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Matt Luke: Penalties and Negative Yardage Hurt Rebels Against A&M

Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke. Photo by Steven Gagliano

Ole Miss Head Coach Matt Luke met with the media on Monday as the Rebels prepare for an in-state rivalry with Mississippi State on Thanksgiving night.
The Rebels are coming off of a hard-fought 31-24 loss to the Aggies of Texas A&M on Saturday night. After a seesaw first half that saw both offenses swapping scores and chewing up yardage, the Aggies took control of the game in the last two quarters.
“We got behind the chains a bunch,” Luke said. “Typically, we haven’t been very good when we’ve been behind the chains, and I don’t think any offense is. You can’t have penalties. You can’t have negative yardage plays. And, obviously, the turnover for a touchdown was the difference in the game. Then maybe a little bit of the wind affecting the ball down the field … I think that affected both offenses in the second half.”
Landshark Texas A&M
Fans had plenty to cheer about in the first half against Texas A&M, but penalties took a toll, especially in the fourth quarter. Photo by Derek Moreton

The Rebel defense turned up the heat after halftime, but Ta’amu threw an interception that the Aggies’ Derrick Tucker returned for six points in the third quarter, giving A&M their first lead of the game. Texas A&M’s offense only managed to score on one field goal in the second half.
“Watching the tape, we got off blocks better,” Luke said. “We weren’t just in our gaps. We got off blocks and made plays. Our DBs pressed a little more and challenged the receivers a little more. I was happy to see that. We got a turnover and basically held them to three points in the second half. I was really pleased with the strides. Our challenge this week is to put our total game together. We’ve got one last game. We have four days together. Let’s go and play our best game collectively this week.”
During the game, a few Rebels got banged up and won’t see any Egg Bowl action.
“Alex Givens is going to be out,” Luke said. “He’s in the concussion protocol, and because of the quick turnaround, there’s not going to be enough time to get him back. D’Vaughn Pennamon is probably going to have surgery in the next two to three weeks. It’s a pretty significant injury. He’ll be out for some significant time. Jordan Ta’amu is fine. He was hit in the throat, but he came back, and he’s been fine.”
Kick off between Mississippi State and Ole Miss is set for 6:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Adam Brown is the sports editor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at adam.brown@hottytoddy.com.
For more questions or comments email us at hottytoddynews@gmail.com

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