Ole Miss survived Saturday in a 27-14 win over Liberty during Hugh Freeze’s return to Oxford.

The Rebels’ offense is banged up. Lane Kiffin said earlier in the week that 9 of 11 starters were battling injuries. No position group encapsulates that more than the wide receivers. Ole Miss was without its top 3 receivers in practice, and neither Dontario Drummond nor Jonathan Mingo played Saturday. Braylon Sanders wasn’t 100 percent healthy but did play in a limited capacity. The single biggest issue this offense has faced is the lack of depth at wide receiver, which has made Matt Corral look human and the offense look rather benign.

And while it wasn’t perfect Saturday, Ole Miss finally got contributions from receivers beyond its top 3. Corral completed 20 passes for 324 yards, evidence itself that the receiving corps was better than it was at Auburn. Dannis Jackson caught 6 passes for 126 yards and 1 touchdown. He flashed the tantalizing speed that is the primary reason many have held out hope over the last year or 2. Jackson is talented. No one has ever disputed that. But he falls squarely in the “not knowing what to do or where to go” category that Kiffin has mentioned as a reason for the lack of development of some of the receivers.

“I trust Dannis, and he knows that,” Corral said. “So I mean, it’s just going out there and trusting himself. He knows he has the ability. You know I preach that, and all those guys who may not seem as confident in themselves. Dannis is going to be a great player very soon, and he knows he’s got it. It’s just going out there and doing it, because we see it in practice all the time.”

This offense moves fast. It requires a lot of quick thinking and moving around, which means the receivers have to process information quickly. That’s harder to do than it seems, and again, it wasn’t perfect. There were mishaps — like the crucial false start that turned a 3rd and 1 into a 3rd and 6 in the 4th quarter — but Jackson was much better in this regard on Saturday.

“It was huge,” Kiffin said. “(John Rhys) Plumlee and him are probably the stories of the game offensively. Probably even more (Jackson), because he had missed lot of opportunities, so for him to do that was huge. … He was wide open and making competitive plays, and those are what we have been waiting on him to do. You know he is very talented.”

As Kiffin alluded to, Plumlee had the best game of his Ole Miss career in the slot. Plumlee caught 7 balls for 110 yards and was used more frequently than he has been all year. He has been playing receiver for only a short amount of time and is very much a work in progress, but there is enough there that he could turn into a productive receiver. Ole Miss desperately needed both Jackson and Plumlee to step up. Their services were needed more last week in a loss at Auburn, but with a crucial game against Texas A&M ahead, it’s better late than never.

Ole Miss needs Drummond and Mingo back healthy, but the depth looks a little less bleak than it did a week ago after the performances of Plumlee and Jackson. It will be interesting to see if they can replicate that against an SEC-caliber defense. There would be no better time to prove that than next Saturday night.