Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Midseason report: Ole Miss
By Edward Aschoff
Ole Miss had quite the Jekyll and Hyde start to the 2013 season.
After shocking many and reaching a bowl in their first year under Hugh Freeze in 2012, the Rebels burst out of the gate this season with a potent offensive attack. During the first three games of the season (all wins) Ole Miss averaged 38 points and 490 yards per game. The read option was working wonders for quarterback Bo Wallace and the offense, as the Rebels averaged 250 rushing yards per game and almost 6 yards per carry.
With freshmen filling the stat book, things were really kicking for the Rebel, and they even knocked off Texas in Austin 44-23 to creep into the top 25.
But that was then, and this is now. The Rebels have dropped three straight (all SEC games) and are struggling to get their offense running like it was through the first three weeks of the season. Alabama blanked Ole Miss 25-0, Auburn held the Rebels off 30-22 and Texas A&M broke Ole Miss' heart for the second year in a row with a 41-38 win in the Grove.
In the last three games, Ole Miss' running game just hasn't been as productive, averaging just 101 yards per game without any touchdowns. Wallace has taken more onto his plate in the last three games, attempting more than 30 passes in each game during that span. He's thrown five touchdowns to three interceptions and now has an adjusted Total QBR of 57.7.
The defense held its own through the first five games of the season, but allowed Manziel and that high-flying Texas A&M offense to register nearly 600 yards of offense.
There's no question that Ole Miss' schedule is brutal this fall, and injuries to key players, especially offensive lineman Aaron Morris, have made 2013 frustrating in Oxford. But after a string of three-straight road games, the second half of the season features five straight home games.
Offensive MVP: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Fr.: Ole Miss' stellar recruiting class has made an immediate impact, but none of them have been as good as Treadwell. He leads the Rebels with 32 receptions and is second on the team with 327 receiving yards. He grabbed his first two touchdowns of the year against A&M and debuted with nine catches against Vanderbilt.
Defensive MVP: Serderius Bryant, LB, Jr.: He wasn't even supposed to start for the Rebels, but after replacing Denzel Nkemdiche, who suffered a knee injury in the opener, Bryant has been one of Ole Miss' best players. He leads the team and ranks third in the SEC with 55 total tackles. He leads the SEC with 37 solo tackles. He leads the Rebels with six tackles for loss and has a sack. He suffered a concussion against A&M, but is day-to-day.