The Rebels managed to escape Kroger Field in Lexington over the weekend with a last-second touchdown pass to D.K. Metcalf in the corner of the end zone. Following the last-second thriller, head coach Matt Luke was glad the team was able to finally grab a big win.
“Anytime you can go on the road in the SEC and get a road win, it’s a good thing,” Luke said. “Especially after the tough loss at Arkansas, the kids really bounced back and kept fighting, and I’m really happy to see them in the locker room after everything they’ve been through to have gotten that win.”
Things just seemed to click for the Rebels offensively, and multiple players had standout games — Jordan Ta’amu in particular. With his 382-yard day, Ta’amu became the first Ole Miss quarterback to throw for more than 750 yards in his first two starts and has impressed the coaching staff thus far.
“We saw his ability to run in practice and every time we had a scrimmage,” Luke said. “You know he can throw it, but what you don’t know is whether or not he can go out there and do it in a game with live bullets flying, and he has showed that he can. I’m not surprised by his ability but maybe with how he has handled the live bullets.”
With the season winding down, Luke is looking to make the most of what time there is left with the team. Although the victory against Kentucky was something to smile about, he wants to ensure that his team is ready for the next opponent, the Lousiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns.
“The biggest thing is that we have 17 days left guaranteed together,” Luke said. “We have to make the best of each of [those days], that’s what we talk about. This is a young team and we only have 12 seniors but we are learning how to get better and learning how to win. We have to take advantage of all 17 days we have left together.”
Stressing the importance of the remaining season, the fact that the Ole Miss coaching search officially began after the loss to Auburn presumably is weighing on his mind. However, Luke insists he is not worried about the coaching search, citing distractions to avoid thinking about the carousel.
“The players, all the stuff these players have been through,” Luke said. “That’s why I do what I do. They get up and keep fighting each week, and it’s motivating. After Arkansas, people thought they would lay down, but they keep showing up. It’s just awesome being a part of this team, and I talked to them about how grateful I am for this team.”
While there is plenty of speculation about whether or not Luke will have a job as a Rebel in the near future, he isn’t worried about that.
“You can’t let (the future) creep into your mind,” Luke said. “You want to because it’s a dream of yours since you were a little kid, but you have to focus. You just have to do the best job wherever you’re at, and things will take care of themselves.”
Ole Miss will look to carry its momentum and get Luke another win under his belt when it plays host to the Ragin’ Cajuns at 11 a.m. Saturday.