Jeff Scott started the season off with a bang for the Ole Miss Rebels in their season opening win at Vanderbilt with a game-winning 75-yard touchdown run and backed that effort up with a career-high 164 yards at Texas. However, since that game has been the forgotten man in the Rebel offense and after getting injured last week is unlikely to play vs. LSU.
Since the Week 3 game when Scott had 19 carries in the team’s 44-23 win, he has only 18 carries in the following three games. Ole Miss is 0-3 in those games. Scott ranks 11th in the SEC with 434 rushing yards, but for runners with at least 35 carries he leads the conference with an 8.3 yards-per-carry average. This is a tough loss to overcome for the Rebels against a rejuvenated LSU defense.
Sophomore tailback, I’Tavius Mathers received eight carries which was double his previous season high in the heartbreaking loss to the Aggies, and special teams standout, Jaylen Walton led the team with 41 yards on seven carries including 61 yards via the air and a 50-yard touchdown late.
However, the big issue with the run game is that the Hugh Freeze spread offense relies on quarterbacks running the ball. As a result Bo Wallace and Barry Brunetti received 14/33 carries for 51 yards, but against LSU the running backs and Scott if healthy need to be more involved in the game plan to be successful.
LSU held Florida to an average of 2.8 yards on their 40 carries, but the Ole Miss backs are more a different breed than the Gator’s between-the-tackles backs and are more perimeter players which could give the Tigers problems. Even if you’re running for two and three carries a pop showing the run will open up the play-action pass and deep passes when the safeties come down in the box.
Whether its Mathers or Walton as the featured back, Ole Miss needs to show a commitment to the run game and so they are not so one-dimensional and thus much easier to defend.
Failure to run by Ole Miss and you can pass on having a chance to win against LSU.