When Rebel coordinators Matt Luke and Dave Wommack addressed the media after Ole Miss' stunning 27-24 win over 6th-ranked LSU, it was easy to see they were spent. Happy, but spent.

Co-Offensive Coordinator Matt Luke plopped down in a chair in the team meeting room of the Manning Center with a combination of adrenaline and exhaustion rushing through his veins simultaneously after Ole Miss' upset win over LSU.

Exhaustion from the nailbiting finish of the game and adrenaline from the postgame celebration in the Rebel locker room.

One minute, he looked ecstatic, the next spent.

His offensive line had just blocked a highly ballyhooed LSU defense well enough for the Rebs to roll up 525 yards of total offense, including 197 yards on the ground, many of those on straight ahead inside jaunts.

"Coming into the game we felt like if we could neutralize their two great DTs and their best linebacker, we could get some things done," said Luke. "When we were able to hurt them inside on the power play, and actually move those guys around, I think it stunned them a little.

"Then, when we were able to stay balanced and throw in our tempo game, we had them going pretty good. When you can be balanced against a defense like LSU's, you have won half the battle. Then, it's all about execution and we executed, for the most part, very well. I think there were times when they were bending over and gasping for air on a couple of our drives."

Luke, and all the offensive coaches, believe in balance. The Rebs got 105 yards rushing from Jaylen Walton and another 52 yards from I'tavius Mathers.

With the run clicking enough to keep the Tigers honest, the Rebel receivers, regaining their form of earlier in the year, caught 349 yards worth of Bo Wallace and Barry Brunetti passes.

Bo Wallace
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"We also converted some third-and-longs, which we have not been doing lately. Bo made some nice reads and throws on third and longs and our receivers made plays tonight," Luke said. "The receivers made plays all night and they blocked their tails of too."

But it all starts up front. . .

"I'm very proud of the way our line performed tonight against a great defense. It started coming around last week against Texas A&M, especially getting movement on the inside runs, and it carried over to tonight," noted Luke. "This was, by far, the best we have blocked against a defensive line of this caliber.

"I'm very excited we got it going with freshmen Laremy Tunsil and Austin Golson in there and sophomore Justin Bell. Laremy and Pierce Burton did a great job tonight with their edge players and the middle of our OL was very effective with double teams on their tackles," Luke beamed. "When we started having success running, it gave our guys a different mentality. They went out there with the mindset to get it done."

Luke did not discount the way Walton and Mathers were running the football either.

"Man, they were hitting it up in there hard. Anyone who said those guys can't run inside didn't see tonight's game," he said.

Luke believes there will be carryover from this game.

"Certainly, we have to keep working hard and preparing the right way, but this kind of effort has to reaffirm to the players that we are doing the right things and we will get where we want to be," he said. "This has to bolster their belief in everything.

"Nobody is saying we are there yet, but these kinds of steps go a long way in getting you where you want to be. Year in and year out, there are no better programs than LSU. If we can play with and beat them, we can do the same with anyone if we stay the course and stay motivated and focused."

Luke said he could not let the interview end without giving the defense their due.

"Those guys on that side of the ball were beat up and pieced together and our guys on offense saw them fighting their guts out. I know that motivated our offensive guys. It motivated me," he closed.

DC Dave Wommack called the defensive effort by the Rebels "one of the best in my career, all things considered."

All things considered meant the mounting injuries, the inexperience and who they were facing, one of the most explosive offenses in the country.

"The Good Lord watched over us this week," said Wommack. "Our guys played as tough tonight as I have ever seen them. There was some give and take, which we knew there would be, but they played their hearts out and they were effective for most of this game.

Lavon Hooks
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"We were fortunate LSU stayed in 21 personnel most of the night - a tight end and two backs. When they spread us out, due to the people we have who missed the game, we were at a huge disadvantage. At one time, we had three true freshmen - Bobby Hill, Derrick Jones and Tony Conner - covering their stud wide receivers when they went 11 personnel."

The downhill LSU run game never really got going downhill, no matter who the Tigers tried at TB.

"We did a nice job against their run game. They hit us with some runs, but they were not gashing us. We forced them to pass and kept a decent amount of pressure on their QB in those situations," Wommack explained. "They were never able to really get us to overpopulate the box to stop their run and make their play-action stuff effective."

Wommack knew the Rebels would not stop the LSU offense cold, but he thought he could entice them into doing some things that would benefit the Rebel cause.

"There were times they would get in a rhythm and we'd stack the box, but we'd get out of that pretty quickly once we slowed down their run game," he stated. "This was a scary game, to be honest.

"They are very, very good on offense. We are very depleted on defense. But I will say this - none of our kids, all week, hung their heads. Not a single kid in that locker room went into that game thinking we were going to lose. I credit Coach (Hugh) Freeze with that. He is a great motivator of young men."

Wommack also credited DL Coach Chris Kiffin.

"We have three main defensive ends out and Chris moved Bryon Bennett outside from tackle and taught him how to play that position in one week. Bryon had a very solid game and that's a credit to him and Kiff," Wommack noted.

The spark the Rebel defense needed came in the form of three first-half interceptions and the fact the Rebel defense shut out LSU's offense in the first half for the first time this year.

"Every play we made early in the game helped our confidence and carried us through the game. Those interceptions were huge for our confidence and momentum," said Wommack. "When you can shut out an offense like LSU's, it gives you the feeling you are going to finish strong and see the whole game through."

A week ago, the Rebs watched helplessly as A&M hit a field goal on the last play of the game to win by three.

This time, the shoe, literally, was on the other foot, Andrew Ritter's foot.

What was Wommack thinking as he watched Ritter's kick?

"I was praying - hard," he smiled.

Prayers answered. . . .

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