The Vols found out the hard way that you don’t go on the road against the No. 3 Ole Miss Rebels without a great offensive gameplan.
Saturday, Tennessee matched up against the Rebels in what looked like an even game through the first quarter. Despite a scoreless struggle in the first quarter, the Vols drew first blood by scoring a 27-yard field goal from Aaron Medley.
Unfortunately for the Vols, those were the last points that they scored all night.
Despite a great defensive effort from the Vols, specifically Cam Sutton, A.J. Johnson, Corey Vereen, and Derek Barnett, the young team ultimately surrendered 34 points to the Ole Miss offense. However, the defense played far better than the box score indicates.
Bo Wallace was only 13-28 for 199 yards and two touchdowns. The way that they Rebels managed such a lopsided victory was the inept Tennessee offense that gave the Ole Miss offense a short field.
Despite a career day from Josh Malone (five receptions for 75 yards), the Vols offense failed to generate a consistent drive due to the weak link on their team, the offensive line.
The offensive line has been an issue for the Vols all year, and injuries and replacement players made the 2014 Ole Miss Rebels into the 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide. The line couldn’t hold their blocks in the run or the pass game, and the most telling note of all was that Jacob Gilliam was easily the best offensive lineman on the field for the Vols.
The problem with that is that Gilliam hasn’t played since the season opener against Utah State, where he tore his ACL.
This Vols team wasn’t expected to get a win on the road against a tough Ole Miss team, and they aren’t expected to beat Alabama, but they will need to manage three more wins if this team is hoping to squeak into a bowl game in December.
Edited by Maggie Jones