The Bulldogs struggles continued against the Ole Miss Rebels and this time they were not able to squeak by with a victory.
I listed our five major keys for the Bulldogs to gain victory and they were as follows: Trust in Jacob Eason, Limit special teams mistakes, win the turnover battle, limit the big plays, and establish the run. However, the inability of the team to complete all of these keys played a large part in the Bulldogs huge loss.
The one key that the Bulldogs were able to complete was trusting in Jacob Eason but he struggled with overthrows and there were also issues of receivers dropping passes. Dropped passes cost the team a lot of points and will definitely be yet another issue that must be addressed.
The fourth key on my list that the Bulldogs had some struggles with was limiting special teams mistakes. In my opinion, The Bulldogs had a bit of an up and down day with this area of emphasis and they were limited to mainly punting and one field goal opportunity to show what they had here.
Marshall Long had an okay day punting the ball, but the Bulldogs struggles in field goal kicking continued. This time, Rodrigo Blankenship handled the kicking duties and missed his only field goal opportunity from 36 yards out. Long also converted a fourth down play, when he threw a 29-yard pass to Sony Michel on a fake punt and that pass ended up being the Bulldogs longest of the day.
The third key that I thought would be very crucial to the Bulldogs was winning the turnover battle. The Bulldogs and Rebels did not force many turnovers, with the Bulldogs forcing one and the Rebels forcing two, but the Rebels have struggled with giving up the ball this year and the Bulldogs needed to take advantage of that. The fact that they were only able to force one turnover meant that the Rebels were having a successful day on offense and were overall very effective.
My number two key for the Bulldogs was limiting big plays and they struggled in this area especially. Chad Kelly was able to absolutely torch the Bulldogs secondary and most of the time Kelly was able to throw a pass up and his receivers were able to go up and get it. Kelly also had a 41-yard run for a touchdown that ended up being the Bulldogs longest run of the day. Ole Miss has an outstanding offense and I knew stopping them would be a tall task for the defense, but what happened Saturday was absolutely pitiful.
Establishing the run against an Ole Miss defense that had struggled against the run in previous games was my number one key for a Bulldogs victory, but they were not able to get the run going until it was too late. Nick Chubb and company were expected to be relied on heavily but they were never able to get anything going. The running game could have opened up the Bulldogs passing game and may have led to a much more different outcome. However, the running game did not get going until the fourth quarter and it was far too late for a Bulldogs comeback by that point. Also, running back Nick Chubb injured his ankle in the game and the timetable for how long he may be out is unknown at this point.
The Bulldogs still have plenty of issues that need to be addressed and if they are not able to get some of these problems handled this week, then their next game against Tennessee may end as bad as this game did.