Scouting the Rebels
by Murray Poole
Location: Oxford, Miss.
Conference: SEC West
Rebels in a thumbnail: After floundering through a 2-10
season while going winless in the SEC (0-8) in 2011, Ole Miss
brought in Hugh Freeze from Arkansas State to guide the
Rebels. And thus far here in 2012, Ole Miss has compiled a 5-
3 worksheet (2-2 SEC). The Rebels have beaten Central
Arkansas (49-27), UTEP (28-10), Tulane (39-0), Auburn (41-
20) and Arkansas (30-27) while falling to Texas (66-31), Alabama
(33-14) and Texas A&M (30-27).
A look at the Ole Miss offense: The Rebels returned seven
offensive starters from last year’s team, one of them being
junior tailback Jeff Scott who again leads Ole Miss in rushing
with 612 yards (5.4 average per carry) and six touchdowns.
Sophomore quarterback Bo Wallace (6-4, 204) is a junior college
transfer who has passed for 1,649 yards and 10 touchdowns,
with nine interceptions. Wallace, also a dangerous
runner, follows Scott on the Rebel rushing list with 263 yards
and five scores. Ole Miss’s leading receiver is also a sophomore,
Donte Moncrief, and has snared 39 passes for 540 yards
and five touchdowns.
A look at the Ole Miss defense: With six returning regulars
returning on defense for this season, the Rebels are currently
paced by redshirt freshman linebacker Denzel
Nkemdiche (52 tackles), who’s the older brother of Grayson
High’s Robert Nkemdiche, generally regarded as the nation’s
top prep recruit, as well as sophomore strong safety Cody Prewitt
(49 tackles, 2 interceptions), junior linebacker Mike Marry
(46 tackles) and junior safety Charles Sawyer (44 tackles).
What Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze says: “I don’t think
we have arrived, but I do think our staff has done a remarkable
job of building relationships so there is some trust being
built. The kids deserve a lot of credit. They have continued to
fight, even after losses. Our staff carries the demeanor that
we are going to win and I think that has rubbed off on the kids
some. Now we’ve got a big road game at Georgia.”
Game Prediction: With the Bulldogs coming off the gigantic
win over the Florida Gators, this game looms even larger now
for Georgia as it must get by both Ole Miss and Auburn next
week to capture the SEC East crown for a second consecutive
season. I called this game at 38-14 in the preseason but because
the Rebels have fared much better than everyone
thought thus far, let’s tone that down a bit and make it 31-17,
Dogs. It will be most interesting to see if the Georgia defense
can string two stellar performances back-to-back, what after
the Bulldogs limited the then BCS 2nd-ranked Gators to just
three field goals.