OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss led just 13-10 at halftime, but it dominated in the second half in a 47-27 win over South Alabama at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
The Rebels will face FCS foe UT-Martin next week before traveling to face California on the road.
Here are five takeaways from the game.
1. WR A.J. Brown is a freak of nature
The buzz: He finished with eight catches for 233 yards – an Ole Miss record – and two touchdowns. While speed is not necessarily his biggest attribute, he finds a way to outrun defenders and can go up and get the ball. It seems Shea Patterson has found his go-to receiver early in the season.
2. The Ole Miss defense has a long way to go
The buzz: To be fair, coordinator Wesley McGriff noted he had concerns at linebacker. They were warranted. Similar to the first half, Ole Miss played well the opening two series of the second half. Then, like the first, the Rebels began substituting and allowing yards. The depth simply is not there and will be problematic this season.
3. Ole Miss simply had to win the game — and it did
The buzz: Noting how well South Alabama played Mississippi State last season and winning in Starkville, this was a team Ole Miss needed to put away early. By doing so, Ole Miss now will have a tune-up game next week against UT-Martin before a crucial game at Cal, which won at North Carolina on Saturday. Matt Luke and his staff were clear in the respect that was given to the Jags. This team was disciplined and focused, and it showed throughout the game.
4. Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson is as advertised
The buzz: He finished 28-of-35 for 429 yards and four touchdowns. To put it bluntly, he didn’t miss often. Second, a touted receiving corps did its part to help, too. If he will stay in the pocket, Patterson’s season-ending numbers should be impressive.
5. The offensive line needs improvement
The buzz: The offensive line allowed two sacks. Considering Patterson’s Johnny Manziel-esque scrambling ability, that must improve. Against SEC competition, should he continue to do so, he may not make it to the end of the season in one piece. The Jaguars’ defense is a long way from the Alabamas and Auburns and LSUs of the world.
(You can follow Brad Logan on Twitter @BradLoganCOTE)
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