Ole Miss obliterates Louisiana-Lafayette

Published 6:55 pm Saturday, November 11, 2017

OXFORD (AP) — Four weeks ago, Ole Miss quarterback Jordan Ta’amu could walk around campus without being noticed. That is no longer the case.

When starting quarterback Shea Patterson went down with a season-ending knee injury against LSU, Ta’amu was forced into the starting position. In three starts, the juco transfer from New Mexico Military Institute has been nothing short of brilliant.

Ta’amu threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more as the Rebels scored on their first five possessions Saturday to defeat Louisiana-Lafayette 50-22.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“He’s like a point guard in basketball,” said interim Ole Miss coach Matt Luke. “He’s got to distribute the ball to the players that can make it happen.

“We’re fortunate here to have two really outstanding quarterbacks. Jordan is really playing well.”

Ta’amu finished 28-of-36 for 418 yards, opening with nine consecutive completions, and was 14-of-15 midway through the first half. Ta’amu added scoring runs of 1 and 8 yards as the Rebels (5-5, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) raced to an insurmountable 35-7 lead early in the second quarter.

“It doesn’t matter who you are playing. When your quarterback takes you for touchdowns on the first five possessions, that’s pretty impressive,” Luke said. “We were sharp in the first half.”

In three starts and six appearances, Ta’amu is 86-of-117 for 1,246 yards and seven touchdowns, with another four touchdowns on the ground. Since he is the first Hawaiian, a native of Pearl City, in the Ole Miss program, his attention factor has increased significantly.

“It’s a lot of fun with our receivers and backs. I trust them,” Ta’amu said. “A.J. (Brown) had a a great day today. A.J. is always going to do more than I expect when he has the ball.

Brown had 14 receptions for 185 yards, including touchdown catches of 31 and 27 yards. DaMarkus Lodge opened the early surge with a 37-yard touchdown reception. Jordan Wilkins and Eric Swinney added scoring runs of 8 and 10 yards, respectively.

Louisiana-Lafayette (4-5, 3-2 Sun Belt) scored on a 31-yard run by Raymond Calais during the first half surge by the Rebels. Reserve quarterback Jordan Davis added fourth quarter scoring runs of 10 and 31 yards.

The Rebels finished with 641 yards of total offense, 441 in the first half. Louisiana-Lafayette finished with no turnovers and 437 yards of total offense.

“We knew coming in that 22 points would not be enough,” Louisiana-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth said. “They’re outstanding, especially offensively. They’ve got a lot of weapons and we could not slow them down enough in the first half.”