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We take a quick look at the insanity that unfolded in Oxford on Saturday.
Number of games we should have lost last night. Sometime in the early fourth quarter, the BAS* kicked in and that old familiar feeling crept in: "here we go again." Then somehow we did the unthinkable: we actually snatched victory from the jaws of defeat after doing the complete opposite for the past fifteen years or so. It feels pretty good now that the sheer novelty of it has started to fade.
*Battered Aggie Syndrome
The most appropriate number imaginable to describe our red zone offense. It is nothing but a steaming pile of it right now and will need to be fixed ASAP. It's...bad.
Consecutive weeks with a defensive touchdown. I can't remember when the last time this happened was. There were complete seasons over the past decade where we didn't have three total defensive touchdowns. Mark Snyder's defense definitely needs some work (cough cough secondary cough) but they definitely know how to feed off momentum and OH HEY WE WROTE ABOUT THIS IN AUGUST, LOOK!
Fumbles lost. One of them was on Johnny, which just added to the general malaise of his evening, but the other three were by seniors and team leaders: Harris, Swope, and Michael. If this is just a random occurrence, it's pretty bothersome, but if it's an actual problem it's quite disturbing. It was one of the more alarming numbers on the night, especially after having only one turnover through the first sixteen quarters this year.
Tackles for loss by the defense. Ole Miss ran 92 plays. This was pretty uncharacteristic for this year's defense and will need to improve by next week. Louisiana Tech's offense is potent.
Turnovers. Repeat ad nauseum. Inexcusable and baffling, etc. etc. How did we win again?
EZ. Where did he go? He had one catch for -3 yards. He has been streaky this year: when he's on he's unstoppable but at times he seems to be a non-factor. Last night was one of those times.
Catches by Mike Evans. He quietly had another 100 yard receiving game last night, including the brilliant catch on 3rd-and-forever out of our own end zone in the fourth quarter that led to our second-to-last TD. He and Manziel are obviously on the same page, and he's exactly the type of dependable receiver that is a must-have to compete in the SEC. This guy is good.
Third down conversions allowed, for the second week in a row. Ole Miss was over 50% on the night. Part of this is that we're getting into conference play, but it would still be nice to see a lower number next week.
How awesome Ben Malena is on a scale of one to ten. He's always been a very dependable player, but last night he put the offense on his shoulders and racked up 142 yards on the ground. And he didn't fumble, either.
Volume in my living room when Toney Hurd, Jr. intercepted Bo Wallace at the end of the game. I was so conditioned to being on the other side of that emotional roller coaster that I really didn't know what to do other than laugh and be incredulous, with some colorful language peppered in. Seriously, Ole Miss fans, we feel for you. We really do. Your team is definitely better than we had expected.