The good, the bad and the ugly was the story for Rebel Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner after the gut-wrenching loss to 7th-ranked LSU.
Next: The Egg Bowl.
"Obviously, the good is that we scored 35 points and had 463 yards against a great defense," said Werner. "We played aggressively and with confidence and it paid off for the most part.
"The bad were the turnovers to give them a couple of short fields and taking some sacks at the end when we had the ball on the LSU 17 late. The ugly was losing a game, another game I should say, we felt we could have easily won."
On that last drive, Werner said the plan was to take some shots for the TD and stay in attack mode.
"Instead, we held the ball too long and took two sacks back-to-back. We have to get rid of the ball there and live to have a short field goal attempt," Dan stated. "I was so proud of our guys in the way they battled, but we have to become more efficient when the game is on the line.
"LSU made some adjustments to our run game in the second half, but we were able to expose them through the air. The problem was that we did not capitalize on that last drive when we should have."
Ironically, it was the first time this year the Rebels did not get points when in the opponents' Red Zone. Coming into the game, they were 100% with either FGs or TDs in SEC games in the Red ZOne.
"We picked a bad time to break our string," Werner lamented.
Werner was proud of QB Bo Wallace's effort, despite three interceptions.
"Bo made a lot of big plays. His TD run was a great read early in the game. He made some super throws," Werner noted. "If you had told me before the game we would score 35 points, I'd have told you that was a win.
"We did not come here to lose or to play it safe. We came in here to win and we almost did. I liked our mentality in this game. Not many people gave us much of a chance, but we did."
Werner said the taste of victory is so close everyone can taste it, not just in this game, but in almost every game.
"When you have the leadership we have in our head coach, the guys are going to come around and we are going to start winning these games and it will not be long before we do, I promise," Werner closed.
"I don't know how we are health-wise, but whoever we have available, we know one thing for sure, they will get out there and compete," he closed. "We will get to the point in our program where we will win these games. It's coming. I can feel it and I have been around national championship teams before. I know the feeling and these kids have the feeling. They just have to find a way to finish what they started. Once that happens, look out."
DC Dave Wommack was playing with a short stack against the Tigers, but the Rebel defense played gallantly, until they simply ran out of gas.
"It's been tough in the back end of our defense the last couple of weeks, but it is what it is. I'm not into making those kinds of excuses," Wommack noted. "We have to go execute and do the best we can do.
"We just came up a couple of plays short. LSU just overcame adversity a little bit better than we did. When we lost (CB) Charles Sawyer, it hurt us badly from a depth standpoint, but Senquez Golson came in and had two interceptions. That is what we have to do - play the hand we are dealt and find a way to get it done."
The Tigers didn't really hurt the Rebs - a lot - with the run, but LSU was able to throw for 282 yards.
"We have played pretty physical against the run since the Texas game, but we had to overload the box against these guys and sometimes we guessed wrong and they hit us on some play-action stuff that hurt," Wommack explained. "These experiences feel like a death or something after the game, but they will help us in the future.
"We know if we do the things we are supposed to do, we can win these games. We just have to do it. We have no margin for error in some places on our defense right now. When we make a mistake, we pay. We made one or two many mistakes tonight."
Wommack believes the Rebels are headed in the right direction, but the results should be better.
"We have lost three games we could have easily won. We could be 8-3 right now. That stings," he closed. "In the future, we will have more people ready to play and fatigue will not be a factor.
"When we get some depth on this football team, we will be fine. We know our defensive scheme works. We know our offensive scheme works. We know our kicking game schemes work. When we get more players in here and don't wear down at the end or are not as affected as much as we are when we get a few injuries, we will win these kinds of games. I am certain of that. We are going to be a factor in this league and it's going to be quicker than some people think."
In the meantime, Werner and Wommack are having to swallow another bitter pill.
The only cure is an Egg Bowl victory and that opportunity is just a week away.
Next: The Egg Bowl.