Coming off an impressive victory against Louisville last week, Ole Miss kept up the momentum going into their home opener against Austin Peay, winning 54-17 in a game.
Matt Corral had another impressive start, throwing for 281 yards and 5 touchdowns with no turnovers. Corral was eventually taken out of the game in the 3rd quarter for safety reasons and replaced by backup quarterback Luke Altmyer.
Corral had a few opportunities to use his legs to scramble out of the pocket, ending the game with 35 rushing yards. Corral has looked quicker and more nimble on his feet than a season ago, and it’ll be interesting to see how the season winds up looking for him in terms of his ability to not only be a pocket passer.
Wide receivers Dontario Drummond and Jonathan Mingo each had stellar performances. Drummond had six catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns. Mingo ended up with seven catches for 99 yards and two touchdowns.
“I feel like I’m playing faster and more confident than last year,” Mingo said following the game. “I’ll just try to build on that, week by week.”
The run game was very crucial for the Rebels’ offense. They ran for 336 yards and had a touchdown as well. Running back Henry Parrish Jr. led the way with eight carries for 72 yards.
Again, the Rebels created a lot of quick drives that resulted in a score. The quick, almost “no-huddle,” Ole Miss offense seems to put any defense on their heels. The fast-tempo offense causes defenders to have miscommunications and exhausts the opposition as the ball is quickly getting snapped over and over.
Ole Miss was just 5 for 14 on third down and relied on converting on fourth down to keep the drive alive, going 4 for 6 on fourth downs.
“We weren’t very good on third down again for the second week in a row on offense,” head coach Lane Kiffin said. “We go for it, luckily, on fourth down and that saves us, but we gotta improve on third downs.”
Ole Miss created a total of 630 yards on offense while holding Austin Peay to 374 yards. The Rebels’ defense was able to hold Austin Peay to 17 points and also forced a couple of turnovers.
Austin Peay quarterback Draylen Ellis passed for 226 yards and a touchdown, passing to receiver Baniko Harley in the 2nd quarter.
Austin Peay’s rushing leader was running back CJ Evans Jr. Evans ran for 74 yards and one touchdown on seven carries.
Ole Miss defensive lineman Sam Williams led the defense with five tackles including two sacks and two forced fumbles, one being a scoop-and-score for a touchdown.
“Coach (Wilson) Love always says ‘see ball, get ball,’” Williams laughed when asked about his touchdown on his strip-sack. “So I put that into action, I guess you can say.”
Linebacker Chance Campbell had another great performance, ending up with four tackles and a fumble recovery on a kickoff return in the second quarter.
Something that Kiffin wasn’t happy about was the amount of penalties Ole Miss gave up during the game. The Rebels had 12 penalties for 130 yards, most of them being pass interference calls.
“I felt like there were some early that were definitely questionable, but we’re turning and are arm barring the guy before we get our head around and block him off,” Kiffin said when asked about the pass interference calls. “It’s a penalty. They’re not going to pick it up, so we’ve got to coach it better.”
The Rebels will look to keep up their momentum as they host a Tulane team that is hot on offense, putting up 35 points against Oklahoma in week one and 69 against Morgan State the following week.
Kick-off is slated for 7:00 p.m. CST on ESPN2 this coming Saturday.