As expected, Ole Miss didn't have a lot of resistance from a game, but overmatched, Wofford Terrier squad at newly refurbished Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Saturday afternoon, winning in comfortable fashion, 38-13.
The only drama on this day was when a rain, the threat of which delayed the start of the second half, was going to blow in and how much lightning would accompany it. Turns out, it was a false alarm. Zero wet stuff. Zero yellow stuff.
The Rebels were able to move the ball at will, essentially, while scoring 24 first-half points and limiting Wofford to a lonely, hard-earned field goal with the Rebs liberally substituting on both sides of the ball.
The Terriers' triple option offense did produce some positive momentum for Wofford, but not enough to get Ole Miss fans out of yawn mode and it was definitely temporary. The student section, with the threat of rain, essentially emptied at halftime after being full at the opening kickoff.
The only bummer of the day was an injury to freshman Wide Receiver D.K. Metcalf, rumored during the game to be a broken foot, a rumor that was confirmed by Coach Hugh Freeze postgame. There is no guess yet on whether or not this will cost D.K. the whole year, but that is the likely scenario.
That is troubling news, indeed, especially on the heels of the injuries last week to CB Ken Webster and RB Eric Swinney, but besides that, the game had plenty of notables, mainly players who got their first opportunities at significant playing time.
We'll start with Middle Linebacker Willie Hibbler, moved from TE to MLB last spring, who showed good athleticism and made several tackles in his debut on defense. It is obvious he is a quality athlete who has a bright future in the middle of the Rebel stoppers. He's quick, fast and active.
Freshman Rover Deontay Anderson also got a lot of reps and appeared to have a nose for the ball, making several plays from the deep safety slot and tallying seven tackles, second on the team behind Rommel Mageo, who had eight stops in his first start.
DE Garrald McDowell had his named called a few times on tackles in limited snaps. That's an area that needs another body for 10-12 snaps a game. Is McDowell the possible answer? Maybe, but either way, it was good to get some game film on him to evaluate.
Obviously, there is a constant evaluation of the cornerbacks going on, so it was no surprise to see a lot of Jaylon Jones, Jalen Julius, Cameron Ordway, Kailo Moore, et al. The only problem is that Wofford's offense doesn't really lend itself to getting a good picture of a passing game to defend. While some game reps are better than others, any reps are better than no reps.
On offense, QB Jason Pellerin got a chance to show his wares and looked like a threat to run and he completed a couple of nice passes, including a 12-yard touchdown to freshman A.J. Brown, also an outstanding newcomer who is showing he has an immediate place in the rotation.
Redshirt freshman WR Van Jefferson was used much more than he was against Florida State, giving him some quality opportunities. He also handled punt return duties and while he didn't get a chance to field but one punt for a six-yard return, he looked comfortable in that role.
The run game struggled early on against a seven, and sometimes eight, man box, but as the game wore on, and Wofford got in some more coverage looks, the Rebs rushed for 174 yards and about five yards a tote. Eugene Brazley, Pellerin, D'Vaughn Pennamon and D.K. Metcalf all chipped in a couple of nice runs and Akeem Judd led the way with 64 yards on 11 carries after a slow start.
So, the Rebs did as expected and evened their record to 1-1 overall with number one Alabama headed toward Oxford in the blink of an eye.
The game against Wofford will do them little good against the Tide other than getting a few more players ready to help, but a win is a win and it always leaves a good taste in their mouth.
Vaught_Hemingway was done right. The grass field is immaculate, the video boards are awesome, the sound system is superb and the bowled in look traps teh sound to make a louder environment.
Next Saturday will be a madhouse in the Grove, the stadium will be packed and the Rebels will be looking to make it three in a row against Alabama.
It's expected to be a donnybrook, a battle royal, a game for the ages.
The Rebels will enjoy the Wofford game tonight.
In the morning, all eyes turn to Alabama.
The decibel level in Oxford may be at an alltime high.
The way it should be.