game, which helped tremendously as the Rebels moved down the field methodically against one of the nation’s best defenses for 3 hours. Corral has been everything this coaching staff could have hoped for and then some, and he is quickly turning into one of the best downfield passers in the sport.
Running backs: A+
Perhaps the most surprising occurrence of this game was Ole Miss’ ability to run consistently on Alabama’s front seven. Snoop Conner ran for 128 yards and Jerrion Ealy for 120, and both had 2 touchdowns. They are the first running back duo to surpass the 100-yard mark against Alabama in the Nick Saban era. Each averaged more than 6 yards per rush and — not to diminish their effort — ran behind a pretty masterful performance from the offensive line. The Rebels regularly got Conner and Ealy 6 or 7 yards down the field before being touched by a defender.
The running game was the most crucual element to Ole Miss keeping pace with Alabama.
Receivers/tight ends: B-
The passing game was good. Tight end Kenny Yeboah gets an A as an individual grade for single-handedly orchestrating a touchdown on the game’s opening drive. He was the team’s leading receiver with 181 yards and 2 touchdowns on 7 grabs. Yeboah has been great through three games, and the tight end position is no longer dormant at Ole Miss for the first time since Evan Engram still had eligibility. The receivers are benefitting from it.
The receivers were fine, but it was largely a one-man show. Elijah Moore had 11 catches for 143 yards, but no other Ole Miss receiver registered more than 1 catch. It’s hard to criticize the offense when it puts up 48 points and 647 yards on an Alabama defense, but the Rebels are going to consistently need more behind Moore going forward.
Offensive line: A-
If not for 2 sacks and 2 major snapping gaffes from Ben Brown, this would be a slam-dunk A+ grade. Ole Miss pushed Alabama around for 3 hours in the run game, and that’s a credit to an offensive line that was thought to be serviceable at best heading into the year, with little depth. If Saturday night proved anything, it’s that this offense will score on anyone in the country and is going to give this team a chance in every single game. That’s a fun brand of football to watch no matter how you frame it, and it would not be possible without the offensive line playing well.
Defensive line: C
As good as the offensive grades were, the defensive grades are quite the opposite. Alabama scored touchdowns on every single possession in the second half and punted a grand total of once.
Sam Williams’ performance before injuring his leg keep this from going into the D category. He had 1 sack and 2 tackles for loss. But Mac Jones was hurried only twice in this game, and Williams’ sack was the Rebels’ only one. Ole Miss does not have a consistent pass rush, and the results reflected that as Jones threw for a cool 417 yards and 2 touchdowns with 4 incompletions. To be completely fair, Alabama likely has the best offensive line in the country, but 2 quarterback hurries is a tough one to swallow.
MoMo Sanogo led the team with 9 tackles, but nothing else really stood out about this group. Alabama ran for 306 yards, and Najee Harris had 5 touchdowns. There isn’t really much to dissect here. The defense as a whole was overmatched, and it showed.
This wasn’t really a fair fight. Alabama’s receiving corps is one of the best in college football, and Ole Miss’ secondary is young, inexperienced and still finding its way in the SEC. Alabama did what it wished in the passing game. Again, Jones had just 4 incompletions.