Ole Miss’ toughest opponent of the season may be coming Monday, when school officials attend a NCAA Committee on Infractions hearing in Covington, Ky.
On the field Saturday, it looked as if everyone may have been thinking about the hearing as the Rebels got off to a slow start. But Ole Miss eventually woke up and ran its record to 2-0 behind another big day from quarterback Shea Patterson and wide receiver A.J. Brown.
The Rebels took control in the third quarter, outscoring the Skyhawks 28-0. That means that in their first two games this season, the Rebels have outscored opponents 55-3 in the third period.
Here are five takeaways from a 45-23 win over UT Martin.
Patterson continues to grow
Coming into the season, the jury was out regarding his decision-making. Aside from one interception, where he and his tight end were on the wrong page, Patterson was as masterful as he should be against a FCS opponent. He ended up throwing for 489 yards, a school single-game record, and five touchdowns. He was 32-of-43 and had a quarterback rating of 203.7.
Brown is a monster
He had eight catches for 156 yards and two scores, and is a matchup nightmare. There was a question coming into the season as to the identity of Ole Miss’ go-to receiver. There is no question anymore: It’s Brown. He has 16 receptions for 389 yards and four TDs.
New receivers coach Jacob Peeler has brought a swagger
Peeler, who was hired in January after he spent two seasons as California’s receivers coach, has brought a swagger to the unit that has bled into the world of pro wrestling. The wide receivers refer to themselves as the “nWo” – the Nasty Wide-Outs – in a nod to the “New World Order” of pro wrestling fame, Peeler awards the receiver with the best game a wrestling belt with the nWo logo on it. Brown likely will be the recipient of the belt a lot this fall.
The defense is a work in progress
Getting LB Detric Bing-Dukes and CB Ken Webster back from a suspension helped, but Ole Miss still yielded 219 rushing yards to the Skyhawks. UTM rushed for 144 in the first half; there were some adjustments and Ole Miss allowed 75 rushing yards in the final two quarters.
Josiah Coatney continues to impress
Coatney, a sophomore defensive tackle, has been one of the few bright spots on defense. He had five tackles Saturday, the same number as last week. Junior Breeland Speaks, who had a lackluster season in 2016, has alternated with Coatney but has not played up to coaches’ expectations. Even with the addition of Qaadir Sheppard, who has been hampered by injuries, and Benito Jones coming around, Coatney should continue to shine on the defensive line.
(You can follow Brad Logan on Twitter @BradLoganCOTE)
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