Published November 25, 2012 - 11:23am
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You just can’t say enough about what Hugh Freeze has done in his first season at Ole Miss. No, he won’t win SEC Coach of the Year honors, but he put a fitting exclamation point onto a very promising season and career for the Rebels, as they thrashed hated rival Mississippi State 41-24 for their sixth win of the season.
It was the first time since 2008 the Rebels took possession of the Egg Bowl trophy. And the pure domination over the Bulldogs at home to become bowl eligible was remarkable to watch.
From 2-10 to 6-6, the turnaround has been fun to watch. It’s virtually the same roster outside of quarterback Bo Wallace, but what a difference he has made. Yes, he’s been erratic at times, throwing 15 interceptions, but that’s the growth and maturation of a young quarterback. He’s only a sophomore. He’s completed 213 of 336 passes (63.4 percent) for 2,843 yards and 19 touchdowns. He’s also added eight rushing touchdowns and is the Rebels’ second leading rusher, behind Jeff Scott.
Wallace threw for 294 yards and five touchdowns last night, lighting up a secondary that got a ton of pub early in the season. Wide receiver Donte Moncrief caught seven passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns, including a 77-yard bomb from Wallace. Moncrief just abused MSU defensive backs Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay all night long. His wide body and sure hands will land him in the NFL one day, too. He’s the best player in the state as a sophomore.
Mississippi State and Dan Mullen have run the state for the last three years and haven’t been afraid to gloat about it, but there’s a new sheriff in town named Hugh Freeze, and he intends to take Ole Miss to new heights.
The Rebels have had problems in the second halves this season, losing tight games to Texas A&M, LSU and Vanderbilt. But not last night. Ole Miss outscored MSU 24-7 in the second half, after the 17-17 tie at halftime.
The Rebels are bowl eligible for the first time since 2009, and their up-tempo offense and physically underrated defense will be awaiting a worthy competitor next month for some more hardware.
Here’s a tip o’ the cap to Hugh Freeze and what he’s accomplished in year one in Oxford.
Photo Credit: Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE