December 2013 Archives
Game MVP Bo Wallace and head coach Hugh Freeze meet with members of the media after Ole Miss' 25-17 win over Georgia Tech in the Franklin American Mortgage Company Music City Bowl.
In the regular season finale at Mississippi State, junior quarterback Bo Wallace was 26-of-40 for 182 yards with three interceptions and a lost fumble. A month later, Wallace responded to that adversity in a huge way, as he helped lead Ole Miss to a 25-17 win over Georgia Tech in the Franklin American Mortgage Company Music City Bowl and the program's first eight-win season since 2009.
"I have said that there's no way we would be sitting here with 15 wins, including two bowl victories, in two years had Bo not been here with us," head coach Hugh Freeze said. "I knew from watching him prepare that the way we ended the season didn't set well him, nor did it for me. I liked the way he prepared and I'm proud that he was able to have the game he had today."
"Going into this game, I knew I needed to have a good one," Wallace said. "But at the same time, sometimes I try to make too many plays. All day, I was thinking, don't try to make too many plays; just make the plays that are there, and that's what I did today in getting the ball to those receivers. They can run after the catch and make the stats look pretty."
The Pulaski, Tenn., native threw one touchdown and ran for two more on the way game MVP honors. Wallace finished the game 22-of-32 for 256 yards, as well as a career-high 86 yards rushing on 13 carries. He also set the Ole Miss single-season records for completions and total yards, which were both previously held by Eli Manning.
"I wanted to get the win first," Wallace said of the game MVP honors. "I knew that if I had a good game, we would probably win the game. Like I said, I tried not to press too much out there. I knew the plays would come if I made the plays that were there."
Junior wide receiver Donte Moncrief led the Ole Miss receiving corps with six catches for 113 yards and a touchdown, his fifth game with 100 or more receiving yards this season. Wallace also credited his senior-laden offensive line, with four senior starters in offensive tackles Emmanuel McCray and Pierce Burton, offensive guard Jared Duke and center Evan Swindall.
The unit allowed just two sacks and helped Ole Miss outgain Georgia Tech, 221-151, on the ground. The Yellow Jackets entered the game ranked in the top 10 nationally in both rushing offense and rushing defense, and the 221 rushing yards were the second-most allowed they allowed this season.
"That was their best day as far as getting set to get the tempo going and rolling," Wallace said. "I felt really comfortable back there. That was probably as comfortable as I have been all season. We had a lot of seniors up there. They all did a great job, and I'm glad they get to leave on a good note."
Ole Miss Head Coach Hugh Freeze
On preparing for Georgia Tech: "Preparing for them is a whole different animal from what we have seen this year. We didn't have anyone on the schedule that was remotely similar to them offensively, so it's a great challenge. Even though we have had extra time, and our kids have done as good a job trying to prepare as we can, there's no way we can simulate the speed at which they do it. Hopefully, we can adjust to the speed of the game before too much damage is done. If you watch them, they're very good at jumping out on top because of how well they do what they do.
"Defensively, they remind me a lot of some of the teams we have played. They are very, very sound and make you earn every point you get. They give up very few big plays, have a tremendous pass rusher who gives you problems and they stop the run, and those are the teams we have struggled with this year when they stop the run."
On the importance of the game: "Particularly at this stage of where we are in our program, I don't want make too much or too little of one game. This is one game, and it's important, and I know both teams are going to want to win. It would certainly be very advantageous for us to win. It will help us in the offseason and help us have a different feeling in the way we ended the season. It helps us in recruiting. But at the same time, it is just one game, and we're playing a quality opponent. You want to play in these games, but you can be beaten by those teams. There's no way we're going to define ourselves by whether this game goes our way or the other way."
On freshman tight end Evan Engram: "He was sore this morning. He's going to give it a go. We'll see how healthy he can be. We have not asked him to block a five technique yet in too extreme conditions. That will happen Monday, and I'm not sure how he will do. It's good to have him back. We changed some when we lost him so it's good to have him back. He's going to push through it. How many snaps he can really go? I don't know. He has not played in eight to nine weeks now. That's a lot of time off."
Ole Miss junior quarterback Bo Wallace
On preparing for Georgia Tech: "We're prepared. We have had a little more time to prepare for them, and we have taken advantage of it. I'm just excited to go play the game."
On playing close to home: "It's fun. I love Nashville. I love Tennessee. I live 40 minutes from here, so I will have a lot of family and friends here. I'm excited about it, and I grew up going and watching the Titans play, so it will be cool to play in their stadium."
On the offensive line injuries: "It hurts to have Laremy (Tunsil) out and have Aaron (Morris) and those guys out. We have had to deal with that all year. We have some new things going into the run game that we're excited about.
On the importance of the game: "It's huge. It gives us momentum into recruiting and gets the bad taste out of our mouths from the Egg Bowl. We really need to win this game."
More from defensive coordinator Dave Wommack
On preparing for the Georgia Tech option attack: "It's still a little disadvantage because they do thousands and thousands of reps and we've had somewhere around 450 reps. Our guys have really taken on the challenge and are looking forward to it. We're going to execute really well."
On how Georgia Tech differs from when he was on staff there: "They've changed a little bit. There are a few more formations, but the basis of it, the true triple option and the trap option and that kind of thing, is the same. They throw it a little bit more than they used to with this quarterback, as far as tendencies are concerned. It's a bowl game. You can expect anything."
On what they have gained preparing for Georgia Tech: "We have gotten a lot out of it from the standpoint of learning to play cut blocks better. We're putting our eyes in the right place. All those things carry over. Tackling, too. It's still football for us. Our guys have really taken a hold of what we're wanting to do and executing."
Junior guard Jarvis Summers scored a game-high 25 points and senior guard Marshall Henderson added 15 points in his first start of the season, as Ole Miss outlasted Middle Tennessee State 72-63 on Saturday.
"This was the most quality of the wins that we have had because of the way they play and what they have accomplished," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "A lot of those guys have been a part of a banner run for Middle, and so I knew it was going to be a fistfight, and that's exactly what is was. Those are the type of games that prepare you for SEC play. That was an SEC-type feel for me."
It was Summers' second-highest point total of the season and his eighth game in double figures in nine games this season. He had 13 of his 25 points in the second half on 4-for-4 shooting, including 2-for-2 from 3-point range, and 3-for-5 from the free throw line.
"Jarvis Summers continues to be our MVP and make big plays for us throughout the course of the game," Kennedy said.
"Coach (Kennedy) came to me after the exhibition game and told me I had to be more aggressive, and we were going to need more scoring," Summers said. "When he told me that, I got in the gym and tried to get more aggressive."
Middle Tennessee used a 10-0 run to take a 54-48 lead with 9:05 left in the game. Ole Miss answered with a 10-6 run, and minutes later, senior guard Marshall Henderson hit his third 3-pointer to give Ole Miss a 61-60 lead with 5:33 left, and the Rebels did not trail the rest of the game.
The Blue Raiders got to within three at 66-63, and after an Ole Miss turnover, they had possession for a chance to tie, but junior forward Aaron Jones grabbed the defensive rebound after their first missed shot, and Henderson hit his fourth 3-pointer on the other end to extend the lead to 69-63.
"Those are hard to live with when they don't go in," Kennedy said of Henderson's fourth 3-pointer. "I understand there's give and take, and you have to allow him to have the freedom in those moments. He did a good job of playing within the team concept. He usually can score on loose ball and open-floor opportunities, and it was something late in the shot clock. They don't think he's going to shoot it, and he stepped up and knocked it down."
"Any shot Marshall takes, I feel like it's going in because he puts the work in, and we're comfortable with him taking shots," Summers said. "He did a lot for us, and he's still doing it, and everybody is comfortable with what he does."
After scoring a career-high 39 points in last Sunday's 115-105 overtime loss to Oregon, Henderson finished with 15 points on 4-for-11 shooting, including 4-for-9 from behind the arc. He also helped spark a 9-0 run in the first half to build a 37-30 halftime lead for the Rebels.
Along with Henderson, junior guard LaDarius White was entered into the starting lineup, his second start of the season, and he responded with 11 points, his second straight game in double figures and third overall this season.
"We're trying to get different guys going," Kennedy said. "I haven't been really pleased with a couple of guys and their production in the minutes that they're given. They have to produce, and we haven't been getting the production, so we wanted to change the flow. It was successful for us early, and we got a number of contributions from a number of different guys."
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."
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