Lane Kiffin had to be loving what he was watching on the TV Monday night, as the Ole Miss Rebels thumped the Louisville Cardinals 43-24.

Kiffin, who missed the game because he tested positive for the Coronavirus, said it best when he was interviewed at halftime about his team’s play.

ā€œIā€™m just going to stay here from now on,” Kiffin said. “Maybe I can get COVID for the whole year.”

The Rebels didn’t need him.

Yes, we all know how good the Ole Miss offense can be, led by Heisman Trophy candidate in quarterback Matt Corral, but let’s give that defense some props to start.

Throughout Ole Miss’ drubbing of Louisville Monday night, the defense was impressive. No, the scoreboard might not reflect the dominance, but DJ Durkin had his unit flying around, tackling well and making sure they inflicted pain upon contact. Remember, the Rebels had one of the nation’s worst defenses in 2020. That’s changing in 2021.

The Rebels jumped out to a big lead and led 26-0 at halftime, which is significant because that was the first time since 2016 that Ole Miss pitched a shutout in the first half.

Louisville didn’t reach the end zone until 3 minutes left in the third quarter, and even then, the Rebels defensive unit made the Cardinals earn it. The Cardinals added two more touchdowns mid-way through the 4th quarter.

Corral didn’t play too bad either. The talented gun slinger finished 22-of-32 for 381 yards and 1 touchdown. He also added a rushing touchdown and totaled over 400 yards of offense. The Rebels averaged 17.3 yards per reception, as 8 different receivers caught passes from Corral. Receiver Dontario Drummond caught 9 passes for 177 yards and 1 touchdown to lead the way.

Ole Miss’ defense kept Louisville dual-threat quarterback Malik Cunningham at bay in the first half. However, he ended up totaling 3 touchdowns in the second half, with most of them coming in garbage time when the game was out of hand.

Ole Miss was the better team and the more physical team Monday night. Snoop Conner’s 11-yard touchdown run was a microcosm of this game. Conner scored 2 touchdowns during the win over Louisville, but he brought the pain on this hit.