NCAA FB

Mississippi's fast start fades after 2 losses

Share This Story

   
 

OXFORD, Miss. (AP)

(Eds: With AP Photos.)By DAVID BRANDTAP Sports Writer

It was just two weeks ago that Mississippi was a trendy pick to make some serious noise in the Southeastern Conference.

Not anymore.

Consecutive road losses to No. 1 Alabama and Auburn have sent the Rebels (3-2, 1-2) crashing back to reality, and now No. 9 Texas A&M (4-1, 1-1) comes to town on Saturday.

''A lot of us got a little complacent after that 3-0 run, but now I feel like everything happens for a reason,'' Ole Miss linebacker Serderius Bryant said. ''We're in the spot where we need to be right now.''

Ole Miss should get a boost by returning home to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The Rebels played four of their first five games on the road, but have the next six at home.

Where they play may not matter unless Ole Miss can figure out a way to get into the end zone with more consistency. The Rebels had a streak of more than six quarters without a touchdown during the Alabama and Auburn losses.

Ole Miss is right in the middle of the pack of the SEC in total offense, averaging 427.8 yards per game. But the Rebels rank just 12th out of 14 teams in the red zone, scoring touchdowns in 12 of 19 attempts.

Bo Wallace threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns against Auburn, but also had two interceptions - including one that was returned 78 yards for a touchdown.

The Rebels also had to settle for three field goals early when promising drives bogged down, allowing Auburn to build a 27-9 lead. Ole Miss made a comeback, but eventually lost 30-22.

''We've just got to win battles, whether it's a 1-on-1 battle or me making better decisions with the football,'' Wallace said. ''We just have to be nasty. It's way tougher (in the red zone). You have 11 great players on the other side. It's tough to get in when you're that close.''

The Ole Miss offensive line is also trying to correct issues after giving up six sacks against Auburn. Coach Hugh Freeze said four of those sacks could be traced back to the offensive line, but two were because Wallace wasn't making the right reads.

Offensive guard Justin Bell said there's no use in pointing fingers. Everyone has to get better.

''We're a family,'' Bell said. ''In any family, you're going to have a point where you get down on someone. But we give it all for each other. That's what it's all about and that's what we have to realize. That's what we're going to show everybody on Saturday.''

Wallace said the offense must improve to keep pace with Texas A&M and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel. The Aggies, who are coming off a bye week, are averaging an SEC-best 49.2 points and 586.4 yards per game.

The Aggies had some trouble with the Rebels last season, needing a touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter to secure a 30-27 victory.

But they also had six turnovers in that game - four fumbles and two interceptions - and it is doubtful they will be as generous this year.

The defense ''is going to have to play against the best player in college football right now,'' Wallace said. ''We know that. He's going to put up a lot of points. So we're going to have to answer with every drive we have.''

The Ole Miss defense has improved throughout the season and held Auburn to just 375 yards on Saturday. But Manziel - who leads the SEC with 360.6 total yards per game - presents the toughest challenge to date.

The Rebels had some success against Manziel last season by using safety Mike Hilton as a spy, chasing the quarterback all over the field.

But Hilton has now been moved to cornerback and isn't sure if the Rebels would have a similar plan. The 5-foot-8, 182-pound sophomore said the secondary must be confident but smart.

''Don't overdo anything, just play your game,'' Hilton said. ''If you've got a chance to get him on the ground, get him on the ground, because everybody knows he can make plays.''

---

Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP

Tagged: Mississippi, Auburn, Texas A&M, Bo Wallace, Johnny Manziel

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash