After nearly two hours of weather delay, the Green Wave and the Rebels were finally able to renew their SEC rivalry of old on Saturday night in Oxford. Willie Fritz’s Tulane team (1-2) was coming in hot off a beatdown of Morgan State while Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss squad (3-0) was riding high off an FCS win of their own. It was a question of whose momentum would best carry over.
Early on the answer became apparent that it was that of Ole Miss. On their opening drive, the Rebels carved through the Wave defense on an 11-play, 75-yard excursion that resulted in a 19-yard scoring run by running back Henry Parish Jr. It would prove to be the first of six rushing touchdowns on the night for Ole Miss however the only one by a running back.
Quarterback Matt Corral would author four more throughout the course of the game and helped ease the Rebels into a comfortable 40-point win at home against a Tulane team that has shown glimpses that they could be giant killers early in this season.
While Ole Miss found the end zone nine total times, the Green Wave only did so just thirce but QB Michael Pratt still had himself a solid showing. Pratt, who still has yet to toss an interception this season, came out with two touchdowns and 166 yards on ten completions.
Pratt would not lead a touchdown drive until Tulane already trailed 14-0. After recovering a fumble inside Ole Miss territory the Wave were finally able to capitalize and score their first touchdown of the evening. Running back Cameron Carroll pushed in from a yard-out on what turned out to be the team’s only rushing score of the night.
Two more Rebels touchdowns that were only answered with a missed field goal, however, made it very clear what kind of night this was going to be for Tulane. For all Pratt and the offense did well, though, they sputtered when it came to third downs. They went just 1-for-11 on third down and 0-for-1 on fourth down in this contest, ultimately giving the ball back to the Rebels too many times.
The Green Wave defense got gashed by Ole Miss as well. The Rebels put up over 700 yards of total offense with a pretty even split of rushing (372) and passing (335) yards. There were just no answers for Corral (403 total yards, seven total touchdowns) and running back Jerrion Ealy (105 yards on 15 carries). Ten different ball carriers ran the ball for Ole Miss and three of them scored.
All in all this loss was understandable for Tulane but perhaps the margin of defeat wasn’t given the effort seen in Oklahoma just a few weeks ago. Tulane’s defense will need to sharpen up before conference play begins in two weeks but let’s remember, this was an SEC opponent.
Some of these numbers are forgivable when you’re playing a team like Ole Miss. One that is not, however, is the 11 penalties the Wave accumulated that cost them 109 yards. Those sorts of mistakes will be a recipe for disaster no matter the competition.
Up Next: Tulane will finally get to return to Yulman Stadium next weekend for their first true home game of the season as they are set to face UAB at 7:00 PM CT.
Ole Miss gets a week off before making the trek to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama on October 2.