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OXFORD, Miss., -- This season, the No. 16 Ole Miss Rebels have turned a new leaf on the defensive side of the ball.

The Rebels have only allowed their opponents to score 13 total points through three games and have held their last eight opponents to 21 points or less.

Ole Miss safety AJ Finley, a senior on the Rebel defense, got a chance to speak with the media on Monday and mentioned that he is not paying attention to all the fancy stats.

"I try to stay out of all that stuff," Finley told reporters. "I honestly didn't know about those stats, but I try to stay out of all that stuff, live in the moment, and focus on getting better every week."

The Tulsa Golden Hurricane has the top passing offense in the nation at the moment and will be coming to Oxford, Miss., in Week 4. Finley talked about what the Rebel defense is preparing for going into Saturday's matchup.

"[Tulsa] is really good on the outside, obviously, they have the best passing game in the country," Finley said. "They have some really good receivers outside, and we've got to be up for the challenge on Saturday."

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When Finley first arrived on campus in 2019, the Ole Miss pass defense was not exactly considered a strength of the program. The veteran safety discussed what has helped the Rebels improve on the defensive side of the ball.

"I feel like all the guys have just bought into what we have to do," Finley said. "We know what we have to do, and we take it personally to get that job done every week."

The Mobile, Ala., native described what it has been like taking on a leadership role this season.

"Honestly, the leadership [role] has been going smooth," Finley said. "I've got guys looking up to me and I just try to be a good example for [younger] guys to look at. I try to carry myself in the right way, play the right way, and do everything the right way."


You can follow Ben King on Twitter at @BKing_2023.

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