The Tulsa Golden Hurricane (2-1) may be the toughest opponent No. 16 Ole Miss Rebels (3-0) has faced yet and that’s mainly because Tulsa’s offense has something stronger than a pulse (I’m looking at you, Georgia Tech).
The Golden Wave leads the nation with 413 yards passing per game after three games, including a double overtime loss to Wyoming, a narrow victory over Northern Illinois and a blowout win over Jacksonville State. Those teams aren’t juggernauts, but neither are the three cupcakes Ole Miss has played.
The Ole Miss defense, meanwhile, is 2nd to only Georgia in points allowed per game (4.3) after three games against admittedly subpar competition none of which can pass the ball around like Tulsa. The Rebels are tied for 4th in the country in sacks (13).
So if you’re looking for some intrigue in this Saturday afternoon contest here it is:
Will the Ole Miss defensive domination continue against a good offense?
After two games against inferior competition it’s difficult to get a read on just how good Ole Miss can be.
We know the Rebs have a couple talented running backs and we think the defense might be pretty good, but even those thoughts are subject to scrutiny until Ole Miss faces a team with Power Five level talent.
Enter the Georgia Tech Ramblin Wreck – a team that just broke a seven game losing streak a week ago against Western Carolina in not so convincing fashion.
While Georgia Tech isn’t the greatest Power Five team ever, it’s definitely a step up from Troy and a big step up from Central Arkansas.
Thanks to those two cupcakes Lane Kiffin and his staff enjoyed two extra weeks of preseason preparation to get ready for Tech.
In those two weeks we saw Zach Evans and Quinshon Judkins run for a bunch of yards and we saw what appears to be a feisty defense.
What we haven’t seen is a QB establish himself as the starter and on a somewhat related note we haven’t seen domination from the wide receiver unit – a couple amazing catches by Jonathan Mingo notwithstanding.
So the Rebels still have a lot to prove on the road in Atlanta starting with Jaxson Dart and Luke Altmyer.
As good as Evans and Judkins are they can’t do it by themselves against SEC competition.
That’s why Ole Miss really needs to develop a downfield passing attack in the next couple weeks.
If one of those two guys can become “the guy” and establish a passing game to compliment the rushing attack then Ole Miss could be headed to double digit wins this season.
That’s the hope anyway.