CFN Take: Ole Miss Ruins MSU Playoff Dream
Ole Miss Rebels 2014 ...
Head Coach: Hugh Freeze
2014 Ole Miss
Nov. 29 at Ole Miss 31, Mississippi State 17
2014 Schedule |
Aug. 28 Boise St (Atl) W 25-13
Sep. 6 at Vanderbilt W 41-3
Sep. 13 UL Lafayette W 56-15
Sep. 20 OPEN DATE
Sep. 27 Memphis W 24-3
Oct. 4 Alabama W 23-17
Oct. 11 at Texas A&M W 35-20
Oct. 18 Tennessee W 34-3
Oct. 25 at LSU L 10-7
Nov. 1 Auburn L 35-31
Nov. 8 Presbyterian W 48-0
Nov. 15 OPEN DATE
Nov. 22 at Arkansas L 30-0
Nov. 29 Miss State
And You Care Because … Ole Miss ruined Mississippi State’s playoff dream with a third quarter explosion. Down 10-7 after Dak Prescott ran for a one-yard score for the Bulldogs, the Rebels cranked out 17 straight points on a one-yard Jeremy Liggins run, a 39-yard Gary Wunderlich field goal, and one of the highlights of the SEC season, a 91-yard Jaylen Walton scoring dash. MSU tried to pull back in it with a 32-yard Prescott touchdown pass to De’Runnya Wilson, but the Rebels put it away with a 31-yard Cody Core catch from RB Jordan Wilkins.
What Else? Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace completed 13-of-30 passes for 296 yards and a pick, and he ran for a score
- Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott completed 22-of-37 passes for 282 yards and a score, and ran 24 times for 48 yards and a touchdown
- Ole Miss TE Evan Engram caught five passes for 176 yards
- Total yards: Ole Miss 532 – Mississippi State 445
Game Rating: B
Nov. 22 at Arkansas 30, Ole Miss 0
And You Care Because … In the rain, the Arkansas defense forced six turnovers and the offense took advantage of the breaks. Keon Hatcher caught a 25-yard touchdown pass and Alex Collins ran for a one-yard run on the way to a 17-0 first quarter lead, and Adam McFain added three field goals. Down 20-0, Ole Miss was driving late in the third quarter, but Rohan Gaines took a Bo Wallace pick 100 yards for a score.
What Else? Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace completed 16-of-31 passes for 235 yards and two picks
- Arkansas RB Josh Williams ran 20 times for 81 yards, Alex Collins 23 times for 79 yards and a score
- Time of possession: Arkansas 34:01 – Ole Miss 25:59
- Turnovers: Ole Miss 6 – Arkansas 1
Game Rating: D+
Nov. 8 at Ole Miss 48, Presbyterian 0
And You Care Because … Ole Miss didn’t have to work too hard as Vince Sanders came up with a 66-yard touchdown catch on the second play of the game and made a 23-yard scoring grab for an early 14-0 lead. Mark Dodson added second quarter touchdown runs from 65 and 62 yards out, and the backups got into the act in the second half with Derrick Jones making a 31-yard scoring play and Jordan Wilkins tearing off a 73-yard touchdown dash.
What Else? Total yards: Ole Miss 640 – Presbyterian 156
- Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace completed 11-of-15 passes for 140 yards and two scores with a pick, and ran four times for 15 yards and a touchdown
- Ole Miss RB Jordan Wilkins ran ten times for 171 yards and a score, and Mark Dodson ran three times for 128 yards and two touchdowns
- Yards per carry: Ole Miss 11.2 – Presbyterian 2.5
Game Rating: D-
Nov. 1 Auburn 35, at Ole Miss 31
And You Care Because … Cameron Artis-Payne ran for a six-yard score to give Auburn the lead with just over ten minutes to play, but Ole Miss appeared to be on the verge of grabbing it back. Bo Wallace found Laquon Treadwell, who was on his way into the end zone when he was tackled awkwardly – suffering a broken leg – and fumbled just before getting in. Auburn recovered, and the defense was able to hang on over the final 35 seconds. Before the injury, Treadwell was having a great night, catching a ten-yard touchdown pass in the back-and-forth game, with Wallace running for a three-yard score and finding Evan Engram for a 50-yard touchdown, but Auburn’s Nick Marshall was sensational, running for two touchdowns and hitting Sammie Coates for a 57-yard touchdown and connecting with Marcus Davis for a 17-yard score.
What Else? Auburn QB Nick Marshall completed 15-of-22 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns, and ran ten times for 50 yards and two scores
- Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace completed 28-of-40 passes for 341 yards and two scores, and ran 14 times for a team-high 61 yards and a score
- Auburn RB Cameron Artis-Payne ran 27 times for 143 yards and a score
- Ole Miss TE Evan Engram caught eight passes for 123 yards and a score, WR Vince Sanders caught six passes for 105 yards, and Laquon Treadwell caught ten passes for 103 yards and a touchdown
Game Rating: A
Oct. 25 at LSU 10, Ole Miss 7
And You Care Because … LSU finally broke through the Ole Miss defense for a 13-play, 95-yard drive with Logan Stokes catching a three-yard touchdown pass with just over five minutes to play. Ole Miss stalled once, but got the ball back one last drive and drove into field goal range with a 42-yard try to force overtime – but the Rebels were nailed with a delay of game penalty. They tried one more play, and Bo Wallace was picked off on an ill-advised throw and LSU hung on. The Rebels scored first on a 15-yard Cody Core catch late in the first quarter, but LSU was able to get on the board in the second on a 21-yard Colby Delahoussaye field goal. The two teams missed on several chances, with LSU turning it over four times, and Ole Miss bending, but not breaking until late.
What Else? LSU RB Leonard Fournette ran 23 times for 113 yards
- Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace completed 14-of-33 passes for 176 yards and a touchdown with an interception, and ran 12 times for a team-high 40 yards
- Time of possession: LSU 36:00 – Ole Miss 24:00
- Broken up passes: LSU 12 – Ole Miss 3
Game Rating: A
Oct. 18 at Ole Miss 34, Tennessee 3
And You Care Because … It wasn’t always pretty, but after getting down 3-0, Ole Miss rolled with Bo Wallace throwing two touchdown passes and Jaylen Walton running for a seven-yard score. Tennessee only managed a 27-yard Aaron Medley field goal early and was shut down the rest of the way, turning it over four times and finishing with just 191 yards. Gary Wunderlich hit two field goals for the Rebels, and Mark Dodson ran for an eight-yard score.
What Else? Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace completed 13-of-28 passes for 199 yards and two scores, and ran 17 times for 33 yards
- Tennessee QB Justin Worley completed 19-of-34 passes for 191 yards and three interceptions, with Senquez Golson picking off two of them.
- Ole Miss WR Vince Sanders caught four passes for 108 yards and a touchdown
- Tennessee rushing: 28 carries, no yards
Game Rating: D+
Oct. 11 Ole Miss 35, at Texas A&M 20
And You Care Because … In front of a record-setting crowd of over 107,000, Ole Miss dominated from the start with a 21-0 first half lead on two touchdown runs from Bo Wallace and a 75-yard interception return for a touchdown from Cody Prewitt. Texas A&M started to come back with a three-yard scoring run from Trey Williams, but Ole Miss answered with Quincy Adeboyejo catching a 33-yard touchdown pass on a perfect throw from Wallace. The Rebel defense was at it again, with Keith Lewis taking a fumble 21 yards for a touchdown for a 35-7 early fourth quarter lead, and it was over. Kenny Hill threw two late touchdown passes for the Aggies.
What Else? Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace completed 13-of-19 passes for 178 yards and a score, and ran 14 times for a team-leading 50 yards and two touchdowns
- Texas A&M QB Kenny Hill completed 42-of-53 passes for 401 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions
- Texas A&M WR Speedy Noil caught 11 passes for 105 yards
- Turnovers: Texas A&M 3 – Ole Miss 0
Game Rating: C+
Oct. 4 at Ole Miss 23, Alabama 17
And You Care Because … Ole Miss rallied late in the fourth quarter to take the lead with a 34-yard Vince Sanders touchdown catch, and after recovering a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, came up with a ten-yard Jaylen Walton touchdown grab. But after a blocked extra point – after getting a second chance after missing the first time and getting saved by an Alabama penalty – down six the Tide had one final shot. Blake Sims marched the offense into Ole Miss territory, but his pass into the end zone was picked off by Senquez Golson dropping a foot in before going out of bounds to seal the win. The Tide had a 14-3 lead going into halftime after a controversial fumble recovery for a 13-yard score in the final minute – the Tide’s Cyrus Jones appeared to hit the facemask on the strip – but Ole Miss got a 14-yard Laquon Treadwell touchdown catch to pull within four to get back in the game. Alabama had kicking issues, but Adam Griffith hit a 44-yard field goal for a 17-10 lead, but the D couldn’t hold on.
What Else? Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace completed 18-of-31 passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns, and ran 11 times for 32 yards
- Alabama WR Amari Cooper caught nine passes for 91 yards
- Alabama PK Adam Griffith hit a 44-yard field goal, but missed from 46 and 51 yards out
- Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon ran 20 times for 123 yards
Game Rating: A
Sept. 27 at Ole Miss 24, Memphis 3
And You Care Because … In a strange performance with bad penalties and worse mistakes, Ole Miss still got by Memphis thanks to a defense that allowed just 104 yards of Tiger offense. Laquon Treadwell caught a 63-yard touchdown pass for the Rebels in the first, but they didn’t get back on the board until the fourth as Andrew Fletcher’s 19-yard field goal sparked a 17-0 run. Jaylen Walton ran for a 23-yard score and Treadwell finished it off with a 17-yard scoring catch, but it was the D that saved the day to set up a showdown with Alabama.
What Else? Penalties: Ole Miss 10 for 117 yards – Memphis 9 for 105 yards
- Turnovers: Ole Miss 4 – Memphis 2
- Ole Miss WR Laquon Treadwell caught five passes for 123 yards and two scores
- Memphis QB Paxton Lynch completed 13-of-31 passes for 81 yards with a pick
Game Rating: D+
Sept. 13 at Ole Miss 56, Louisiana-Lafayette 15
And You Care Because … Ole Miss had no problems putting the game away fast with a 28-0 first quarter lead helped by two Vince Sanders touchdown catches from 14 and 24 yards out to go along with a 56-yard I’Tavius Mathers touchdown run and a 40-yard scoring play from Jaylen Walton. ULL only managed two field goals before the Rebels struck back with 21 straight points highlighted by a 71-yard Jaylen Walton dash and a 59-yard pick six from Senquez Golson. The Ragin’ Cajuns only got into the end zone late in the third on an eight-yard Alonzo Harris run.
What Else? Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace was magnificent completed 23-of-28 passes for 216 yards and four touchdowns with a pick.
- ULL QB Terrance Broadway completed 15-of-30 passes for 129 yards and three picks, but he ran for 59 yards.
- Ole Miss WR Vince Sanders caught eight passes for 125 yards and two scores.
- ULL didn’t commit a penalty, while Ole Miss was flagged just four times.
Game Rating: D
Sept. 6 Ole Miss 41, at Vanderbilt 3
And You Care Because … The Rebels had no problems whatsoever with the punchless Commodores, getting two-yard touchdown runs from I’Tavius Mathers and DeVante Kincade, and a 39-yard Cliff Coleman interception return for a score on the way to a 41-0 lead. Vanderbilt managed just nine first downs and didn’t get on the board until the fourth quarter on a 26-yard Tommy Openshaw field goal.
What Else? Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace didn’t make any mistakes. He completed 22-of-30 passes for 320 yards and a score. The Rebels outgained Vandy 547 yards to 167.
- Vanderbilt’s quarterback situation didn’t improve. Stephen Rivers completed just 6-of-25 passes for 60 yards with a pick.
- Ole Miss didn’t have to extend itself too much defensively. Robert Nkemdiche came up with the team’s only sack – the Rebels didn’t have to generate any pressure to produce.
- Ole Miss didn’t punt and held on to the ball for 37:26,
Game Rating: D
Aug. 28 Ole Miss 35, Boise State 13 in Atlanta
And You Care Because … It wasn’t pretty in any way, but Ole Miss was able to pull away late. Down 7-6, the Rebels got three touchdown passes from Bo Wallace in just over five minutes in the fourth quarter, connecting with Laquon Treadwell from 14 yards away, getting helped by Quincy Adeboyejo on a 31 yard touchdown, and finding Cody Core for a 76-yard touchdown to pull away.
What Else? Yuck. Boise State QB Grant Hedrick gave away four interceptions, Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace threw three. The Rebels committed 14 penalties, Boise State nine. The Rebels couldn’t run the ball, Boise State couldn’t complete enough downfield passes.
- Bo Wallace has to be far more careful. He exploded late and threw for 387 yards and four scores, but the three interceptions kept Boise State in the game.
- Grant Hedrick threw for 265 yards, but he had an awful game making too many careless mistakes and with several poor choices. The game was there for the taking, and he and the offense couldn’t do it.
- Ole Miss star Robert Nkemdiche only made three tackles and broke up a pass, but he was unblockable early on. Boise State had to adjust, and it seemed to make Hedrick have to hurry a bit too much.
Game Rating: C
2014 Ole Miss
Preview 2014 Every team likes to use the motivational “why not us?” phrase, but really, why not Ole Miss?
One problem - it's still in the SEC West.
Hugh Freeze has done a magnificent job of upgrading the talent level and putting the program in a position to potentially challenge for really, really big things, but he's about to run into the problem that all recent Rebel coaches have faced.
Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, LSU, Texas A&M, and as the end of last year showed, Mississippi State.
But that's the deal, and Ole Miss has to try to fight through it to be a success. The pieces are in place to be far better with star power, NFL skill, and just enough depth to get by, but is it enough get past the really big boys? It would be great to beat an Alabama or upset an LSU, but to get through and become a major player, Ole Miss has to beat almost everyone in the toughest division in college football.
Ask Texas A&M – who has won almost nothing of significance - over the last two years what it means just to be really, really good in the SEC West.
But that’s looking at Ole Miss as a potential SEC and national title contender, and while that’s obviously the ultimate dream, just starting to make some more consistent inroads with the big boys in the West would be a fantastic step forward.
2003 was the last time the Rebels beat Alabama. There has been some success against LSU, and winning last year was great, but Ole Miss has only won three times since 2001. The Rebels are 2-6 against Auburn since 2003 and lost both games against Texas A&M as SEC brothers.
Can Ole Miss be the type of program that can maintain consistent success in the SEC? It’ll never be Alabama or Florida in terms of sheer might, but it can be come become a yearly threat that might get its turn on the wheel in a year when everything breaks right.
If Missouri could rise up and take the SEC East, and if Auburn can go from 2012 disaster to 2013 national title-good in one season, Ole Miss can catch fire in one dream season, and it can become more of a steady player.
This year’s team might not be there quite yet, but considering Arkansas is still figuring out what it’s going to be, Mississippi State is good, not elite, and Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M are going through huge quarterback changes, maybe this could be the season that Freeze catches everyone flat-footed.
So, really, why not Ole Miss?
The offense that was so strong and so good at times throughout last year – at least until the end of the regular season – might lose some key pieces in receiver Donte Moncrief and Ja-Mes Logan, but Laquon Treadwell looks like something special.
Three starters are gone on the offensive front, but Laremy Tunsil will be playing on Sundays in the near future and guard Aaron Morris is back after suffering a torn ACL early last year. There’s more than enough talent at running back to replace Jeff Scott, and Bo Wallace comes into the season as one of the SEC’s most experienced quarterbacks.
The defense should be a killer with nine starters back including the brothers Nkemdiche – Robert at tackle and Denzel at linebacker. Add Serderius Bryant to the mix, and the Rebels – after a few suspension issues
and the move of D.T. Shackelford to the middle – are loaded at linebacker and potentially even deadlier in the secondary with a deep group of corners good enough to make the loss of Charles Sawyer no big deal.
The expectations are rightfully high to rise up and be a ten-win team and be in the hunt for the West all season long, but now the program has to deal with the expectations that go along with all the positives. At the very least, though, compared to just a few years ago, Ole Miss is in the discussion.
What to watch for on offense:
Can the offensive line get the job done? Laremy Tunsil can’t do it all himself. It was okay last year overall but struggled a bit in pass protection, and now it has to replace steady leader Evan Swindall at center while relying on injured players – guard Aaron Morris (ACL) and tackle Christian Morris (Achilles heel) – to come back healthy and be major factors. There are questions at No. 2 quarterback, and the overall consistency has to be better after sputtering in key moments – the Rebels’ were 1-5 when gaining fewer than 475 yards with the one aberration coming against Texas. The D will be better so there probably won’t be too many shootouts, but the O has be balanced and steady.
What to watch for on defense:
The line has to come up with a better pass rush, and it should with end C.J. Johnson returning from an injured ankle that knocked him out early last year. The defense was good for a few sacks a game, but there wasn’t the consistent pressure needed into the backfield to be disruptive on a regular basis. The defense figured it out against Georgia Tech in the bowl win and was camped out behind the line, but there wasn’t enough disruption in the tough loss to Auburn and Johnny Manziel and AJ McCarron weren’t touched enough in losses to Texas A&M and Alabama, respectively. The back seven should be outstanding, allowing the line to take a few more chances, but the pressure has to come from all four spots all the time.
The team will be far better if … the special teams rock. Hello, Will Gleeson. The Rebels signed on a fantastic dual-threat kicker from Australia, and he might need to be the answer to fill two key jobs. Ole Miss had way too many empty red zone trips, and that has to change with more consistent placekicking. Andrew Ritter wasn’t bad hitting 16-of-24 field goals, but he missed five of his last eight kicks – to be fair, one was a 61-yard try against Mizzou. He has to be replaced, and while there might be a few decent options in Andrew Fletcher and Andy Poppanastos battling for the job if Gleeson isn’t ready, can they bomb away like Ritter did? Punter Tyler Campbell was excellent averaging 44.4 yards per punt, but he put ten in the end zone. Gleeson might be the answer here, too. The return game could use a boost, too.
Compared to last year’s brutally unfair slate, this is a piece of cake. Granted, Boise State and Louisiana-Lafayette aren’t your normal mid-major types – they could win their respective conferences – but those are winnable early games, and any team that thinks for a split second about hanging with the Alabamas and LSUs needs to whack Vanderbilt on the road. If the Rebels get through those three early games, with a week off to prepare for Memphis, they’ll be 4-0 before hosting Alabama. Going to Texas A&M and LSU are the road killers, but if the Rebels can come up with a split, it might be Game On with Auburn and Mississippi State at home. Getting Presbyterian and a week off makes it a nice November to prepare for the road trip to Arkansas and the Egg Bowl.
Best offensive player:
Sophomore OT Laremy Tunsil. He might not be the flashiest player on a potentially high-powered attack, but he’s the most important key to the attack as the one big star on a rebuilding line. WR Laquon Treadwell is about to become special, and QB Bo Wallace is going to start to get more credit and national attention, but Tunsil is the one with the highest ceiling with the ability to grow into a franchise blocker. All the pieces are there, and while his money at the next level might be made as a right tackle or a guard, he’ll be a ten-year pro once he finishes up two more years in Oxford.
Best defensive player:
Senior S Cody Prewitt. Okay, so pick a Nkemdiche, any Nkemdiche, and he might be the team’s best player, and LB Serderius Bryant is a sure-thing all-star, but Prewitt might have the best season of any Rebel defender, just like he did last year making 71 tackles with six picks. He’s a playmaker and producer with great size, excellent range, and the ability to get all over the field and get in on everything. No, he’s not the team’s most talented defender, but he’s going to be the most productive.
Key player to a successful season: Senior QB Bo Wallace. He took a backseat in the SEC West quarterback publicity department with Johnny Manziel, AJ McCarron and Zach Mettenberger getting all the love. Those three are gone, and while Auburn’s Nick Marshall might be the division’s signature star, it’s Wallace who has as much pressure on his shoulders
- almost literally, as he's finally getting past a shoulder problem - as anyone in the league. Now he has to be the reason the team is great, and if he struggles, or if he reverts back to his 2012 form and starts giving the ball away to the other side on a regular basis, a great season could be just so-so.
The season will be a success if …
the Rebels win ten games. There’s no reason not to with Alabama and Auburn coming to Oxford and the road slate relatively manageable – there are just four true away games. The team is too good to not go 4-0 in non-conference play against Boise State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Memphis and Presbyterian, and it needs to take care of Tennessee and Mississippi State at home – that’s six wins. Beat Vanderbilt and Arkansas on the road – that’s eight – and come up with two wins against Alabama, at Texas A&M, at LSU and Auburn.
Nov. 1 at Auburn. Can the Rebels beat Alabama at home? If so, they’ll be 5-0 going into the road date at Texas A&M and with a winnable game against Tennessee to follow. More likely, Ole Miss struggles in at least two of the three games against Bama, Texas A&M and LSU, but the Auburn game is at home with a shot to go on a terrific November run. Beat the Tigers, and with Presbyterian, a week off, a trip to Arkansas and Mississippi State to finish up, there should be a nice run.
2013 Fun Stats:
- 1st Quarter Scoring: Ole Miss 108 - Opponents 61
- Passing TDs: Ole Miss 24 - Opponents 10
- Field Goals: Ole Miss 16-of-24 - Opponents 14-of-19
2014 Ole Miss Preview -
What You Need To Know & Top Players