In the second game of two Chick-Fil-A Kickoff games in Atlanta at Mercedes Benz Stadium, the Ole Miss Rebels dismantle the Louisville Cardinals 43-24. The Rebels were clicking on all levels in their season opener.
Ole Miss was down their head coach Lane Kiffin due to covid, but that didn’t matter. The Rebel’s offense racked up 569 yards of total offense, and their defense forced two turnovers. Ole Miss starting quarterback Matt Coral picked up right where he left off last season. Coral went 22 of 32 for 381 yards, one passing touchdown, one rushing touchdown, and had 55 yards rushing with 12 carries. Senior wide receiver Dontario Drummond was the main target for Coral. Drummond had nine catches for 177 receiving yards and a touchdown. The Rebels had a total of eight different players catch passes, and six of those eight players caught two or more passes.
The Rebels defense also came up big in this game. They had two turnovers, seven tackles for loss, and two sacks in the game. The Rebels’ defense also provided constant pressure on Louisville’s quarterback Malik Cunningham. It was an all-around effort for the Rebels and a great way to start their season.
While Ole Miss had a great night, Louisville had a miserable night. Offensively, they couldn’t find anything in the passing game. It seemed like Cunningham was running for his life, and wide receivers couldn’t get consistently open. The offense was doing so poorly in the first half. At halftime, Cunningham led the team in rushing, passing, and receiving. However, even though he played hard all night, he also had his fair share of struggles. Cunningham threw an interception and missed quite a few throws that he should’ve completed with ease.
Louisville’s head coach Scott Satterfield felt the team had a lack of execution and late adjustments. He spoke about it in detail in his post-game presser.
“We never got in a rhythm in the first half. We never got the sticks moving,” head coach Scott Satterfield said after the game. “And I think obviously when you do that like we did in the second half, then everybody feels more comfortable, and you’re in more of a rhythm, and you can move the football and go score points.”
Lack of execution on the players and coaches not being able to adjust their play-calling will be a long season for the Louisville Cardinals. However, one positive thing they can take away is that most of the ACC struggled in the opening weekend, so every team needs improvements after week one.
In two weeks, Louisville will have a tune-up game against Eastern Kentucky on Sept.11 before they welcome Central Florida to Cardinal stadium. Mississippi will have to clean up their penalties, as they had 14 in this game, but as long as their defense and quarterback play as well as they did in their opener, they can contend in the SEC West.