Defense Holds on to Defeat Offense in Grove Bowl

By Brian Scott Rippee

OXFORD, Miss. - Ole Miss' defense topped its offense, 27-21, in the Rebels' 2018 annual Grove Bowl on a chilly afternoon at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

The modified format scrimmage began with the defense being spotted 27 points with the offense trying to catch that score over the course of four quarters.

The first and second teams were matched up together as the offense donned red, the defense sported blue and the quarterbacks and specialists wore white.

The offense scored three times, two by way of D.K. Metcalf touchdown passes from Jordan Ta'amu. The first came on a 53-yard deep ball down the sideline on the third drive of the game. Metcalf created separation from defensive back D.D. Bowie and Ta'amu put the throw on the money. The second came came on a three-yard back shoulder fade in which Metcalf maneuvered around the sideline and made a fine play on the ball.

The offense' final touchdown came in the third quarter on a Jordan Ta'amu keeper. The defense was able to keep the offense out of the end zone for the remainder of the game to seal the victory in a scrimmage that serves at the culmination of spring football.

"We got a lot of good reps today," head coach Matt Luke said. "We saw some good stuff on tape in some tough conditions. Overall, I thought it was a good day."

Ole Miss held out a number of players as a precaution stemming from some nagging, yet minor injuries. It gave Luke and the coaching staff a chance to look at some younger players as this team tries to build depth heading into next fall.

"A lot of players got better and I think that is what the spring is for," Luke said. "Young guys that are inexperienced get in there and get reps. I thought that happened on both sides of the football."

Mohamed Sanogo led the defense with five tackles. Kam White and Art Mitchell had an interception and Willie Hibbler recorded a sack for the defense. Brendan Williams and Donta Evans combined for a sack as well. Ta'amu was 12-of-20 for 190 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Junior college transfer running back Scottie Phillips rushed for 40 yards on nine carries.

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