GAMEDAY PREVIEW: Ole Miss vs. Texas A&M

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Barry Brunetti
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Barry Brunetti
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

Oct. 6, 2012

Gameday Central | Scouting Report | Gametracker

TV: ESPNU | Ole Miss Radio Network (Sirius 123)

OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss Rebels (3-2, 0-1 SEC) open home conference play against Southeastern Conference newcomer Texas A&M (3-1, 1-1) today at 6 p.m.

The Rebels are playing their second of eight straight league games. Hugh Freeze’s team is coming off of a 33-14 loss at Alabama last weekend, but played a tough game against the nation’s top team.  Ole Miss led the Tide 7-6 with 13:45 left in the 2nd quarter, marking the first time Alabama had trailed in 10 games.  Ole Miss also held the Crimson Tide to just six second-half points.

Texas A&M comes off of a dominating performance against the Arkansas Razorbacks last weekend in College Station.  Aggie redshirt-freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel threw for 453 yards with three touchdowns, while rushing for another 104 yards and a touchdown.

“He has a lot of things that are impressive,” said Freeze of Manziel.  “He has great speed and mobility. At the end of the day, the guy finds a way to extend play after play.  Then it ends up being a dagger to you.”

Ole Miss ranks top four in the SEC in total offense (4th), rushing offense (4th), third down percentage (1st) and first downs (2nd).  The Rebels have also become the least penalized team in the SEC, and fourth-best in the nation, averaging only 3.6 penalties per game.

Players who have stood out for the Rebels after five games include sophomore wide receiver Donte Moncrief, whose 76.0 receiving yards per game ranks fifth among SEC players, and junior running back Jeff Scott, who is ninth in the SEC with 79.2 rushing yards per outing. Redshirt-freshman linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche is the reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Week after his 11-tackle, 3.0-TFL performance in Tuscaloosa.

“Our kids are playing with great energy and passion, but there are a lot of mistakes,” said Freeze.  “The next step in our program is to get into the fourth quarter with some of these conference opponents that are really good teams and us learn from that regardless of the outcome.”

Texas A&M boasts the league’s top scoring offense (48.2 points per game) and ranks second in total offense and pass offense. The Aggies’ defense holds opponents to just 11.8 points per outing, third-best among SEC teams.

This will be the fifth meeting between the Rebels and Aggies and the first with both in the Southeastern Conference. They last met in 1980, a 23-20 A&M win. This marks the first time Ole Miss will play an SEC newcomer since beating the Arkansas Razorbacks in 1992 in Little Rock, 17-3.

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