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Ole Miss Grades
Posted by Woody Woodruff on Monday September 30 2013 @ 10:01AM CDT
[ The Commissioner's Blog ]
In case you don't have one of those apps on your smart-phone that lets you listen to any radio station in the world-and I do mean anywhere in the world,like the weather and traffic reports from Antarctica-I thought as a public service I would provide readers of The Commissioners Blog some of the calls that were placed to post-game sports talk shows around the SEC this last Saturday:

WJOX: Buddy from Pell City, you're next on Tide Talk, what's on your mind?

Buddy: Hey fellas, how're y'all tonight?

WJOX: Just fine, Buddy, how about you?

Buddy: Good....good....you know, I just got one question, or I guess it's really a comment, sort of, but you know, I don't understand why it is that the officials can throw a flag for a player getting hit by another player on a play and calling it 'targeting' and then the replay officials say it isn't but the penalty still gets imposed. Youknowwhatimean? It just seams to me that they ought to not call the penalty until the official in the booth says it is. YouknowwhatImean?

WJOX: Yeah, Buddy, I think I know what you mean. And this has happened to Alabama twice now, and maybe they will take a look at that rule after the season.

...

WVOL: Soddy Daisy is next....Travis, you're on the air with Vol-Talk.

Travis: Yeah....hey.....Yeah....hey

WVOL: Turn the volume down, Travis

Travis: Is that better?

WVOL: Yeah, thanks....

Travis: Well, I think the Vols can still win the SEC this year, whaday'allthink?

WVOL: Well, Travis, we admire your optimism, but Tennessee still has some work to do to improve and.....

Travis: I can't believe y'all, what a bunch of [bleep]. [bleep] you, you [bleep] [bleep]

...

WGA: Brian in Macon on line 2, you're on The Big Dawg

Brian: I just want to say that Mark Richt is the finest coach in America. He's more than just a great football coach, he's the finest man I can think of, what with all that he does for his wife and kids, and his family situation, and all, and healing people, and how he has turned Aaron Murray into the best quarterback in the SEC, and it just goes to show you that if you are going to be a coach and a great person you got to have standards and that means you might have to kick somebody off the team sometime and Zack Mettenberger can kiss my...

WGA Co-Host: Well thanks for the call Brian, we enjoy hearing from you each week and are glad you have recovered from the Clemson game......

There was another post-game media statement that was interesting. This person did not have to call a radio station, however. Ole Miss quarterback, Bo Wallace, wasted no time taking back the smack-talk he had delivered earlier in the week.

The Rebel signal caller made headlines last Tuesday by comparing the UM wide receivers to those at Texas A&M and declaring that the student athletes to whom he threw passes were far superior to those on the receiving end of Johnny Manziel. And he didn't stop there. Wallace expanded his remarks to include his assessment of Alabama's defensive secondary, which he predicted would be no match for the aerial circus that is the Ole Miss, Hurry Up No Huddle ("HUNH") attack.

Saturday evening, Wallace told reporters that he had been misquoted; his words taken out of context. Those were the only points anyone associated with the Mississippi offense made all evening.

The game of college football evolves over time. Fashions, particularly on offense, come and go. In the present age, HUNH seems to be the cutting edge of societal change. But on a late September evening, in Chamber Of Commerce weather, the Alabama Crimson Tide provided the college football world with a reminder of one of the most basic, and unchanging facts of the game: if the other team does not score, it cannot beat you.

HUNH is supposed to run more plays, spread the field, fling the ball all over the place, ratchet up the tempo of the game and wear the opposing defense out. Let's see how that worked for Admiral Akbar and his Black Bears:

Key statistics:

First Downs: Ole Miss 11 Alabama 21
Passing: Ole Miss 17 of 32 Alabama 25-32
Offensive Plays: Ole Miss 57 Alabama 72
Total Offense: Ole Miss 205 Alabama 434
Net Rushing: Ole Miss 46 Alabama 254
Net Passing: Ole Miss 159 Alabama 180

And this one really stands out:
Possession Time: Ole Miss 21:31 Alabama 38:29

Think about that: Alabama had the football long enough for the Ole Miss offense to complete an on-line course.

Watching the game from the South Zone, it did not seem, in real time, to be the dominating performance documented by the final statistics. At the half, Alabama had less than 40 yards net rushing, and clung to a slim scoring edge thanks to three Cade Foster field goals. The second half, however, started with a 68 yard touchdown run by TJ Yeldon who blasted through a gaping hole created by the Offensive Line. Borrowing a page from the Eddie Lacy playbook, Yeldon put a spin-move on the Rebel safety and ran away from the pursuit to put the Tide up by 16 points.

Ole Miss had two clear TD opportunities in the second half when a horrible officiating call [more later] and an interception, set the Rebs up with possession deep in Tide territory. But the Defense responded ferociously and forced turnovers on downs.

The final score: Alabama 25 - Ole Miss 0. The game was close enough, long enough, for the student section to stay full right to the end of the game; which is a good thing. The Rammer Jammer just sounds better coming from 17,000 young voices.

Here's how I grade the game:

Offense: B AJ set a personal record for completions in a game, with 25, but he threw his third interception of the season to start the 4th quarter. Christion Jones and Kevin Norwood each caught 5 passes, Kenny Bell caught 4 while Amari Cooper, Yeldon and DeAndrew White caught three apiece. Eight different players caught passes.

Yeldon's 121 net rushing yards came on 17 carries. This was Yeldon's 7th 100+ yard rushing performance of his career. He has rushed for more than 100 yards twice so far this season.

Kenyan Drake gained 99 net yards on 12 rushes, including an explosive 50 yard run late in the 4th quarter to end the scoring. Drake's TD was the first play following an Ole Miss free kick that went out of bounds-something that I cannot remember seeing before. Evidently, kicking the ball out of bounds on a free kick following a safety is a 20 yard penalty. Who knew?

Derrick Henry, Jalston Fowler and Altee Tenpenny all had their numbers called in the running game. I am looking forward to seeing more from each of these players this coming Saturday.

The Tide had five offensive possessions that gained 40 or more yards [61, 43, 56, 75, 50] each one resulted in points. Consistency, however, is still an unachieved offensive goal. The drive chart tells the story; Alabama's possessions ended with these results: FG, punt, punt, FG, FG, TD, punt, punt, INT, punt, TD, downs. One of the keys to improved consistency is better production on first down. It seemed that most of the negative plays came on first down. However, the Tide was much better in third down conversions in this game, moving the chains 8 times on 17 possession downs.

Defense: A+ Earlier in the week, CJ Mosley called a players-only meeting. Based on Saturday night's results, Coach Saban should make it a standard feature of the practice week schedule.

Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix lead all defenders with 8 tackles. Mosley recorded 7 stops while Eddie Jackson, Trey DePriest, Jeffrey Pagan, and Jarrick Williams each were credited with 4.

Jackson deserves special mention. The true freshman found himself starting at right corner, and the Ole Miss offensive staff picked on him repeatedly. The results? Three solo tackles, one tackle for lost yardage, two break-ups and an interception.

The Black Bears were able to convert only 4 of 14 third downs, and converted only 1 of 4 attempted conversions on fourth down. The Ole Miss HUNH achieved six punts, three turnovers on downs, a lost fumble, an interception and a safety.

When your defense keeps the other team from scoring, and earns two points with a safety, the offense can spend the game studying for mid-terms.

Special Teams:

Punting: A+ Cody Mandel had an awesome night punting the ball. He averaged 46.2 yards on 5 punts, and downfield coverage was terrific. The safety came on the first play following a punt downed inside the Ole Miss 1.

Place Kicking: A+ Cade Foster was perfect on three field goal attempts including a career high 53 yarder.

Kickoffs: A On six kickoffs, Alabama averaged 48 net yards and Landon Collins is an absolute beast on kick coverage.

Coaching: A Since 2009, the Tide has played an undefeated and nationally ranked team 17 times for a record of 15-2. Ole Miss has not suffered a shut out since its 1998 game against Arkansas; a streak of 151 game. Alabama, under Saban, has held opponents to 10 or fewer points 43 times. Sixty two players are listed in the participation report, and the Tide was penalized 7 times.

Officiating: R As in "R" You Kidding Me? What's with this crew? Twice they threw flags only to later waive them off. But the "targeting" penalty on Jackson was inexcusable. Jackson was actually trying to avoid the UM receiver who had failed to make a catch along the sideline. The Reb player's momentum carried him into Jackson who had turned partially away. Replays clearly showed there was no foul and the officials in the press box reversed the ejection, but Ole Miss nevertheless got 15 free yards and a first down. Fortunately, the Bama defense responded by turning up the intensity, but it will not be long before a big game gets decided because one team is awarded an unearned bonus like that.

Around the league, UT was fortunate to outlast South Alabama, Georgia beat LSU in a shoot-out, A&M beat Arkansas in a game with a combined score of 78 points. Even Vanderbilt scored half-a-hundred. Compared to those gaudy scores, Alabama's 25-0 defeat of Ole Miss seems like a throw back to a bye-gone age.....the distant past when defense won championships....an ancient time....like 2012. It might not be worth calling a radio show, but it's worth writing home about.

See you next week for Homecoming.

The Commissioner



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