The Freeze Era Starts Slow, Finishes Strong
By: Ryan Schmelz
‘The Grove’ wasn’t the only event on Labor Day weekend in Oxford, Mississippi. Ole Miss football got their first victory against Central Arkansas in the coaching debut of Hugh Freeze.
The Rebels had question marks at the quarterback position going into the game, but junior college transfer Bo Wallace made a strong statement. Wallace completed 20 of his passes throwing for 246 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception. Wallace also led the team in rushing with 82 yards and a 25-yard rushing touchdown for the first score of the game.
Other standouts included receiver Donte Moncrief, who led the team in receiving with 8 receptions, 104 yards and a score. Moncrief caught Wallace’s first touchdown as a Rebel.
The Rebels got off to a slow start, trailing at the half 20 to 14. The second half was a different story as the Rebels rallied to score 35 unanswered points. Ole Miss ended the game with 565 total yards, including 330 yard through the air.
The Rebel’s defense struggled for the most part but featured a strong performance from linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche, who led the team with eight tackles, three for losses.
The final score was 49-27 and the first season opener Ole Miss has won since 2009.
For football news this past weekend, Bo Wallace has proven he is the quarterback Ole Miss has been looking for the Rebels 28-10 victory over UTEP. This is only the second time in 10 seasons Ole Miss has started a season 2-0.
Wallace threw for 3 touchdowns and ran for another, completing 15 of his 22 passes for 174 yards. The potential Ole Miss fans saw in Jeff Scott last season emerged as Scott ran for 113 yards on 13 carries. Donte Moncrief had 3 receptions for 72 yards contributing to the Rebels 538 yards of total offence.
The Rebel defense stepped-up on two UTEP scoring opportunities in the second quarter. The first on a fourth down stop on the 3 yard line by Gilbert Pena, the second was when back-up quarterback Carson Megar was picked off in the end zone by Rebel safety Cody Prewitt.
The Rebels have their first ranked opponent coming to Oxford next weekend as the Texas Longhorns come to town 2-0.