GAMEDAY PREVIEW: Ole Miss vs. UTEP

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Bo Wallace
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Bo Wallace
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

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OXFORD, Miss. - After opening the 2012 season with a win for the first time since 2009, the Ole Miss Rebels will be looking to make it a 2-0 start when they face UTEP tonight.

Last Saturday’s 49-27 victory over Central Arkansas marked the beginning of the Hugh Freeze era, as well as the debut for many Ole Miss players.

“We were thrilled to see our kids excited the other night with a victory,” said Freeze.  “It’s been a while since some of them have experienced that. It was a very fun locker room to be a part of.”

Sophomore quarterback Bo Wallace set a school record for total yards in an Ole Miss debut with a team-high 264 passing yards and a team-high 82 rushing yards.  Wallace accounted for three of the team’s touchdowns, two through the air and one on the ground.

Also in his Rebel debut, redshirt-freshman linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche recorded a team-high eight tackles, including three for a loss as well as a sack.

Junior quarterback Barry Brunetti recorded his first touchdowns as a Rebel with one coming on an 11-yard pass to Jamal Mosley and the other on an 11-yard run.

Sophomore defensive end C.J. Johnson was honored as the Southeastern Conference Co-Defensive Lineman of the Week after the season opener.  Johnson recorded six tackles and a big sack against the Bears.

UTEP (0-1) faced a tough Oklahoma team, ranked fourth in the nation, but managed to hang with them for most of the game with the score 7-7 at halftime, and Oklahoma only leading 10-7 after three quarters. The Sooners went on to win 24-7.

UTEP was led by sophomore running back Nathan Jeffery who rushed for 177 yards, averaging 8.4 yards per carry.  He also returned a blocked punt 24 yards for the Miners’ only touchdown of the game.

Freeze noted this past week the different team he has seen in UTEP since the film from last year.

“They’re definitely a different looking team,” said Freeze. “We’ve got our hands full with them. They’ve got a tremendous tailback, their defensive line is extremely talented, and their kicking game is solid. It’s going to be a great challenge.”

Ole Miss and UTEP have faced each other just once before, when the Miners won the 1967 Sun Bowl 14-7 in El Paso.

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