More times than not, the box score cannot tell the story of a game. Alabama’s 62-7 win was about as lopsided a contest as there could be. Ole Miss was clearly the better team for the first eleven seconds, but the last 59 minutes and 49 seconds belonged to the Tide.
The narrative coming into the game was that Ole Miss would have to score as often as possible to keep pace with an Alabama offense that is as balanced as any in the nation.
The first play of the game was the perfect start for the hosts. Jordan Ta’amu faked a handoff to Scottie Phillips and connected down the sideline with D.K. Metcalf who tip-toed the boundary to score a 75-yard touchdown. Metcalf used every inch of his frame to haul in the ball in stride. The quick strike showed that Ole Miss was up to the task to face the number-one ranked team in the country. The clock quickly struck midnight.
Tua Tagovailoa and the Tide offense suffocated the Rebel defense. Five times in the first half the Tide scored a touchdown on 4 plays or less. Jalen Hurts and Tagovailoa combined to throw four touchdowns in the half. Each member of the Tide’s triple threat at running back scored a touchdown on the ground. Damien Harris and Najee Harris scored untouched; Damien from 43 yards out and Najee from 10 yards away. The only blemishes Alabama had in a 49-point streak was a fumble caused by a swarm of Rebels and a missed field goal by place kicker Joseph Bulovas.
Even though the Rebels have a 2-1 record, the defensive statistics are worrisome. Through three games, the Rebels have allowed 1,631 total yards to opponents. Teams are averaging 43.3 points per game against the Rebels. With a tough road ahead in the SEC, things have to turn around for Ole Miss to succeed.
After a hot start quickly cooled down, Jordan Ta’amu began to be punished by the Alabama defense. The Tide tallied four sacks while hitting Ta’amu on numerous other occasions. The hits left Ta’amu’s shoulder in pain, but the senior did not waiver. He played all 60 minutes. If anyone in the locker room still had questions about the Rebel signal caller, those are out the window.
Head coach Matt Luke was understandably disappointed in his team’s performance, but he said the blame starts with him. He said he understands he just lost to a good football team, and his focus is on not letting this one loss effect the rest of the season.
“We cannot let this game beat us twice,” Luke said.
Ole Miss is not the first team to be routed by the Tide this season. Alabama set an SEC record as the first team to score at least 50 points in three games to start the season. The Rebels already have two wins in their pocket ahead of Kent State coming to town. The two home games have been lackluster, but have shown that the offense will score points. The N.W.O. will continue to make highlight reel plays. Scottie Phillips is one of the best running backs this program has seen. A defense that struggled against Texas Tech and Southern Illinois had no answer for Heisman-hopeful Tagovailoa and the skill players around him.