Week one of SEC football in Oxford was unlike any opening weekend the city has seen before. No Grove tailgating, limited stadium capacity and a week-one top 25 opponent are all new adjustments for the Rebel fandom.
The University of Florida Gators ultimately beat the Ole Miss Rebels 51-35.
Throughout the Rebels’ first game, there were many expected plays, but there were also a great deal of unexpected decisions.
The looming battle for starting quarterback ended before the game began as Matt Corral was named the starter on the Jumbotron. This was an outcome that people were relatively prepared for; however, what was not expected was the sparing use of John Rhys Plumlee.
Plumlee played as a receiver in the first half, where he was targeted twice and caught one ball for a six-yard gain. Other than that, he had 3 yards passing and four rushing attempts.
Corral, on the other hand, had what was almost a perfect day. Besides an interception off a pass deflection, he passed for 395 yards, three TDs and rushed for 50 yards on 20 attempts.
Along with Corral’s successful passing, wide receiver Dontario Drummond connected with Jerrion Ealy for 46 yards before Corral threw his interception.
When it came to the wideouts in this game, they performed well. In addition to his 46-yard pass, Drummond also had two catches for 60 yards and two touchdowns. Tight-end Kenny Yeboah had five catches for 91 yards and a touchdown, while Elijah Moore led the team in receiving with 227 yards on 10 catches.
In the post-game press conference, Moore did not express any positive emotions regarding the game, saying he wants to focus on winning and is ready to watch film and prepare for next week.
The running backs had somewhat of a mediocre performance. As a whole, they rushed for 116 yards and rushed for two TDs.
On the other side of the ball, Florida quarterback Kyle Trask passed for 416 yards and six touchdowns, four of which were caught by tight end Kyle Pitts, who finished with 8 catches and 170 yards.
Florida’s kicker, Evan McPherson, went three for three on field goals with a long of 55 yards. This Florida team outmatched the Rebels on both sides of the ball on route to defeating Ole Miss with the final score of 51-35.
“You can’t turn the ball over in the red zone. They went five for five in the red zone. We went 4-8.” head coach Lane Kiffin said. “You can do the math there.”
Ole Miss travels next week to Lexington to play the University of Kentucky, who had a strong performance in the first half against Auburn today but ended up dropping the game 13-29 after only being down 8-7 at the end of the first half.