Published January 5, 2013 - 4:51pm
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Ole Miss and first-year head coach Hugh Freeze have successfully completed a miraculous turnaround with their Compass Bowl victory over Pittsburgh. Freeze inherited a 2-10 roster from the Houston Nutt regime, and he turned the Rebels’ bus around in one season, finishing 7-6 with a Compass Bowl trophy and most importantly an Egg Bowl trophy.
What does it mean? It means the Rebels have all the momentum heading into National Signing Day in the state of Mississippi. Not only does the future look very bright indeed with the current roster, but the Rebels could be on their way to a big-time finish on NSD with top blue-chip prospects left on the board. Two of those in top DE Robert Nkemdiche and top WR Laquon Treadwell were at the game today on their own dime. The energy and enthusiasm is back in Oxford, and look out for this team moving forward.
Who’s the man? The man not only in this game but every other game was head coach Hugh Freeze. The one-time high school girls basketball coach successfully completed arguably the biggest turnaround in college football in the toughest conference in 2012. The administration, players and fans have all bought into Freeze and his sexy up-tempo offense. Freeze is a man of integrity, and you can see his players love to play for him, too.
Sunshine: Bo “Sunshine” Wallace may have to take off his helmet in the middle of the game and wave his hand through his blonde hair for the ladies, but he’s a very streaky player. Wallace threw for 151 yards and three touchdowns, but he also added two interceptions. He’s been shaky at times and has made some real bone-headed plays, including his two picks today, but at times he has looked so good. He must have a short memory. Today he started hot with two touchdown passes, and then he threw two picks. He came back and threw another touchdown pass after the two picks. It’s more of a roller coaster with him in the game, but no doubt he’s the one guy who can run this offense for Freeze.
Key Stat: Pitt committed two turnovers. They were so good at protecting the ball all season, but Ole Miss picked a Tino Sunseri pass right out of the gate. Sunseri had only thrown two picks all year, but his early INT shifted all momentum in the direction of the Rebels. Ole Miss scored right off the bat to capitalize on the jumped route, too.
The future is bright: The Rebels only lose one starter on the offensive line and return all the star playmakers. Quarterbacks Bo Wallace and Barry Brunetti, along with talented running backs and future NFL wide receiver Donte Moncrief, all return for another year in Freeze’s system. I expect this offseason to be very good for an up and coming team. Glancing at the schedule next season, one could foresee eight wins, and with a couple upsets, they could seemingly get to nine or maybe ten wins with a bowl game.
Photo Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports