September 24, 2011
Georgia 27, Ole Miss 13.
If last week was a wake-up call for Houston Nutt's tenure at Ole Miss, today may have been the knockout blow. With their backs against the wall and the athletic director personally promising improvement, the Rebels fell behind by 17 points, went three-and-out seven times, were outgained by nearly 300 total yards and lost for the tenth time in their last eleven SEC games — the eighth time by double digits.
In three games against teams that aren't Southern Illinois, Ole Miss has scored two offensive touchdowns, both by true freshman Donte Moncrief, the first coming in garbage time of last week's 30-7 rout at the hands of Vanderbilt. Today, at least, Moncrief's 38-yard reception from Randall Mackey in the second quarter could have conceivably impacted the outcome. It didn't: That catch, along with a 37-yard grab from fellow freshman Nickolas Brassell, accounted for fully half of the Rebel's passing yards for the entire game — and both plays by themselves accounted for more than the 36 yards the Rebels managed on the ground. Otherwise, Mackey and Zack Stoudt combined to go 10-of-28 passing with 74 yards, two interceptions and four sacks. Ole Miss fans combined for various expressions of denial, anger, bargaining, despair and, in a few cases, acceptance.
The question from here is, how much more can the UM administration — feeling a little heat itself lately — accept before Nutt goes the way of his two most recent predecessors? Ole Miss isn't exactly known for its patience. At this rate, even rebounding next week at Fresno State is looking like a long shot; after that, it's a bye week and consecutive dates with Alabama, Arkansas and Auburn. If bowl eligibility is already off the table by the time the Rebels go into Kentucky on Nov. 5, Nutt may suddenly find himself inhabiting The World of the Uninvested.