'D' Carries Load Until 'O' Kicked In

ATLANTA, Ga. - The Rebels won 35-13, but the way it transpired could not have been predicted. The Rebel defense played four solid quarters and kept Ole Miss in the game by keeping Boise's offense in check. The offense played "awful" for nearly three quarters and then chimed in to run away with the game.

For the Ole Miss defense, it was a tale of four quarters of solid play.

For the Rebel offense, it was a tale of two halves, and that's being kind.

"I was proud of the way we played," said Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack. "There are things we can improve on, but overall, it was a real solid effort."

Dave liked the Red Zone play.

"We made some big plays in the Red Zone to keep Boise out of the end zone a couple of times in the first half while the game was still tight," he said. "I thought that kept them from gaining any momentum and allowed us to stay in a rhythm."

The Reb defense forced four turnovers in the form of interceptions by Senquez Golson, Cody Prewitt,C.J. Johnson and Tony Conner.

"Turnovers have been a big point of emphasis for us since last year," Dave continued. "I thought our guys were flying around and causing a lot of disruption. We didn't always sack the quarterback, but we hit him a lot and caused some bad throws were able to pick of.

"I thought those were pressure interceptions, caused by us getting after their QB and the secondary guys did a nice job of getting the ball when it was in the air and of target."

The Rebel defensive boss was also pleased with the way he was able to play a lot of players and how they all, basically to the man, performed.

Ole Miss DT Robert Nkemdiche.

"We put some guys out there who have never played before and they jumped in there and got the job done," he said. "Guys like Tayler Polk, who hasn't gotten a lot of reps, but did a good job. We lost Serderius Bryant for the game when he was ejected, and Keith Lewis got shaken up so Tayler was next up and he did a good job. He knew what to do and executed.

"We rotated a lot of guys on the front and they all performed the way we anticipated. Our secondary did a good job of keeping their receivers in front of them and going after the ball when it was in the air, and we used quite a few kids back there too, a couple who had never played before. We are going to need them all as the season progresses. We are going to get some hot games, starting most likely, next week against Vanderbilt in an afternoon game."

Dave did a have a disappointment or two along the way, but nothing that can't be fixed.

"I give credit to their big running back. I thought about him all summer - he's an NFL back in my mind, but having said that, I thought at times we didn't do a very good job of containing him and wrapping him up when we had the chance," Dave stated. "They were a scrappy offense with excellent coaches. I knew it would be a battle, but I thought we handled it well."

Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner called the offensive production a tale of two halves.

"I told the guys at halftime there was no way we could play any worse than we did in the first half," said Werner.

Truer words were never spoken. The Rebel offense had three interceptions, seven false starts and couldn't generate much running game.

"In the first half, we were going on a quick count and their defensive line was yelling 'shift,' and it caused us to jump," he explained. "In the second half, we went to a silent count and just went on ball movement and that helped clean those up.

"One of the interceptions was a great play by their DB. The other two were just poor decisions. We got them fixed at halftime and I think Bo (Wallace) threw for around 300 yards in the second half. We didn't run the ball as well as we had hoped, but they committed a lot of players to the box. Once we started executing in the passing game and could back them of a bit, we were able to get the run game going a little bit."

Once the Rebs quit jumping offsides and once Wallace settled into a groove, things started clicking.

"We were getting single coverage all night and we finally took advantage of it in the last part of the third quarter and the fourth quarter," Dan said. "Once we settled down, although it took us too long to get there, we played real good offensively."

Dan had special mention for Slot Receiver Cody Core, who caught two TD passes on the night.

"His Mom passed away this summer and he has been through a lot," Dan noted. "To see him come out and perform like he did, when he wasn't even a starter when August practice started, was special to me. He's been through so much and to see him have that kind of impact on the team was nice."

Although Werner saw a lot of room for improvement, he's a veteran coach who will take wins any way he can get them.

"There's no question we have a lot of work to do, a lot of things to clean up, but a win is and win and I am happy with the way it ended," he closed.


1-0 is 1-0 is 1-0.

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