Ole Miss improved to 3-1 after a 38–17 win over Kent State, but if ever a 38-17 win felt disheartening it was this one.
It’s hard to find reasons to be optimistic about SEC play after watching a first half that ended with a 7-7 halftime score against a middling MAC opponent. The win doesn’t inspire much confidence heading into a date with LSU.
The Kent State Golden Flashes still gained yards too easily at times, and now the offense seems to be struggling, too, as the Rebels couldn’t get it going in the game’s first two quarters.
Thankfully, Jordan Ta’amu and his receivers finally returned to form in the second half, but the struggles in the first half are worrisome. Kent State’s defense, ranked 108th in Total Defense before the game, isn’t good, and the Rebels couldn’t score for 30 minutes.
Phil Longo’s offense has a hot/cold nature to it that is confusing. How can the same team that at times makes scoring touchdowns look easier than walking to the mailbox be held to two touchdowns over six quarters?
Maybe it was just a lingering hangover from the loss to Alabama, but Ole Miss can’t afford for its offense to be off, even for a half, in SEC play.
On the bright side, the Rebels defense looks like it is still trying to get better, which is a good sign after terrible performances against Southern Illinois and Alabama. The multiple sacks of Kent State’s QB were a positive, as was holding the Flashes to 17 points. The Rebs were not inspiring memories of the Steel Curtain by any means, but the positives are enough to give Matt Luke and Wesley McGriff some small building blocks to work with going forward.
The fear is that Ed Orgeron’s LSU Tigers are going to take those building blocks and smash them into a powder so fine that any net positive from this win over Kent State will evaporate into the Baton Rouge night air.
Unfortunately, I did not see enough from the Ole Miss defense to make me think that won’t happen.
But Ole Miss is 3-1, so I guess that’s good.