Photo by John Bowen
Ole Miss freshman quarterback John Rhys Plumlee has been named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week after his performance against Vanderbilt Saturday in Oxford.
Plumlee, in his second career starter, ran 22 times for 165 yards and one touchdown to lead Ole Miss to a 31-6 victory for the Rebels’ third win of the season.
His 33-yard touchdown run in the first quarter gave Ole Miss a 10-0 lead. Plumlee, who took every snap at quarterback, also completed 10 of 18 passes for 99 yards.
It was Plumlee’s second straight 100-plus yard rushing performance. He gained 109 yards on 25 carries and scored on touchdown at then No. 2 Alabama two weeks ago.
Plumlee’s 165-yard performance was the third best in Ole Miss history for a quarterback behind Norris Weese (178 vs. Mississippi State in 1972) and John Fourcade (169 vs. Vanderbilt in 1969).
Plumlee, a 6-foot, 192-pound true freshman from Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, ranks 12th in the SEC with 327 rushing yards, the most of any quarterback in the SEC, and that’s without playing in three games. Based on average, Plumlee’s 109 yards per game would rank second only behind Mississippi State’s Kylie Hill at 119.2 yards per game.
One of Ole Miss’ fastest players and reportedly runs a 4.4 40-yard dash, Plumlee took over late in the game against California three weeks ago when starter Matt Corral went down with bruised ribs. Plumlee raced 47 yards on his first play and completed 7 of 7 passes for 82 yards in his brief time in the game. He finished with 53 rushing yards.
Plumlee guided the Ole Miss to 512 total yards, including 413 rushing, the most yards rushing by an Ole Miss team in an SEC game since 1979.
The Mississippi Class 6A Offensive Player of the Year, Plumlee passed for 2,834 yards and 33 touchdowns with only three interceptions as a senior and led Oak Grove to the state runner-up finish.
Ole Miss, 3-3 overall and 2-1 in the SEC West, visits Missouri, 4-1 and 1-0 in the SEC East, Saturday at 6 p.m. on ESPN2. Missouri lost its best defensive player in its 42-10win over Troy. Senior linebacker Cale Garrett – who coach Barry Odom says “is the heart and soul of our team” –suffered a chest injury and is expected have surgery this week and miss Saturday’s game against Ole Miss. He was named the SEC Defensive Player despite his injury. He led the Tigers with six tackles, three for loss and a sack, and had two interceptions, one for a touchdown. Garrett leads the SEC with 8.4 tackles per game, four interceptions and three defensive touchdowns and ranks fourth in the nation in interceptions.