Preview: Ole Miss vs. Presbyterian
The Ole Miss Rebels (7-2, 4-2 SEC) take the field against the Presbyterian College Blue Hose (5-4, 2-2 Big South) today at 11:00 am (CT) in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
The Rebels, ranked 11th in the College Football Playoff rankings, are coming off heartbreaking losses to LSU and Auburn the last two weeks and look to get back on track when they face the FCS Presbyterian team.
As Rebel fans can tell you, their team lost far more than a football game last Saturday when star wide receiver Laquon Treadwell was injured on what appeared to be the winning play late in the game for the Rebels against Auburn.
Instead of winning the game, however, the Rebels’ touchdown was reversed and their star receiver lost for the season with a broken leg and dislocated ankle. Treadwell joins junior linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche who is also out for the year after suffering an injury against LSU.
The Blue Hose will have a tough time scoring on Ole Miss, as the Rebels lead the nation in scoring defense (13.2 points per game) and have only given up 13 touchdowns all season—tied for second-fewest in the nation. Ole Miss also leads the SEC and is tied for the national lead with 18 interceptions.
Offensively, Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace is only 261 yards short of Eli Manning’s school record for total offense. Wallace was named a semi-finalist for both the Maxwell and Davey O’Brien awards this week.
Different look at receiver for the Rebels
The senior quarterback’s targets will look a bit different this Saturday with Treadwell’s absence. In his press conference this week, Coach Freeze said he expects Vince Sanders, Quincy Adeboyejo and Cody Core to help fill the void at receiver.
Wallace isn’t worried about the other receivers stepping up. In Monday’s press conference, he said:
“I told (Markell) Pack Saturday night, he came to my house, that he has to step up, and he’s not a freshman anymore. He’s going to have to step up. Obviously Vince (Sanders) is going to be the older guy and go-to guy right now. Every time we’ve needed Vince to make a play he’s made it, so I have confidence in our receivers. I know they are going to make plays for me. It’s going to hurt not having Laquon, but we still have a lot to play for this season, and there’s season left to go.”
SEC West Title still within reach
There is indeed plenty of season left to go for the Rebels. They will need some help, but they’re not out of the SEC West title hunt yet. They need a few things to happen—and these things were outlined by Kyle Campbell, Asst. AD for Media and Public Relations earlier this week.
Click here to see the Rebels’ road to the Western Division title.
This weekend, perhaps the toughest opponent the Rebels face is their own psyche. Coach Freeze commented on the adversity his team has faced recently and the challenges facing them: ”For me to expect our kids to be all hyped up and excited after coming off of the last two weeks is probably not a reasonable expectation,” Freeze said. ”I have to get them ready to execute. That falls on me.”
Fortunately, the Rebels will be facing a team today that plays at the Football Championship Subdivision level—a team that has been blown out by Northern Illinois and NC State, its other two FBS opponents this year.
Scouting the Blue Hose
Presbyterian College, located in Clinton, South Carolina, is 0-8 against FBS schools since they moved to NCAA Division I in 2008. On offense, their players to watch include running back Demarcus Rouse, who has 512 yards and 3 TDs this year and quarterback Heys McMath, who has thrown for 1,171 yards, six touchdowns and seven interceptions in eight games.Defensively, the Blue Hose has forced 14 turnovers, including eight picks and six fumble recoveries.
Coach Freeze and his team will use this game and next week’s open date to heal their bodies, minds and hearts as they prepare for a stretch run that includes Arkansas and Mississippi State:
”It’s not over. It can be the wild, wild West before it’s over. You don’t know who is going to win and who is going to lose on a given night. We just have to worry about us and continue to stay the course and not be discouraged.”
The game will be televised on the SEC Network and broadcast on satellite radio on Sirius 93 and XM 190. Live Stats and live audio can also be found on OleMissSports.com and for twitter updates, follow: @OleMissFB
Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn’s love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.