Ole Miss was not given the victory by the highly touted Wildcats, their defense took it to Kentucky when they won 22-19 with a sack caused by a fumble. The Rebel defense had a solid outing overall, giving up 108 total rushing yards and creating two critical time turnovers.
Transfer linebacker Troy Brown tied the team record in tackles with nine (three solo) during the game. Brown also added a tackle for loss and a pass deflection. Despite being a new face at Oxford, the senior linebacker is considered one of the leaders in a defense that is allowing just 11.8 points per game en route to a 5-0 record.
What was his assessment of the defense after he had the chance to go back and watch the tape?
“We held on. A few turns, but we didn’t break,” Brown said. “I feel like that’s our identity and that’s how we want to play a full game for just four quarters regardless of the situation. You go out there and play your best game with every snap. So we weren’t worrying about what the other side of the ball was doing when we were off the pitch, we were paying attention to our corrections and the things we had to do when we were coming back on the pitch. ‘every time we did that, we took out the next possession and got better.
After picking up a top-ten victory in their first SEC game of the 2022 season, confidence is naturally skyrocketing. For this team, it also builds an indescribable experience as it was truly the first time this team of newly meshed players faced any kind of adversity together.
“We as a team and as a defense know what we can achieve internally and that is what we are working for. But just to get those kind of wins in those nail biters and get a win because it could have gone the other way as easily as our way. So we just learn to take the bumps and the bruises and keep going, playing every game like it’s the last,” Brown said of the confidence that kind of victory brings.
First-Year Defensive Coordinator (full-time) Chris Partridge created a viral moment when the box cameras caught him going wild while jumping up and down with others in the box up top. Did Partridge bring the same energy into the locker room after the big game? You bet.
” He was fired. (He) really wasn’t too many words because he was just screaming in excitement, but you can feel his energy made us grow. So I feel like he was proud of us,” Brown said.
“Not so happy jumps because usually when he yells, he’s yelling at me for something I did wrong,” Brown laughed. “Just seeing him happy like that (and) jumping around without remorse or laughing at what’s around him, what he’s spilling like that. It’s a good time and we want him to have more of those feelings.
Head Coach Ole Miss Lane Kiffin and his defense applauded the crowd for selling out a game with 65,000 tickets available. Is it because he cares how many people actually show up for the game? Maybe, but more importantly he cares how that crowd affects the outcome of the game.
Same story for Troy Brown when asked about the sold-out environment after Monday’s practice.
“A full crowd just brings our energy to a level that can’t be touched. I feel like once the crowds are in, you feed off their energy. It’s hard for the opposing team to get back into the game when you have constant noise in your ear or just constant ranting and shouting. It’s hard to really focus when you have that kind of atmosphere around you,” Brown said of home-field advantage.
Looking ahead to the next Ole Miss game, they start again at a different time. The Rebels have now played in several games that started at completely different times. Rebel fans won’t be thrilled with another 11 a.m. kick-off on VHS, but that’s not the case for the senior transfer.
“For me, I like to wake up and play,” Brown revealed. “Previously, being from the MAC (conference), I played games on Wednesdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays like any time of the day. Whenever you call and schedule the game for that time, I’ll be ready to get dressed and go.
The Rebels hit the road next week to take on Vanderbilt on Saturday, October 8. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. and can be seen on SEC Network or listened to on Ole Miss Radio Network. Inside The Rebels will be on hand to provide updates, notes, facts, observations and more.