Ole Miss proved why they belong in the top 10 on Saturday, and fans saw many good things that the team has improved on this season. However, a glaring issue that continues to plague the Rebels could prove to be problematic if not fixed soon.
The defense is spotty but makes plays when necessary
In previous seasons, Ole Miss has been known for its offense and infamous for its lack of defense. However, in 2022, the Rebel defense has caught up with the offense.
The defense received some high praise from their offensive counterparts and head coach Lane Kiffin. There seems to be a lot of confidence in co-defensive coordinators Maurice Crum and Chris Partridge’s defense.
“We believe that our defense is the best in the country,” wide receiver Malik Heath said about the Ole Miss defense post-game. “We have players who play like the best in the country.”
It is evident that the Rebels have taken a step back on the offensive side of the ball, so it is refreshing to rely on a player like defensive end Jared Ivey to make game-winning plays.
The offense looked steady
Ole Miss fans everywhere can agree that the offense has been shaky to start the season. However, the fans can rejoice as the offense looked great on Saturday.
Despite only scoring 14 offensive points, the offense looked fluid. Quarterback Jaxson Dart looked calmer and more decisive than he has all season.
“He (Dart) seemed very composed,” Kiffin said about Dart’s performance. “It didn’t seem like he was rattled at all.”
This Saturday was Dart’s first time playing an SEC opponent, and aside from his interception during a two-minute drill, he handled the pressure perfectly.
Freshman running back Qunishon Judkins had a phenomenal game as well. En-route to a 106-yard rushing day, Judkins broke free for an electric 48-yard touchdown right when the Rebels needed it.
Ole Miss football is still a tale of two halves
There are times when Ole Miss looks unbeatable, and there are other times when they look a step too slow.
This game against Kentucky was no different.
A reporter asked Kiffin about the difference in his team’s play in the first and second half, and he said, “Obviously didn’t feel great again…We have a lot of work to do but (we are) excited to get back to work.”
Ole Miss scored 19 points in the first half and just three in the second half.
“There are spurts when we look like the best team in the country,” Dart said.
Kiffin would love to turn those spurts into an entire game of good football, and the Rebels can use this week leading up to Vanderbilt to clean things up and prove why they are a top 10 team.