By John Macon Gillespie
After giving No. 2 Alabama a scare a week ago, Ole Miss’ offense laid an egg on Saturday in a 33-21 loss to Arkansas.
The Rebels turned the ball over seven times, six of which were interceptions from Matt Corral. Ole Miss also had two drives get inside the Arkansas five-yard line and came away with no points both times. In a reversal of roles, the Rebel defense was the positive takeaway from Saturday, forcing numerous stops and giving the offense a chance to win it late.
Despite the turnover issues, Kiffin stuck with Corral at quarterback, which sends a message to both him and the rest of the team that he is the guy moving forward. As much as the national media wants to see John Rhys Plumlee in the quarterback role, it’s obvious that the new offense does not fit Plumlee’s skillset at signal-caller, and Corral is the way to go for the future.
With that being said, Saturday can’t repeat itself from an offensive perspective. It was probably only a matter of time before the offense came back down to earth a little bit, but with the talent deficiencies on defense, the offense has to be successful in order for Ole Miss to win many games in 2020. Still, this is a year that is perilous with COVID-19 issues and a conference-only schedule, and regardless of what the Rebels’ record is at the end of the season, this program is on the right trajectory and should be regarded as such.
Fortunately for Ole Miss, the rest of their games are still winnable if they can put together a strong performance on both sides of the ball. It’s clear now that this offense isn’t perfect, but we’ve seen what Jeff Lebby’s side of the ball is capable of, and I believe that the duo of Kiffin and Lebby can right the ship after a poor performance this past week.
If you’re an Ole Miss fan, you hope that Saturday was an anomaly and not a schematic weakness that will be exploited for the rest of the season. We’ll see what happens.