Rapid Reaction: Shea Patterson steals the show, rallies Rebels past Aggies
Ole Miss true freshman Shea Patterson stole the show, hours after having his redshirt ripped off his back.
While Texas A&M played like it wanted to sneak back into the College Football Playoff, Ole Miss played like it wanted to breathe some fresh air into a lost season.
The Rebels accomplished their goal with a 29-28 win over the No. 8 Aggies in College Station. Both were technically playing their fourth quarterbacks and both were effective enough to win. The Rebels did behind Patterson’s 338 yards and 2 touchdowns on 25-of-42 passing. He led a drive that ended with Gary Wunderlich’s 39-yard field goal to cap a 23-point quarter. The kick that gave Ole Miss a fifth win and steered the season back in a positive direction.
What it means: Ole Miss has regained momentum that was all but completely lost until news broke that the redshirt would be removed. The kid looked like a healthy mix of Archie Manning and Johnny Manziel, throwing one touchdown pass after scrambling away from linebacker Claude George. He made freshman mistakes but started his own legend that wasn’t supposed to start until 2017.
What I liked: Though it didn’t pay off in the end, Texas A&M was making the most of the hand it has been dealt. Trevor Knight plans to make it back at least by a bowl game. But with him for sure out this week, coordinator Noel Mazzone drew up a nice plan around Jake Hubenak. Mazzone snuck in a wide receiver pass from Christian Kirk to Speedy Noil that was nearly a 28-6 lead. However, when Hubenak was in there, the Aggies looked like they had a plan in place to overcome last week’s loss at Mississippi State. Unfortunately for A&M, it ended with a second straight loss. Hubenak was 16-for-27 for 213 yards and 2 touchdowns. He ran into an Ole Miss defense in the second half that looked nothing like the one fans had seen all season.
What I didn’t like: It got a world better in the second half, but the Rebels’ defense continues to look worse and worse in the first half. Ole Miss allows 220 passing yards per game. Hubenak had 154 in the first half with a touchdown. Forget the stats, the secondary looked lost. Instead of Landshark fins, hands were thrown up on Noil’s touchdown catch. Somehow, Christian Kirk was wide open for a 69-yard catch that set up a touchdown.
With a true freshman playing quarterback a few hours after having his redshirt ripped off, his defense did nothing to aid his effort in a rowdy environment. Hugh Freeze told Kaylee Hartung at the half there was a disconnect. The disconnect has helped to derail the season, and Saturday seemed to present the Rebels with an actual 12th man at times.
For Texas A&M, the Aggies tried to milk the clock after Ole Miss pulled within 28-26. Two runs and a forced throw on third down gave Ole Miss the ball back with 58 yards to go and 3:39 to do it in.
Who’s the man: Patterson threw for 338 yards, 2 touchdowns and a pick on 25-of-42 attempts. In front of a crowd of nearly 105,000, he wasn’t phased by the atmosphere and handled the pressure for the most part. With the win, he gave Ole Miss optimism heading into its final two games against Vanderbilt and Mississippi State to get to a fifth straight bowl game.
Key play: Van Jefferson’s 32-yard touchdown pass got Ole Miss within two with a little over 5 minutes left, and it more so showcased the arm Patterson has.