Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Season wrap: Ole Miss
By Edward Aschoff
The Rebels enjoyed Year 2 of the Hugh Freeze era with their second straight winning season, postseason appearance and bowl win. The year started with a thrilling 39-35 win at Vanderbilt before the Rebels thumped Texas 44-23 in Austin two weeks later.
Ole Miss hit a bit of a lull after that, losing three straight, but behind a high-powered offense, a group of stellar freshmen and an ever-improving defense, the Rebels closed out the regular season by winning four of their last six. Back-to-back losses to Missouri and archrival Mississippi State to end the regular season temporarily put a damper on the year before Ole Miss outlasted Georgia Tech 25-17 in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.
Offensive MVP: Wide receiver Donte Moncrief might not have led the Rebels in receptions this season but he was still quarterback Bo Wallace's top receiving option. The extremely physical Moncrief led Ole Miss with 938 yards and six touchdowns. He finished the season with five 100-yard games, including 113 in the Rebels' bowl win.
Defensive MVP: Cody Prewitt wasn't just the Rebels' best defensive player this year, he was named an AP All-American. Prewitt was second on the team with 71 tackles, but led the SEC with six interceptions. He'll probably tell you that he should have had a lot more. Prewitt played all over the field, as both a ball hawk and someone who wasn't afraid to get physical in the running game.
Best moment: The win at Vandy was great and that blowout of Texas was big, but the best moment came when Ole Miss ended a tough three-game losing streak with a 27-24 win over rival LSU at home. Ole Miss gained a ton of momentum for the final two months and forced three interceptions while registering 525 yards of offense.
Worst moment: After losing an ugly one to Missouri, the Rebels turned around and lost an even uglier 17-10 game in Starkville to push Mississippi State into the postseason. Ole Miss turned it over four times, including the game-sealing fumble into the end zone from just outside the goal line by Wallace in overtime.