The Ole Miss Rebels are finally victorious on the gridiron for the first time in nearly a month.
The Rebels kept the New Mexico State Aggies winless with a 41-3 victory at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Saturday. The win moves Ole Miss’ record to 4-6 overall as they welcome College Football Playoff contender LSU to town next Saturday.
“It is good to be home and get a win. It is fun to be in a winning locker room. It was good to get people in the game and get a few snaps. We came out and took care of business,” head coach Matt Luke said. “Good win, but we have two huge games coming up. We may have the number one team in the country coming in here next week. It should be a great atmosphere and a great night for football in Vaught-Hemingway.”
Quarterback John Rhys Plumlee set a pair of Rebel rushing records. He became the school’s freshman rushing yard record holder on the first play of the game. The record was previously held by Mico McSwain back in 2005. Plumlee also set the record for most freshman touchdowns with his second touchdown of the game last in the third quarter. That record was previously held by Joe Gunn in 1999.
“It sounds like a team records and awards are all me, but in reality, it’s not,” Plumlee said. “You have the O-Line straining for you and doing a really good job. You have the wide receivers doing their part. When they don’t get the ball, they find someone to block. The running backs amaze me every week by getting hard yards. When they draw defenses, it makes it easy for me to pull it.”
Plumlee had 12 carries for 177 yards and a pair of touchdowns, one scored with 40 seconds left until halftime and the other with 5:29 left in the third quarter to give Ole Miss a 28 point lead. He also completed 11 of 17 passes and threw for 124 yards through the air.
Jerrion Ealy started at running back in place of an injured Scottie Phillips and had 14 carries for 71 yards and the game’s first touchdown. Snoop Conner had 13 carries for 109 yards and a pair of scores, each coming in the second half. In all, the Rebels combined for 606 offensive yards, 447 of them on the ground. The Rebels did not punt once throughout the night.
“We didn’t want to force the issue when we run the ball really well. The backs ran rally hard and we did a good job up front. [Plumlee] had some good runs. That is just who we are at this point,” offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez said.
Defensively, the Rebels allowed just 193 total yards against a true air raid offense.
“We knew they were going to complete some short ones We just had to make sure we tackled it and not give up any deep ones they try to do. That was the key, when they throw it that much. We had pressure and made him move around and scramble,” defensive coordinator Mike McIntyre said. “I thought we were tighter, were better and in better position.”
Keidron Smith, Jacquez Jones, and Lakia Henry led the Rebels with seven tackles each. In all, the Rebels totaled four sacks and did not commit a turnover for only the second time this season.
Next week’s matchup against LSU will kickoff at 6 p.m.