The Ole Miss football team opened up the 2021 season in Atlanta against the Louisville Cardinals. It’s safe to say the Rebels came out with a different attitude than we saw in last year’s season.
The offensive side of the ball was the headline of the 2020 season, and, while it is still early, the defense is showing significant progress in the opener against a good Power 5 team. For the first time since 2016, the Landshark defense shutout their opponent in the first half.
The offense was exciting as usual with players stepping up to the plate to fill the void of Elijah Moore. Dontario Drummond was one of them who led the team with 177 receiving yards and the running back room handled things on the ground to get the easy win over Louisville. Quarterback Matt Corral also wasted no time in proving his Heisman candidate potential by leading all Power 5 teams in total offense by 72 yards.
The Landshark defense was also able to take control of the game early, only allowing 54 yards of offense in the first quarter. The last time that a defense performed this well was against Georgia in 2016. While the veterans on the team were able to keep things contained, there are some new faces to keep an eye out for this season.
One of the biggest surprises of the night was Snoop Conner. Conner was not a big topic throughout fall camp and was even put at fourth string on the depth chart. He dominated in the win against the Cardinals. Conner had eight carries for 60 yards and two touchdowns. He was asked about his role on the team and his position on the depth chart after the game. “I gotta control what I can control. I’ve got to put my head down and keep working,” Conner said.
The true freshman from Philadelphia excelled in his debut in an Ole Miss uniform. Johnson tied for first with the most tackles on the team. He had no problem disrupting the fast offense, and will be important to watch.
Despite having a targeting call early on in the game, Robinson showed a lot of potential in his role at linebacker. He will be available for the game on Saturday, and will likely take a lot of snaps.
The freshman kicker shined in his debut and brought hope back into the hearts of everyone who has lost faith in the kicking team. Costa had three field goals, the most by a Rebel kicker since 2018. He also hit a 47-yarder, which is the longest by an Ole Miss kicker since 2017.
This week the Rebels will have their home opener against the Austin Peay Governors.
In the majority of the games last season, the final score was determined by a touchdown or one bad play. This year’s team showed complete dominance over Louisville, and Austin Peay will be no different.
Austin Peay will be coming off of a win over Chattanooga where they dominated in the air. The Mississippi native, Draylen Ellis, threw for over 325 yards in the 30-20 win. While Austin Peay has found success over the years in the Ohio Valley Conference, they have not been able to beat an FBS team. The Governors faced other SEC opponents in the last five seasons, but have lost all eight games on average by 27 points.
The Rebels will be dealing with minimum rest after finishing up on Monday ahead of the Saturday night kick-off. This should be no problem for the Rebels and it should be an easy win over Austin Peay.