Ole Miss wins big, but don’t get distracted by the score…the defense is as ugly as ever

That’s a long headline, but I had to give you the whole story. Scoring 76 points in a game is usually fun, but when your defense allows 41 points and 629 yards to an FCS team the red alert/danger lights start to flash.

Short of a miraculous turnaround by the defense, this is going to be a loooong season.

Don’t get me wrong, Jordan Ta’amu and NWO will still be worth the price of admission, but they will need to score 80 points a game for Ole Miss to beat SEC teams, and that’s just not likely.

Frankly, I’m tired of the excuses on defense, and I think most of you are, too.

This is year two of trying to “fit gaps” and “get the eyes right” (year three if you count Wommack’s last season) and it’s still not happening.

Ole Miss isn’t getting its money’s worth from defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff. One of the country’s highest paid coordinators is about to give us a second consecutive season of fielding one of the country’s worst defenses. If I pay top dollar for something I expect results. Surely to goodness Ross Bjork feels the same way.

Something has to give or we are about to watch Ole Miss get steamrolled by 8 straight SEC teams.

It’s a darn shame, too, because as bad as the defense is, the offense is the same amount of amazing. With just a regular ol’ below average defense, Ole Miss could score enough points to beat almost anybody.

But this defense is so far below average that it’s not even funny.

An FCS team scored 38 points on the Rebels in a single half. It’s punter forgot how to kick before he ever saw the field. The Salukis rushed for 241 yards and passed for 388 more.

That’s atrocious against a Power Five conference team, much less a school from the Missouri Valley Conference. This will go down as the best FCS offensive performance against an SEC team ever. That’s right, the Ole Miss defense is historically bad.

And on this night, Ole Miss was completely unprepared.

Here’s what McGriff was expecting in Saturday’s game:

Wrong.

While it may have appeared that way based on the 295 yards that Southern Illinois gained against Murray State a week ago, just a modicum of research on the Salukis would have shown McGriff that Southern Illinois had a good, experienced quarterback with a history of 300-yard games. I saw it myself in the Salukis pregame notes, and I even pondered it in my pregame blog.

The Ole Miss defense looked like a deer trapped in the headlights in the first half. They were completely unprepared for a passing offense, and that falls squarely on McGriff and the other coaches.

Fortunately for all of us, Southern Illinois ran out of gas in the 2nd half, and fortunately for us, Jordan Ta’amu looks like a video game quarterback out there.

But Ole Miss won’t escape SEC teams with a defense like that.