OXFORD- An outstanding effort. A hard-fought game. A battle between two talented teams. All of this made for an entertaining game, but also Ole Miss fans left heartbroken as #23 California left Oxford with a huge 28-20 victory in a controversial ending. Here’s the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from the Rebel’s loss on Saturday.
Good: The run defense was utterly outstanding. Against a Cal team that came into Oxford averaging close to 200 yards a game on the ground, the Rebels held the Golden Bears to sixty yards on 33 carries, which came out to 1.8 yards a carry. Mike Macintyre has done a phenomenal job transforming a defense that was one of the worst in the country against the run last season.
Good: The offense continues to impress on the ground from years prior. Ole Miss gained 177 yards on the ground on 38 carries, which means the Rebels averaged 4.7 yards per carry. Against a stout Cal defense, this was a great sight to the Ole Miss faithful that has suffered through multiple years of mediocrity on the ground.
Bad: Normally, I am not one to call out the officiating in a game, especially at the collegiate level. However, the Pac-12 and the crew has some explaining to do. After reviewing many angles, I do not believe Elijah Moore crossed the goal line with the end of the ball. However, in a situation where a potential scoring play takes multiple angles to come to a conclusive decision, how in the world does the crew not stop that for a review?
Bad: Matt Luke has to be better in situational decisions, along with Rich Rodriguez needing to be better with situational playcalling. Why, in a 15-point game with nine minutes left where your offense has struggled in the second half, would the field goal unit coming out be the best play? Even if it was made, the deficit is still twelve, which leaves the game at two scores with eight minutes to play against an offense that has moved the ball at will in the third quarter. Along with it, the timeout on the fourth-and-one at midfield proved costly, especially with Rodriguez calling a run on first-and-goal with a minute left now not having timeouts. This led to the frantic ending and the poor QB sneak on the final play.
Ugly: The pass rush and secondary did not hold up their end of the bargain with the run defense. California realized in the second half that they could throw the ball all over the field, and the Rebel defense was powerless to stop it. Chase Garbers ended up completing 66 percent of his passes for 357 yards and four touchdowns. It is apparent that the talent up front is run-stopping oriented, and the secondary much needs an influx of talent in the coming years.
Ugly: LUKE. LOGAN. The mediocrity has to improve immediately. 2/4 with a missed kick on the first drive of the game and the 29-yarder in the fourth. Even with Matt Luke’s questionable decision, if he nails both kicks, the offense would have then put Logan in position for a 27-yard or better field goal. He has to be better or the Rebels will continue to lose close games going into SEC play.