GAMEDAY: No. 16 Ole Miss vs. Memphis
Oct. 1, 2016

By Dylan Edwards,

Another game, another undefeated opponent for No. 16 Ole Miss. This time, it’s in the form of regional rival Memphis in the first home night game of the season.

“We're excited to play Memphis this week,” Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said. “They are a very confident football team that has won a lot of games in the last few years. Justin (Fuente) did a great job there and now Mike (Norvell) has obviously been carrying it on. They put up some crazy numbers offensively and defensively and they are playing very, very good football.”

Memphis lost first-round quarterback Paxton Lynch to the NFL Draft, but their offense hasn’t slowed down. The Tigers have put up 155 points over their first three games led by signal caller Riley Ferguson.

“He has played really well,” Freeze said. “I don't know that it would be fair for me to try to asses it to (Paxton) Lynch until I see him live, but on film he is making every throw, he uses his feet, and seemed like a leader and competitive dude.”

Memphis’s offense is similar to Ole Miss’ in that it’s only moments away at any time from a big play. The Rebels will look to do what no team has done yet this season, slow them down.

“There actually wasn't a single explosive play that we gave up (against Georgia), which is big for us,” Freeze said. “We had been susceptible to some of that. This week will test us in that regard again. This team is really explosive on offense. They are kind of like us and take chances to get a lot of explosive plays.”

Ole Miss’ young secondary continues to improve with each game they get under their belts. They will look to continue taking steps against Memphis.

“There are a bunch of young ones,” Freeze said. “They haven't played much football and I think Corey (Batoon), Jason (Jones) and I have worked hard at coaching them the past few weeks to not give up explosive plays, to get their eyes right and to be disciplined on every snap.”

Despite the brutal opening schedule, Ole Miss is still near the top of the SEC in most offensive categories. Ole Miss' offense has averaged 40 points a game despite playing three top-15 opponents through four games.

“I think we are an explosive offense,” Freeze said. “I think we are a bend but don't break defense. I think when we don't turn the ball over we are very, very good."

As it has been for the first four games of the season, it’s vital for Ole Miss to protect the ball on offense and avoid costly turnovers. Since Freeze took over, Ole Miss is 18-4 when they finish a game with a positive turnover margin. Ole Miss’ offense will be looking to build on its efficient performance in the blowout win against Georgia.

“(Georgia) was our best complete game thus far and we did nothing to give up momentum which I think happened in the two losses we have had, due to turnovers, which I was pleased to see,” Freeze said.

Ole Miss and Memphis kick off at 6 p.m., in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.






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