Ole Miss’ season came to a close with their 25-17 win over Georgia Tech in this year’s Music City Bowl, and QB Bo Wallace powered the offense with three touchdowns. The Rebels have won six straight bowls and 10 of the last 11.
Here are the main takeaways:
Dr. Bo Wallace: I thought he played well; I thought he needed to play well heading into the offseason. Coming off his four-turnover performance against Mississippi State, Wallace needed to show leadership and respond with a big game. He finished 22 of 32 for 256 yards, one TD and one INT, but he did most of his damage on the ground, rushing for 86 yards on 13 carries for two TDs. Wallace combined for 342 yards and three touchdowns. Not a bad way to end the season.
Defense stepped up: Georgia Tech was gashing Ole Miss early on the perimeter, specifically with the pitch, but credit the Rebels’ defense and their staff for making the adjustment. The Yellow Jackets averaged 311 yards per game rushing during the season. The Rebels held Tech to just 151 yards on 49 rushing attempts, and they forced a fumble, a safety and an INT. That’s a complete performance.
Special teams: Andrew Ritter will put this game as far out of his memory as he possibly can. He’s experienced the highest of highs with a game winner against LSU, and today was his lowest of lows. Still, the Rebels found a way to get it done without Ritter being on his game. It’s a tough way for the senior, who had been so solid all year, to go out.
The next step: In order for Ole Miss to take that next step forward, this offseason will be crucial for overall team growth, specifically growth at the quarterback position. Wallace enters 2014 as the starter. Remember, he didn’t have the 2013 spring to work on his game; he was recovering from surgery. Seeing both Auburn and Missouri win their respective divisions should give hope to the Rebels, as they clearly have the talent to compete for a division title in 2014.
Starting 1-0: The SEC starts its bowl season 1-0 on the heels of Ole Miss’ victory. Mississippi State-Rice and Texas A&M-Duke will also play tomorrow. A 3-0 start would bode well for the conference in flexing its muscle against other conferences.
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