A Case of Efficiency

Jeremiah Masoli wouldn't call Saturday's 42-35 win over Kentucky his best game as a Rebel.

"I think I'm capable of a lot more," he said.

Statistically, he could have been better. He passed for only 90 yards, though he was the team's second-leading rusher with 43 yards on nine carries with a touchdown. He found three different receivers for scores, including the Rebels' final points, a four-yard pass to tight end Ferbia Allen.

But even Masoli will admit he was easily at his most efficient. For the first time in five games, he failed to throw an interception. His stat line was crystal clear as the offense compiled a middling 301 total yards.

"I was just playing my role, whatever the offense needed me to do at the time," Masoli said. "That's something you have to know going into every game. You can't have any turnovers."

Jeremiah Masoli

Masoli didn't try to do too much. He played within himself, as cliché as it may be. He flashed some of his brilliance on occasion, but not to the extent seen in recent weeks. Instead, he was a manager. And the Rebels racked up 42 points in the process, and were a perfect 6-for-6 in the red zone.

"I just think we were really riding the backs of our offensive line," he said. "We weren't on the field as much as we'd like to be, but we capitalized on the turnovers."

Last week, head coach Houston Nutt turned to freshman Patrick Junen and junior Logan Clair at left guard and right guard, respectively. Since the move, the offense has finally gained traction. Ole Miss has now scored 187 points through five games, four Masoli starts. It's a scoring average of 37.4 points per game, the most since 1935.

"They have a different swagger out there," Masoli said of the offensive line. "Their attitude is different; they have a much tougher demeanor out there. They don't like all the talk about them not being as good as they need to be, so they've been working their tails off in practice. Now it's coming to fruition."

Ole Miss worked on a short field all day. The defense forced three turnovers in the first half, leading to 21 points. Masoli connected with fullback H.R. Greer from four yards out for his first touchdown throw of the game, set up by Charles Sawyer's interception of Brian Hartline returned 38 yards to the Kentucky 9-yard line.

"It was big," he said. "(The defense) kept us in the game. We weren't having success like we wanted on some of the plays. Those guys giving us great field position helped."

Junior running back Brandon Bolden ended the game with a 33-yard run on third-and-19. Masoli's only contribution on the play was the routine handoff. He watched as Bolden found a running lane and sent his team to victory.

"It was the last play of the game right there," Masoli said. "We just needed that first down. I just handed it off to him and saw him make a great cut with the big hole. You just have to give it up to him."

But the quarterback under center, as he had all game, had done his part.


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