Brown Breaks Record in Season Opener

Sept. 2, 2017

By Brian Scott Rippee,

Shea Patterson
was flushed out of the pocket and rolled to his right near the Ole Miss sideline. He spotted A.J. Brown in the middle of the field and threw a rocket across his body.

"Sometimes stuff isn't there and I think that is what separates me from a lot of other guys," Patterson said. "I like to extend plays and make throws down field by making plays with my legs."

Brown took caught it over a defender, broke a tackle and was off to the races for a 77-yard touchdown. It was his second 70 plus yard score in as many drives and it broke the game open for Ole Miss in the second half at 26-10. Brown broke the Ole Miss school record for receiving yards in a game with eight grabs for 233 yards and two touchdowns.

"Just working my man when I get man-to-man and just winning on that man," Brown said. "I just wanted to make a play for Shea. He threw the ball up and we made something happen. Whenever my number gets called I just wanted to make a play."

Brown is flourishing as a slot receiver, a move he made in the spring due to the number of weapons Ole Miss is able to line up on the perimeter.

"I got a lot faster," Brown said. "I feel more comfortable in the slot. It is a lot easier not getting pressed every play."

Ole Miss overwhelmed South Alabama with its size at receiver, and it started with Brown. His career day led all eight Rebels with catches.

I tell you what, he sparked us early in the second half," head coach Matt Luke said. "He made two big-time plays, and that is what good players do, and he sparked us. There have been a lot of good receivers around here, but to have the single-game record, that is pretty special.”

Patterson was 28 for 35 for 429 yards on the night. Over half of Patterson's haul through the air came by way of his sophomore receiver. If Saturday night was any indication, Patterson has the ability to spread it around to number of targets he has across the field. Tonight, Brown was the favorite.

"Someone is going to be open and it's all about finding the right one," Patterson said. "There's always going to be something there, just have to take what they give you."

D.K. Metcalf matched Brown in catches with eight, but Brown picked up large chunks of yardage over the middle of the field and flashed the ability to break tackles after he caught the ball. Brown's size makes him an unusual slot slot receiver and creates a nightmare match up for opposing defenses.

"I wouldn’t say afraid, nobody wants to get hit in the face, but I am not afraid to go across the middle because I am a bigger guy," Brown said.

He certainly wasn't afraid in this game, and it made for a record-setting performance as well as runaway win in Luke's debut.

"Me, personally," Brown said. "I really knew that the players were going to come out and play for him, 110-percent effort every play, I just knew it. You can tell it is a different vibe."






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