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Offensively Ole Miss struggled again in a 27-13 loss to Georgia. Only a so-called "trick" play on a touchdown pass from Randall Mackey to Donte Moncrief and later a non-traditional punt return by Nick Brassell garnered points.

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Ole Miss has scored four touchdowns this season against FBS competition. Two Saturday. One against BYU on a 96-yard interception return for a touchdown by Charles Sawyer. And one against Vanderbilt on a 47-yard Zack Stoudt to Moncrief touchdown pass with 2:15 left in a 30-0 game.

That's what you call not getting it done.

Everybody still searches for answers. Coaches. Players. Fans.

Stoudt said they're getting closer to being an effective unit. Houston Nutt said the same thing.

Stoudt also had a pretty good evaluation of what has gone on so far offensively this season.

"We just shoot ourselves in the foot," said the starting signal-caller the last three games. "A penalty on the first drive, holding, another holding call, dropping balls, missing protections, missing passes, missing catches."

Yep, if I had to evaluate the offense, I'd say those same things. And I'd add confusion. And ineffectiveness. And at times total ineptness.

Georgia isn't among the top four teams in the SEC this season. Three missed field goals by Bulldog placekicker Blair Walsh kept this one from looking like a blowout on the scoreboard. But it was more one-sided than the final two-touchdown margin.

The Rebels had 183 total yards, the least amount in a game since beating Vandy 17-10 in 2006 in Oxford when they totaled 179 yards.

Donte Moncrief
Bruce Newman

"Obviously, 183 yards of offense isn't enough to win in this conference or any conference," offensive coordinator David Lee said. "So we've got to improve on that. But I did think there was improvement. I thought our guys fought, now."

Only 34 yards rushing against a decent and talented Bulldog defense, but nothing special. South Carolina scored 45 points against Georgia, and Boise State scored 35. So there's that.

But the Rebels struggled to get much going Saturday. Tyler Campbell was another reason the score was a close as it was. Nine punts for a 51-yard average and three inside the 20, including one at the 1-yard line.

Georgia's 99-yard, eight-play, four-minute drive to make it 17-0 in the second quarter was an early back-breaker for the Rebel defense, a defense that just doesn't get much help from its offense.

But defensive players, like Sawyer, continue to say they don't hold anything against the offense. But you'd expect them to respond that way when questioned about it in a media setting.

"You've just got to keep playing," said Sawyer, who had a spectacular interception of an Aaron Murray pass off a tipped ball. "It's not frustrating at all. We have belief and hope. I still believe in this team, and we know it's going to get rolling."

But it didn't Saturday. Ole Miss had seven three and outs. Auburn had 18 three and outs all last season.

Of course the Tigers were national champions. The Rebels, meanwhile, are looking for just a win. Any win. Any time. Anywhere.

The next opportunity? A challenge not normally seen in these parts. A cross-country trip to California for a game Saturday night at Fresno State.

It's the second of a three-game set between the west coast Bulldogs and the Rebels. Last year in Oxford, Ole Miss won handily. There's another game to be played in Oxford in 2015.

Offensively the Rebels had a productive game last season with 55 points and 578 total yards in a 55-38 victory over Fresno State. The game wasn't as close as the final score with Ole Miss holding a 41-10 lead in the third quarter.

The Rebel offense piled up 425 rushing yards in that one. They've been able to put together nothing like those numbers so far this season.

Fresno State is 2-2 with losses to California and Nebraska and wins over North Dakota and Idaho.

The Rebel offensive line, thought by most to be a team strength, has struggled. Nutt said the unit was better against Georgia, even if the stats didn't show it.

"We'll keep mixing and matching and trying to find the right combination," Nutt said.

Randall Mackey
Bruce Newman

I keep thinking back to Billy Brewer's first season as head coach when an offensive line that couldn't block anybody continued to improve as the season went on.

After mixing and matching and improving, it was a solid unit late in the season as the Rebels rolled off five straight wins and headed to a bowl game after a 1-5 start.

On his quarterback situation - where three have played, including first-game starter Barry Brunetti but in the last three games only Stoudt and Mackey have seen action – Nutt said it continues to be a constant evaluation.

"We'll go back and look at it again," he said.

I think of that first Brewer season again when Kent Austin was the quarterback early in the year. But it was Kelly Powell who came on the second half of the campaign to lead the Rebels to that late-season flurry of wins.

Nutt and staff have gone to their bag of tricks a few more times lately. From the Wild Rebel to handoffs on punt returns to reverses on pass plays to an onsides kick that the Rebels recovered. The head coach says there'll be more of them.

"We're going to keep opening them up, keep opening a bag of them," he said. "Just keep our shots each week of giving our guys a chance, whether it be an onsides, a fake field goal, or whatever it may be to give our guys every chance to win."

And why not? That's obviously what it's all about. And with an offense that's been mostly ineffective through four games, it may be the Rebels' best chance to get points.

It actually has been so far.

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