Ole Miss' 38-17 victory over LSU had very few major flaws

Both Ole Miss coordinators said there were things the Rebels could have done better in the 38-17 win over visiting LSU, but they will take a three TD victory over a rival any day, any week, any year and be happy.

Rebel Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner said the Rebel offense left some points and plays on the field, but all-in-all, it was hard to complain about the 38-point, 432-yard effort with no turnovers effort.

"Any time you play a defense the caliber of LSU's, you are a little nervous going into the game, but I am very proud of our guys and the way they played," noted Werner. "Chad (Kelly) distributed the ball really well and took care of the ball. He made good decisions and even the throws he was off on nobody else could catch them but our guys.

"There were still plays we left out there that cost us drives, but the good thing to me is that as well as we did, our players thought we could have played a lot better, which means they are still striving to improve and get better, even after a pretty good game that will get you plenty of wins.

"When you win a game against a great defense like theirs and your guys are a little upset they didn't do more, that's when you know you are going in the right direction."

The key drive to Werner was after LSU cut a 24-0 deficit to 24-17 midway through the third quarter. The Rebs responded with an 83-yard march capped by an 11-yard Kelly run to make the score 31-17 and regain the momentum they had lost.

"We mixed things up pretty good and just ran our offense. It was huge. We knew we had to do something and our guys executed and did what they needed to do," he added. "It made me feel good to see us have some urgency and be aware of how important that drive was. Our guys have bought into our stuff and are executing it."

The next time the Rebs got the ball, they faced a 3rd-and-15 from the LSU 36 and hit a screen pass to TE Evan Engram that went all the way for the final score of the game late in the third stanza.

"That's a play Coach Freeeze has been wanting to call for a couple of weeks. He said to call that play, we called it and it was perfect for that situation. Evan had clear sailing with some great blocks from our wideouts and a lineman downfield," Werner added. "It was a great call by Coach Freeze."

Again, the Rebels had a solid run game going, running for 152 yards, but LSU controlled the ball 36:15 minutes to 23:45 for Ole Miss.

"We were good in spurts. Like I said, we left plays on the field, but we made enough big plays to call it a good game," he closed.

Dave Wommack's defense gave up a lot of yards (508) but LSU never really got in a rhythm, at least a winning rhythm. They had flashes, but the Rebs semi-controlled Leonard Fournette, they were good in the Red Zone, they caused a couple of key turnovers and they didn't allow the passing game to hurt them substantially.

"It is a better feeling than the last time I was in here (Arkansas). I am so proud of these seniors and the effort they gave," noted Wommack. "We had several guys (C.J. Hampton, Denzel Nkemdiche, Fadol Brown, D.J. Jones, Tony Bridges at times) out and the guys who filled in did an excellent job.

"DeMarquis Gates had 14 tackles and gets better every week. Chief Brown, a senior, stepped up big and made plays. Our whole defense gang-tackled Leonard Fournette, who I think is a special, special player, one of the best I have ever seen."

The Rebels loaded up on the run, like Arkansas and Alabama did against the Tigers, and forced LSU to throw. The Tigers were 26-51 with two picks good for 324 yards, but it may have been the most anemic, non-factoring 324 yards in the history of college football.

"We were going to make them beat us with the pass. We didn't stop their run, but we controlled it and made them throw it. This time around, we were able to do a better job in coverage than we did against Arkansas and actually made some plays."

What was the difference?

"We got back to basics and fundamentals in the off week and our DBs played with better technique," Dave added. "We had a blown coverage in the first half with a young guy, but that happens at times when you have to throw a young one in there."

Wommack employed a five-man front a lot and LSU played right into his hands.

"We jammed the line of scrimmage and got more than one hat on Fournette. We played our responsibilities and didn't try to do too much," he closed. "I was very happy with the way we competed and performed."

Neither the offense nor the defense was perfect, but both were fairly complete and that was good enough to send the Bayou Bengals home with their tails tucked between their legs. 

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