This was a classic trap game. Sandwiched between the big rival of Tennessee and the revenge game of Auburn was the worst road game of the year and it looked it. By worst, I don’t mean in terms of competition but in terms of quality. It’s a horrible trip because it’s a long bus ride from Tupelo to Oxford from the game, the stadium is small so that won’t get you amped up, and it’s hard to get excited when playing a bad team like Ole Miss. Urban Meyer was concerned about players not being ready to play, and he was justified.
Rece Davis of ESPN called it “Hangover Saturday,” and that’s what we saw. There were 14 penalties, some defensive lapses, and overall uneven play. We had receivers dropping balls and running wrong routes. The play calling was conservative, perhaps not to give much away for later, and so screens and runs up the middle ruled the day.
Now, it’s hard to find fault with Tim Tebow’s performance from a statistical standpoint, especially since he, Percy Harvin, and Kestahn Moore were the only offensive players who showed up fully ready to play (Derrick Harvey was the only one on defense, by the way). However, Ole Miss dropped 8 in coverage and Tebow took off running a lot of times when his first or second option wasn’t open. For a young player in his first year starting, that’s perfectly normal. However, it could be a concern against future secondaries, especially LSU’s.
In the end, I think everyone is just happy to get out with a win. We’ve got one more home game before the big test in Louisiana to get some things straightened out. I’m not dismissing Auburn, but those Tigers are looking a lot more tame after losing at home to USF and Mississippi State. Hopefully, with future road contests being later in the day we won’t be showing up sluggish. It’s best to put this one behind us.