In Thursday night's 61-58 loss at Kansas State, senior guard Marshall Henderson was 4-for-18, including 2-for-13 from 3-point range, and finished with 13 points. Three days later, Henderson responded with a career-high 39 points and school-record 10 3-pointers in a 115-105 overtime loss to No. 13 Oregon.
"I have said this all the time from one game to the next, they go in or they don't go in," Henderson said. "Sometimes you feel it; sometimes you don't. After the Kansas State game, I was kicking myself because I put that on me. It's a two-point game, and to take a game-winning shot and shoot an air ball, a senior leader and a guy trying to make his statement in his last year of college basketball does not need to be doing that, and I know that."
His previous season high was 19 points twice earlier this season and his previous career high was 32 at Tennessee last season, as Henderson scored 39 on 11-of-27 shooting, including 10-of-23 from 3-point range.
"He shoots a lot of ball, and the other way to stop him from shooting is to sit him down, and I have tried that a few times here and there, and I will continue to try that," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "He's a volume guy; he's been a volume guy from day one, and he was a volume guy when I recruited him. I have realized that, and I have tried to put him in a position where he can help our team, and he has certainly done that."
Henderson hit his first shot, a deep three, to give Ole Miss a 12-8 lead at the 14:14 mark, and went on to equal Thursday night's point total with 13 first-half points on 4-for-8 shooting, including 3-for-6 from 3-point range, as the Rebels took a 38-37 lead into halftime.
"I had been waiting for it this year," Henderson said. "I looked at it last year -- I didn't do much at the beginning of the year. Toward the middle was when I started picking things up a lot more. I thought maybe it would be the same way this year. Tonight, I made the first shot, and after that, I missed a few but they were open, and I knew there were going to be a lot of open shots. And then one, two, three (made shots), and then I was, 'Alright, let's go.'"
"They hit some shots, and Henderson got it going," Oregon head coach Dana Altman said. "We did a poor job and gave him some good looks early, and once he got those down, his motor started running. He hit a couple of double-clutch ones, and he hit some tough ones after that, but we did a really poor job early, and he took advantage of it."
Down 86-80 with 39 seconds left, Henderson hit his seventh three, and after two Oregon made free throws, he double-clutched and knocked down his eighth three to cut the lead to 88-86 with 14 seconds left.
Junior guard Jarvis Summers hit a game-tying three with 0.8 seconds left, and after an Oregon turnover, Henderson nearly won it at the buzzer with another 3-pointer, as the teams went into overtime tied at 89-89.
Ole Miss took a 93-91 lead with 3:47 left in overtime, and Oregon answered with 11 unanswered points to take 102-93 lead. Henderson hit his ninth and 10th 3-pointers to finish with 39 points, and the Rebels got within five, but the Ducks closed out the 115-105 win.
"I thought I hit that shot at the buzzer," Henderson said. "I thought it was in. Normally that's the way it goes in basketball, when a team hits a buzzer beater and goes to overtime, the momentum rides all the way through, like last year at Vanderbilt when I hit a shot at the buzzer to go to overtime. I thought we were going to have it, but we let it slip."
Ole Miss fell 17-10 in overtime to intrastate rival Mississippi State, but the Rebels' one score provided a special moment for two of the team's unsung players.
Down 7-0 with 31 seconds left in the first half, Ole Miss called its third and final timeout to force a Mississippi State punt and try to score some points before halftime.
Mississippi State punter Baker Swedenburg stood deep in the Bulldogs' end zone and bobbled the snap. And then, two Ole Miss players just made plays.
Junior wide receiver Collins Moore beat his man off the line and took the ball right off Swedenburg's foot in the end zone, and senior wide receiver Terrell Grant pounced on the ball for the touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 with 26 seconds left.
It turned the momentum in the Rebels' favor, as they drove 81 yards on 17 plays on the opening drive of the second half, capped by an Andrew Ritter 22-yard field, to take a 10-7 lead. Head coach Hugh Freeze called it a "huge lift" and "big special teams play."
"(Linebackers/Special Teams) Coach (Tom) Allen came up with a great scheme this week," Moore said. "I told Terrell Grant that if I was the one to block the punt that I wanted him to be one to recover it and hopefully score a touchdown, which we did, because this will the be last time he will play Mississippi State being a senior."
"It was a great feeling," Grant said. "It changed momentum, which we needed. (Collins and I) had been talking about it all day. It was a great moment, and I'll remember it forever, but I wish we could have won. I would have rather not have the touchdown and win than have the touchdown and lose."
For those two role players, despite the loss, those five seconds will last a lifetime.
Moore has 13 career catches for 189 yards and a touchdown, while for Grant, it was the first time he touched the ball in his four-year Ole Miss career, having seen action in 24 games on special teams and as receiver.
"Everything that Coach Freeze preaches about -- playing for the guy next to you -- that's all that was going through my mind, that I made a dream come true for one of my teammates," Moore said.
"Having a peace of mind and understand that God has his ways. I stuck with it," Grant said. "I love the game of football. I could have transferred, but I love Ole Miss and I love my teammates. They helped me the most. That's what helped me."
Ole Miss sent seniors Kellie Goss and Kara Morgan out with a win as the Rebels topped LSU 3-2 on Senior Night.
"It was a great win," head coach Joe Getzin said. "We tweaked the lineup, and one of our seniors Kellie Goss, who has played an important role as a utility player all her career, came in off the bench and had one of the best nights of her career. Both of our seniors had a great last match. They held their emotions in check knowing it was their last match, and both of them did a great job."
"This past practice, our coach told us to say our favorite memory thus far in our career here, and we both said beating LSU in five (sets) our sophomore year," Goss said. "We replicated it tonight, and it was the best feeling ever.
Goss finished with a season-high 10 kills, while Morgan nearly had a double-double with seven kills and 12 digs. The Rebels also got a big lift from freshman Aubrey Edie who set a program record with 61 assists. Freshman Melanie Crow and sophomore Ty Laporte also had season-high kills with 18 and 16, respectively. Sophomore Nakeyta Clair joined Crow with a team-high 18 kills.
"We have been in that situation where we have been up 2-0 on people and we haven't taken care of business," Getzin said. "We were intense throughout and kept putting pressure on them."
Morgan finishes her four-year career as the program's fourth all-time leader with 927 kills, having also led the team with 311 kills and 30 service aces as a junior.
"It's not about the numbers; I take away the friendships that I have made," Morgan said. "Kellie and I have been together for four years. It's been a great experience."
For Goss, her 10 kills Wednesday was the second-most of her career, having finished with 12 kills in that same five-set win over LSU her sophomore year.
"I can't say enough about Kellie Goss," Getzin said. "A lot of times role players don't get the accolades they deserve, but you can't run a team without someone like her giving up what she truly wants to do for the betterment of the team from time to time and playing an understudy when it was needed. Without that kind of buy-in from someone like Kellie, a team doesn't function, so I couldn't be prouder of her."
"That's probably the best send-off I could possibly imagine," Goss said. "It was the greatest feeling ever, and I couldn't have done it without my teammates and coaches supporting me the whole time."
Goss and Morgan came in together as freshmen in the 2010 season, during which the Rebels earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Three years later, they finish their respective careers on a high note.
"Kellie and I have one of the strongest relationships on the team," Morgan said. "We don't have to constantly be around each other for us to have that relationship. We have each other's backs no matter what."
"We don't even have to speak sometimes to know what each other are thinking," Goss said. "We have a close relationship and it will continue on forever."
One of the core values for the Ole Miss football program is mental toughness. With a rivalry game in a hostile environment, it will carry a greater importance.
"You're going into a hostile environment, and that's the biggest thing," offensive line coach Matt Luke said. "When you're playing here, you have your home-field advantage. When you're playing there, it's a hostile environment and nobody likes you. It's kind of you versus the whole stadium."
One challenge is the weather, with the temperature expected to dip into the 30s, maybe the upper 20s, which is something similar to what they faced in the 24-10 loss to No. 8 Missouri this past Saturday. Head coach Hugh Freeze said they have to be mentally tough to handle it.
"I did not think we handled the weather well the other night," Freeze said. "I don't talk about those things a lot, but I did talk to our team about it today. I didn't think we handled it really well, particularly when we got behind."
Another challenge is the 55,000-plus fans at Davis Wade Stadium, with the sound of cowbells. Each of the past two days, Ole Miss has had cowbell sounds, along with the usual loud music for road games, piped into practice in the Manning Center.
"We better get used to that," Freeze said. "I'm not sure how that process is going there with the regulations that they have on them. I'm certain in this game we will hear some."
"Barry (Brunetti) said that it's one of the toughest places he has played, so that's what I'm anticipating," junior quarterback Bo Wallace said, referring to Brunetti's start at quarterback in the 2011 game at Mississippi State.
Length, Size In Mississippi State's Front Seven
Freeze had praise for the Bulldogs' front seven, led by sophomore linebacker Benardrick McKinney and junior defense end Preston Smith. McKinney and Smith are tied for the team lead with 2.5 sacks. McKinney also leads the team with 61 tackles, while Smith leads the team with 6.5 tackles for loss.
"Their length and size of their front, they are one of the longer defenses you will face," Freeze said. "Their linebackers are tall, and their front is huge. It is difficult to win one-on-ones, so you have to create double teams, and their linebackers are good at running around and making plays. In the passing game, they do a great job of spot-dropping, and they're so long, that those windows to throw in don't stay open very long.
"You have to take care of the ball. They're great at getting turnovers, and when you turn the ball over, you're not nearly as good. We have to be balanced, so we can be effective in throwing. The last thing you want with who we are is to get into a situation where they know we have to throw."
Another player to note in the front seven is freshman defensive lineman Chris Jones, who has started three games for the Bulldogs, two at defensive tackle and another at defensive end. He leads the team with nine quarterback hurries, ranks second with two sacks and tied for third with five tackles for loss.
"Any time that you're a freshman playing in this league, you better be pretty good," Luke said. "The biggest thing is adjusting to the speed of the game in this league. Any time you are able to do that as a freshman, it's good."
Wallace, Other Health Updates
Wallace battled flu-like symptoms in the 24-10 loss to No. 8 Missouri this past Saturday. He is close to 100 percent, Freeze said Tuesday.
"He still felt some lingering effects this morning," he said. "We'll get him off his feet today and hopefully get him back to 100 percent. He went through everything in practice, but he felt a little weak today."
Also on the health front, Freeze said he doesn't think senior cornerback Charles Sawyer (various injuries) will be able to go, and senior running back Jeff Scott (thigh bruise/bone spur) is questionable like he was Monday.
The Egg Bowl returns to Thanksgiving night for the first time since 2003, which is also the last time Ole Miss won in Starkville.
Thursday's game is the 110th meeting of one of the nation's most-played rivalries and the 86th "Battle of the Golden Egg," as the two schools stated playing for the trophy in 1927. The Rebels (7-4, 3-4 SEC) look to defend the Golden Egg and improve their bowl standing, while the Bulldogs (5-6, 2-6) are playing for bowl eligibility.
"The Egg Bowl intensity is always going to be about as high as you get in a given game," head coach Hugh Freeze said. "With them having to win to a bowl like we were last year, if it's possible to ratchet it up a little more for your kids, particularly your seniors, that's something that will do it if it's possible. You don't have to have that to make this game feel emotional. But if there's anything that would make it more, it would be those factors."
"I know they're going to play hard against us," junior quarterback Bo Wallace said. "Their backs are against the wall. We know how that feels. They're in the same situation as we were last year. They're going to come out and play, so we have to be ready for them."
Keeping The Momentum
Freeze said they gained considerable momentum after last year's Egg Bowl win. That win clinched bowl eligibility and a berth in the BBVA Compass Bowl, which may have been a determining factor for several recruits in their decision.
And on National Signing Day, Ole Miss landed a consensus top-10 signing class, which included eight Mississippi prospects, headlined by Huskie Tony Conner (Batesville) and cornerback Derrick Jones (Eupuroa).
The Rebels look to reclaim the Egg Bowl and continue to build momentum with a win Thursday night.
"I have seen it work both ways," Freeze said of the recruiting impact of winning the Egg Bowl. "There's not any recipe you can put on it. I know that it doesn't to win, and it's going to help you with some. But by the time February rolls around, there are a lot of things that have occurred, people have made decisions and relationships have been built. It's not the only factor, but it doesn't hurt, and it will help in some cases."
Wallace Feeling Better
Wallace was back at practice Monday and said he is at the end of his flu-like symptoms he suffered from in Saturday's 24-10 loss to No. 8 Missouri.
"There won't be any effect at all," Wallace said of any lasting effects. "Tomorrow, I'll be almost 100 percent almost."
Despite the fatigue and feeling awful, Wallace was was 26-of-42 for 244 yards with an interception.
"It was awful," Wallace said of Saturday. "I knew I was going to attempt to play. It was just hard to focus Saturday on what I had to do at the hotel, when I was just worried about trying to feel. I played OK. Definitely, I could have played better. It's something I'm not proud of."
Looking Back, Looking Ahead: Wallace-to-Moncrief
In last year's meeting, the Ole Miss offense exploded for 24 unanswered points in the second half to take a 41-17 lead, as the Rebels went on to win 41-24 and clinch bowl eligibility.
Wallace was 15-of-22 for 294 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. His favorite target was junior Donte Moncrief who had seven catches for a career-high 173 yards and three touchdowns.
"They're a little different than they were last year," Freeze said of Mississippi State's coverages. "They will still do some of the same stuff, but the percentages are different."
A year later, Wallace ranks third in the SEC in total offense (286.0 yards per game) and fourth in passing (264.4 ypg), while Moncrief ranks top 10 in the SEC in receiving (72.8 ypg), receptions (4.5/game) and receiving touchdowns (5).
"We showed them some looks that we didn't show earlier in the year," Wallace said of last year's meeting. "We will have a few new wrinkles in this week just like every week, and hopefully we will able to score some point on them."
Uncertainty At Quarterback For MSU
For Mississippi State, sophomore quarterback Dak Prescott ranks fifth in the SEC in total yards (251.6 yards per game) and leads the team in both passing (171.3 yards per game) and rushing (80.2 ypg).
However, Prescott has missed the last two games due to injury and is listed as the backup on this week's depth chart to freshman quarterback Damian Williams, who is 14-of-27 for 186 yards with an interception this year. Williams also scored the game-winning touchdown with a 25-yard scamper in a 24-17 win over Arkansas last week.
Senior quarterback Tyler Russell, who has started the last two games, is not listed on the depth chart, having been replaced by Williams in each game due to injury. All this uncertainty at quarterback presents a different challenge to Ole Miss this week.
"I really don't know exactly what's going on," Freeze said. "I know they have been resting Dak, and the other two have played in the last few game. I saw where Tyler left the game last weekend at the end. I don't know what the significance of that is. We have to prepare for all three I think. Fortunately, two of the three are very similar and do the same things, and the other is still similar. They are like watching us on film. They do most of the same stuff that we do. You don't like not knowing, but that's the situation we're in, so we have to prepare for all three."
The Bulldogs are averaging 438.0 yards per game, which ranks ninth in the SEC and would also break the school record of 422.0 yards per game set in 1982. Another weapon in the offense is junior wide receiver Jameon Lewis, who leads the team with 49 catches for 635 yards and five touchdowns, to go along with three rushing touchdowns and three passing touchdowns.
"They want to run the football and then play-action pass, just like our offense does," defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said. "It's an advantage for us, and both defenses, because we get to see this type of thing all the time. We have to prepare for it all."
Ole Miss had its four-game winning streak snapped with a 24-10 loss to No. 8 Missouri on Saturday night. The 24th-ranked Rebels now face a quick turnaround as they travel to face intrastate rival Mississippi State on Thursday night in Starkville.
"We're obviously disappointed that we didn't have a chance to win it at the end," Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said. "They are a very good football team; they take you out of a lot of things. They are excellent up front on both sides, so I give them credit. We needed to play a good game, and we didn't play well enough. We had missed opportunities in the red zone.
"We have to put it past us and move forward. Everything has to be expedited with the short week, and I told our kids tonight we don't have the luxury of tomorrow being the day we put it in the trash; we have to put in the trash tonight, move forward and put it behind us."
The story of the game was red zone conversion. Missouri scored on all four trips for 24 points, while Ole Miss scored three points in its three trips that included a blocked field goal, a 30-yard field goal by Andrew Ritter and a turnover on downs.
"It's impossible to beat a top-10 team when you get in the red zone and don't score touchdown or points," Freeze said. "We had the blocked field goal, then a drop and a bad call on the reverse. If you don't score points in the red zone against that team, you aren't going to win."
The Rebels, now 7-4 with a 3-4 record in SEC play, will look to improve their bowl standing as they prepare for their regular season finale at Mississippi State. On the other sideline, the Bulldogs (5-6, 2-5) will be playing for bowl eligibility coming off Saturday's 24-17 overtime win over Arkansas.
"They are a good football team," Freeze said. "They are so good up front that they can be in any game. They will be very emotional, not only because it is the Egg Bowl, but because they're playing for extra practice and a bowl game. We better kid our kids ready. It's always important when you play that game. With their backs against the wall, they will have their team ready, so we have to get ready."
"It's difficult, but it's football," junior linebacker D.T. Shackelford said of the quick turnaround. "The amount of weight on this game will override those days we will not have. With a lot of guys from Mississippi, it shouldn't be that hard to get fired up for this game. We know what's on the line, and they know what's on the line also."
Head coach Hugh Freeze meets with members of the media following Wednesday's practice.
Ole Miss is the only school in the upper half of the SEC statistical rankings in every major offensive and defensive category. This week, the Rebels face one of their toughest tests on both sides of the ball in No. 8 Missouri.
The Tigers defense ranks second in the SEC and 14th nationally in rushing defense (111.9 ypg). Missouri has held opponents under 150 rushing yards in all but one game (Georgia), while the Ole Miss has been held under 150-yard mark four times this year, including each of their three losses.
"They're one of the best rushing defenses in the nation," head coach Hugh Freeze said. "It presents a challenge for us. We're not near as good offensively when we can't run the ball. It puts us a bit in a disadvantage in having to protect against a D-line like this, especially. There's a premium on being able to run it."
"The strength of their team is up front," offensive line coach Matt Luke said. "We know that, and that's probably going to be where the game is won and lost."
Offensive line coach Matt Luke meets with members of the media following Wednesday's practice.
On the defensive line, senior defensive end Michael Sam leads the league and ranks sixth nationally with 10 sacks and also leads the league and ranks fifth nationally with 16 tackles for loss. On the other side, junior defensive end Kony Ealy, ranks fourth in the SEC with 6.5 sacks and leads the team with 13 quarterback hurries.
"They provide probably the biggest challenge we have had all year from top to bottom," Luke said. "They're good in every spot. It's not like they have one guy you can focus on. (Sam) has the most sacks, but the other ends provide their own challenges. One of them is faster; one of them is bigger, and they're two inside guys are good, so you can't slide your line a certain way and protect against one guy."
It's not only the personnel, but also their scheme and movement, which presents a great challenge for the Ole Miss offensive line, both in run blocking and pass protection.
"They do a good job of movement," Luke said. "They're never in the same place. They move about every snap. They're a moving front and don't let you double-team because they're constantly moving, twisting and mixing up the front and making it tough on you.
"Nothing is ever easy, and you always have to figure something out. You can't just do your assignment; it's always movement, so that's a unique challenge for us."
Jones, Wommack Prepare For Missouri Tall, Speedy Receivers
Cornerbacks coach Jason Jones meets with members of the media following Wednesday's practice.
On Monday, junior cornerback Senquez Golson compared the Missouri group of receivers to playing against three or four Mike Evans from Texas A&M.
In the Oct. 12 meeting against Texas A&M, the Ole Miss defense, notably Golson, held Evans to a season-low 46 yards on four catches and without a touchdown, but Missouri presents a different challenge this week with all four of its starting receivers listed at 6-foot-2 or taller.
Sophomore Dorial Green-Beckham and senior L'Damian Washington (6-foot-2), who each have 500-plus receiving yards and nine touchdowns, are listed at 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-2, respectively. For the Rebels, Golson and sophomore cornerback Mike Hilton are listed at 5-foot-9 and 5-foot-8, respectively.
"Most of the time you have one guy who is 6-5 guy, but to have several like they have is unusual," cornerbacks coach Jason Jones said. "All three, they can run and catch the football. It's going to be a good challenge for us."
"We can't make them any taller," defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said. "There's nothing we can do about that. We have to go with what we got and work the fundamentals to try to challenge those guys."
Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack meets with members of the media following Wednesday's practice.
Another cornerback in the mix for Ole Miss will be freshman Derrick Jones, who made his college debut at No. 1 Alabama and has started three games since then. At 6-foot-3, he can help the Rebel defense match up against Missouri's tall receivers.
"After recruiting, I hoped he was going to be a safety, but I'm glad to have him as a corner," Wommack said. "I didn't realize he had the kind of hips and speed that he has. A lot of times long guys like him struggle with change of direction, but he's got all those things. He will make a bunch of money someday."
Courtney Cunningham is a builder. While playing volleyball for Ole Miss from 2009-11, Cunningham helped build the Rebels into an NCAA Tournament team while also earning her civil engineering degree. From that degree, Cunningham is helping build dreams, including her own.
Cunningham spent two weeks this past August in Togo with Engineers Without Borders where she helped with the first phase of a 5- to 10-year project to build a school for one of the communities in the West African nation.
While the group faced many obstacles, they were able to pour two slabs for each classroom, put up all the columns to the correct height and set up an L-shape concrete beam for one of the classrooms.
"We came into a lot of obstacles that prevented us from getting the classrooms done in time," Cunningham said. "That's what happens whenever you go to a foreign country and you don't speak the language. There are always some difficulties you come across."
Cunningham described the typical day, in which they worked from sun up to sun down, in two words: very hot.
"We are so blessed here, and to go over there and have all those challenges put in front of us, and as engineers, we had to figure it out," she said. "They gave us the wrong shipment of rocks for our concrete mix and gravel, so we had to sort rocks. I took that challenge upon myself. It was very tedious, but it needed to be done. And it was a great way to get the kids involved.
"We would measure out an inch on the wheelbarrow. We put the rocks in there, and if it did not fit we would throw it out, and if it did fit we kept it in the wheelbarrow. You can only imagine how challenging this was because none of the kids spoke English, they all spoke French."
Cunningham left Togo on Aug. 21, spent a day in Oxford and then drove to Houston, where she now works as an engineer in training (EIT) for Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam. There, she helps design plans for clients while also learning from the professional engineers (PE) above her.
"Transportation engineering was not really what I worked on when I was in Togo, but the lessons I learned from Togo are helping me here," Cunningham said. "I learned how to deal with difficulties. Everything is not going to go right in engineering; you just have to find a way to make it work. It kind of goes back to volleyball and the classroom as well. You always encounter issues, and something not going right; it's how you and your mindset can make the problem better or fix it."
It's a five-year process from EIT to PE, during which Cunningham has to keep a record of all the projects she works on and then take an exam. That professional engineering license, Cunningham said, is her end goal, what she's working for and her everything right now, but she also sees something beyond the license.
"The dream career is to travel while doing engineering and get to a point where I can call myself a project manager," Cunningham said. "That's the end goal for me. That's what my eye is on right now."
There's a different air surrounding this week's primetime showdown with No. 8 Missouri, the Rebels' first top-10 test since a 27-24 win over then-No. 6 LSU back on Oct. 19.
"It's a huge week for us," junior quarterback Bo Wallace said. "We get to see how good we are. We had some games that we felt like we didn't play as well in that we could have been in, but this is our redemption game that we can go back and see how good we are."
"In the weight room yesterday, it was crazy," junior linebacker Serderius Bryant said. "No one was talking or doing anything. We're telling each other this a game that no one should have to get you amped for. You should be motivated and feel that urge to do what you can do.
The Rebels (7-3, 3-3 SEC) have won four straight, having eclipsed 500 total offense yards in each of the four games, including a school-record 751 against Troy this past Saturday. They also re-entered the BCS and Associated Press polls at No. 24.
The Tigers (9-1, 5-1 SEC) rank in the top three in the SEC and top 20 in the nation in both scoring offense (41.3 points per game) and scoring defense (20.2). Other than their loss to South Carolina, none of their wins have been decided by less than 15 points.
"I don't know that having to win the game will answer the question, 'Are you really a top-25 team?'" Freeze said. "But if we go out, compete and have a chance to win it, that's what we're asking for right now out of our kids in Year Two.
"Let's go find out where we stand and how we match up with the elite in the nation right. Hopefully, we'll be in it at the end and see. With the schedule we have played, looking back on it, we have had our share of tests, and this will be another one Saturday night."
When asked about keys to the matchup, Freeze mentioned two specifically: running the ball effectively and eliminating explosive plays in the passing game.
"We're pretty good when we can run it and mix in the play-action pass and the stuff we like to do off our run game," Freeze said. "When we're not running it -- you look at the Alabama and Auburn games -- we're not the same team.
"(Cornerbacks coach) Jason Jones put together a reel of their explosive receivers play, and it's quite impressive, so we have a tall task there. If we can eliminate those and are able run the ball the ball effectively, that will go a long way in helping us be in this game.
The Challenge On Defense
Senior James Franklin is listed as the starter at quarterback for the Tigers this week, having missed the last four games since suffering a shoulder injury against Georgia on Oct. 12.
Franklin averages 225.3 passing yards per game and has thrown for 14 touchdowns with just three interceptions. His backup, redshirt freshman Maty Mauk, averages 95.1 passing yards per game and 10 touchdowns with just two interceptions.
"There's not much difference in the two quarterbacks, so that's the good thing," Freeze said. "They are going to be who they are. They have done the exact same things with their second guy that they do with their first guy, so it's not like you're preparing for two different schemes. They have confidence in both of them and have good reason to."
The Tigers also have a talented group of receivers, led by sophomore Dorial Green-Beckham and senior L'Damian Washington who each have 500-plus receiving yards and nine touchdowns. Each of their four starting receivers are listed at 6-foot-2 or taller, with Green-Beckham at 6-foot-6 and Washington at 6-foot-4.
Ole Miss junior cornerback Senquez Golson compared it to playing against three or four Mike Evans from Texas A&M. Both he and sophomore cornerback Mike Hilton said it's about playing physical with the tall, speedy receivers from Missouri.
"That's a physics problem that we can't solve," said Freeze of their height. "It's a concern for sure because there are times where their guys are more able to make a play on the ball than some defensive backs they have faced. That is a great concern and something that we have to try to figure out what the best answers are when those cases arise."
The Challenge On Offense
One of the keys to the game, Freeze said, is Missouri's ability to stop the run. The Tigers rank second in the league and 14th nationally in rushing defense (111.9 ypg). In earlier losses to Alabama and Auburn, Ole Miss rushed for 46 and 124 yards, respectively.
In recent games, the Rebels have run the ball better, including a season-high 382 yards against Troy, and Freeze credited the offensive line progressing and being more multiple, while senior offensive linemen Pierce Burton and Emmanuel McCray credited continuity and working better with double teams.
"Very few people have been able to line up and just run the ball effectively on them to keep you off balance, and then they get you one-dimension and those ends are quick and cause trouble in the backfield for you," Freeze said. "We have to try to find a way to run the ball effective enough so that we can be who we are and want to be and keep them thinking we're balanced, which we have been as of late."
Missouri also does a great job of generating pressure and forcing turnovers, and it starts with their defensive line.
The Tigers lead the league in sacks and rank third nationally with 34 sacks, as well as lead the league and rank seventh nationally with 17 interceptions. It's a great challenge for junior quarterback Bo Wallace, who after throwing 17 interceptions last year, has only been picked off five times through 10 games this season.
"Sometimes the pressure is causing some of it, but they do a great job also of mixing up their coverages and causing you to want to be greedy," Freeze said. "If you're not patient against them, because they're going to make you go 8, 10, 12-play drives to get points and they're very good in the red zone. In most of their games, they're ahead and forcing you to throw a lot, and they're stopping the run, so the sacks are coming because when they get you in a position where they know you have to throw, their guys are very good at that."
"I have to be sharp every week, no matter who we play," Wallace said. "We play in probably the best conference in America. Every week, we're going to play against guys who can go get the ball and great defensive backs. There are great defenses in this league, so it's the same every week."
Their defensive line is led by a talented duo at the ends. Senior Michael Sam leads the league and ranks sixth nationally with 10 sacks and also leads the league and ranks fifth nationally with 16 tackles for loss. On the other side, junior Kony Ealy, ranks fourth in the SEC with 6.5 sacks and leads the team with 13 quarterback hurries.
"They do a lot of movement, so it will be a unique challenge for us," Burton said. "It's not just like I'm watching a defensive end every time. The defensive end is going to be slanting. They're doing run-game twists on first down. We haven't seen that all year except for SEMO. That's a really unique thing to see."
"They are very talented," McCray said. "They are slated as one of the best in the SEC. They play pretty hard and all have pretty good motors. It's not just about outstanding ability, they all play as a good unit."
Freshman wide receiver Laquon Treadwell caught a short pass from junior quarterback Bo Wallace, made six Troy defenders miss and dove into the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown. It was the start of a historic day for the Ole Miss offense, as the Rebels rolled up a school-record 751 total yards in a 51-21 win over Troy Saturday.
"When he caught it, I saw so many people around him, in my mind, I'm thinking what are we going to call next knowing that he's going to get tackled there," offensive coordinator Dan Werner said. "I'm thinking in my game plan we're about the 10- or 15-yard line, and then he kept breaking tackles and then he gets closer and closer, and then he pops it in for the touchdown. As an offensive coordinator, you love that because you set down the game plan and smile for a little bit."
The 751 total yards eclipsed the previous record of 623 vs. Auburn in 1951. It was also the highest in the SEC this year and fifth-most in league history. It was a balanced attack with a season-high 382 yards on the ground and 369 through the air, with completions to nine different receivers, while seven different players rushed at least once.
"Offensively, we broke a school record in total yards," head coach Hugh Freeze said. "That's always good and means you're doing something right. We broke it in the third quarter, so it was a good day. We finished today, as far as our 1's and 2's, and now it's time to move on to the next one."
"We talk to our guys every week about it doesn't matter who we're playing; we got to make sure that we play as well as we can and prepare the same way every week," Werner said. "They came out with a game plan and understood it. They did a great job and were really efficient, especially in the first half."
Wallace continues to move up in the record books and now ranks fourth all-time in career passing yards (5,658) and career total offense yards (6,280). He completed 17-of-26 passes for 272 yards and three touchdowns.
"In JUCO a couple of times," said Wallace of playing in a game where the offense eclipsed 700 total offensive yards. "It was pretty ridiculous. It took me back to those days. I think we ran the ball a little more today."
Treadwell led the receiving corps with four catches for 53 yards and two touchdowns, as he set freshman records for receiving yards (477) and touchdown catches (5) in a season. Fellow freshman Quincy Adeboyejo caught his first career touchdown, a 24-yard reception from Wallace.
"He's so physical that he reminds me of a young Michael Irvin," said Werner of Treadwell. "That's how Michael played. Michael wasn't a huge burner but he knew how to get open, had very strong hands, and when he caught the ball, he out-physicals you, and that's what Laquon does."
Ole Miss has won four straight, as it enters its final two games at home against No. 8 Missouri and at Mississippi State on Thanksgiving night. The offense has surpassed 500 total yards each of the last four games and five times this year, including Saturday's historic output.
Missouri, the Rebels' next opponent in Saturday's primetime showdown on ESPN, enters the game ranked third in the SEC in scoring defense (20.2 points per game) and leads the league with 34 sacks.
"The speed off their edge is tremendous," Freeze said. "They are very sound and athletic on the back end. Their front is as good as we have faced athletically, particularly on the ends."
"I watched a couple of games on the TV when we had late games," Wallace said. "Everybody talks about their defensive line. They have two good quarterbacks, so we have to be ready to put up points."
2013 World Championships,
2016 Summer Olympics,
Alabama Crimson Tide,
Armintie Price Herrington,
BBVA Compass Bowl,
Be The Fan,
Cal Ripken Senior League,
California Collegiate League,
Cape Cod League,
Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge,
Colorado Springs Sky Sox,
Dr. Jamil Northcutt;,
Engineers Without Border,
ESPN College Gameday,
Evan St. Laurent,
Florida State Seminoles,
Florida State Soccer,
From The Vault,
Hard Core Fighter,
Jackson Touchdown Club,
Jeff Scott Hugh Freeze,
Los Angeles Sparks,
Mary Ashton Nall,
mary ashton nall,
Meet The Rebels Day,
NCAA Baseball Tournament,
NCAA Doubles Final Four,
NCAA Tennis Final Four,
NFL Pro Bowl,
North Carolina State,
Ole Miss Athletics,
Ole Miss Athletics Foundation,
Ole Miss Baseball,
Ole Miss Basketball,
Ole Miss Engineering,
Ole Miss Football,
Ole Miss Foundation,
Ole Miss Hoops,
Ole Miss Men's Basketball,
Ole Miss Men's Golf,
Ole Miss Men's Hoops,
Ole Miss Men's Tennis,
Ole Miss Rebels,
Ole Miss Soccer,
Ole Miss Softball,
Ole Miss Tennis,
Ole Miss Track,
Ole Miss Track and Field,
Ole Miss Volleyball,
Ole Miss Women's Basketball,
Ole Miss Women's Golf,
Ole Miss Women's Tennis,
Rebel Media Day,
Rebel Road Trip,
Road To Omaha,
School of Education,
SEC Baseball Tournament,
SEC Media Days,
Spain National Team,
State of Ole Miss Athletics,
Under-19 World Championship,
Under-20 European Championships,
University of Mississippi,
USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships,
USA Track & Field,
Walk Out Songs,
William & Mary,
William Winter Institute,
Women's Basketball; Yolanda Moore,
Coach Freeze is a genuine coach and our players and fans adore him!! in post Vote Freeze For Coach Of The Year
Gary Vaughn said:
It's great to be a Rebel fan. Coach Freeze in post Vote Freeze For Coach Of The Year
Has brought back the excitement
Competitiveness we all so desire. The
fan base and even our doubters are
Paying attention. Even the whole country
Sport tLk shows ect. Are taking notice.
After we upset Alabama this weekend
38-27 we will bolt to a top 12 or better
Ranking. Go Rebels
I am not and never have been an Ole Miss fan. I am however a Coach Freeze fan. I like what he represents in today's world of big time sports and what he stands for in leading young men of today into a more responsible role. He is everything that Ole Miss has never had. I am on his band wagon winning or losing. in post Vote Freeze For Coach Of The Year
Cory Wilson said:
How can I get my hands on one of these? in post 2013 Fall Sports Player Posters
Dave Darnell said:
Gray pants with red and blue stripes on the legs have served Ole Miss football my entire life time. The blue on blue, red on red and white on white are hideous and UGLY! Leave the pants alone.
Dave Darnell in post New Football Uniforms Unveiled
Ole Miss '68
Tiger fan here (LSU) b we now have 3 in the SEC. You guys looked great last year. You looked coached, and the players were up for every game. Good to see you back in the hunt. in post Looking Ahead to 2013 On Gridiron
Brenda Maxie said:
Go Nephew congraulation on your trip to the olympics. Have a good time. in post UPDATE: Rebel. Champion. Olympian. Young's Blog
Go Isiah! Your Rebel family is pulling for you and can't wait to see you on the podium with your medal! in post UPDATE: Rebel. Champion. Olympian. Young's Blog
who will win the most gold medals?
http://www.formvote.com/discuss.php?postid=281510897524932 in post UPDATE: Rebel. Champion. Olympian. Young's Blog
BILL LOTT said:
GREAT JOB THIS YEAR GUYS - WISHING THE REBELS THE VERY BEST IN THE COMPASS BOWL - LETS PICK A FIGHT WITH PITT AND SHOW THEM WHAT OUR REBELS ARE ALL ABOUT. HOTTY-TODDY - GO REBELS. BE BLESSED AND GOOD LUCK! in post Some Notes On Bowl Trip