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Playmaking Ole Miss Defense Stars

By BJ Bennett
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The Rebels have nine sacks and three interceptions in a win over Liberty.

In a matchup that featured two of the top quarterbacks in college football and the return of Hugh Freeze to Oxford, it was the Ole Miss defense that was the story of the day.

Entering Saturday ranked 12th in the SEC, the Rebels starred against Freeze, Malik Willis and the Flames. Ole Miss held Liberty to just 14 total points, the lowest scoring total of the year for the Flames. The Rebels limited Willis, who had 714 passing yards and ten passing touchdowns the past two weeks, to just 173 yards through the air and forced three interceptions. In addition to the trio of picks, Ole Miss added nine sacks, nearly doubling the previous single-game season-high of five.

The Rebels are the only SEC defense this millennium with at least nine sacks and three interceptions in a game.

Ole Miss promptly held Liberty scoreless in three quarters and actually entered halftime with a 21-0 lead.  Though the Flames were able to move the football on the ground, the Rebels consistently made the plays that mattered most, twice intercepting Liberty in the redzone. A.J. Finley had both of those key interceptions, also leading the way with 12 total tackles. Chance Campbell, Cedric Johnson and Sam Williams all had multiple sacks.

Quarterback Matt Corral threw for 324 yards and a touchdown, Jerrion Ealey had 115 yards rushing with two touchdowns and both Dannis Jackson and John Ryhs Plumlee topped 100 yards receiving. That said, the Ole Miss defensive was the difference on Saturday against a Liberty team that was averaging 37.4 points per game. Consistent pressure and timely turnovers were the themes of the game.

Led by Corral, a Heisman Trophy-candidate, the Rebels have one of the best offenses in college football. In their latest game, a playmaking defense was on display, too.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: / Twitter: @BJBennettSports