Ole Miss coach Matt Luke has watched every game Missouri has played this season, and he was no doubt excited by the way Wyoming ran wild against the Tigers in their season opener.
It should have portended good things for the Rebels’ own vaunted rushing attack.
But the more Luke looked at the video, the more he realized most of that yardage came on a couple of big runs. And a whole lot has transpired since that night in Laramie, including four straight wins by Missouri that have been highlighted by a vastly improved defense.
“It was similar to our Vanderbilt game for us, breaking those big runs back-to-back,” Luke said of the Cowboys’ performance. “It happened pretty quick. But they are very stout against the run.”
The Tigers (4-1, 1-0) had better be stout when Ole Miss (3-3, 2-1) comes calling Saturday.
The Rebels have run for 692 yards the past two games, a loss to Alabama and a win over Vanderbilt, the most in any two-game span since the school gained 754 yards against LSU and Tennessee in 1977. They also nearly had three 100-yard rushers in last week’s game 31-6 rout of the Commodores. Quarterback John Rhys Plumlee had 165 yards and a touchdown, Jerrion Ealy ran for 97 yards and another score, and Snoop Cooner added 91 yards and yet another touchdown.
That doesn’t even include Scottie Phillips, who is likely to handle the biggest workload.
“The different ways they attack you, whether it’s misdirection, the inside-outside zone action — all the different ways, schematically, that they present themselves,” Missouri coach Barry Odom said, “if your eyes are in the wrong spot, you’re going to get gashed and they’re going to get some yards.”
It doesn’t help Odom’s cause that he’ll be without Cale Garrett going forward. The senior linebacker picked off two passes and returned one for a touchdown in last week’s win over Troy, but later found that he had torn a pectoral tendon and will miss the rest of the season.