I visited with Shay Hodge for a blog interview last night.
Hodge is volunteering with his old high school team in Morton. He holds Ole Miss records for receiving yards in a career with 2,646 and receiving yards in a season (2009) with 1,135.
He may be most famous for his non-play. A big catch in the final seconds against Alabama in 2007 was overturned on replay when it was ruled Hodge went out of bounds before coming back in and making the catch.
All sorts of debate ensued over the replay, but when you’re on the wrong side of officiating you don’t win debates you just debate.
The bottom line is had Hodge’s catch stood Ole Miss would have been inside the 5 and would have had the chance for the signature win that escaped Ed Orgeron for three years.
It was a gut-wrenching loss for the Rebels … like last week’s Auburn game.
Ole Miss followed that 27-24 home loss to Alabama with a 44-8 home loss to an Arkansas team that wasn’t as good.
This week Presbyterian at home won’t be as good as the Auburn team that beat Ole Miss in Oxford last week.
I’m not predicting a 44-8 win for the Blue Hose.
In fact, if the Blue Hose win it will be an upset of far greater magnitude than Jacksonville State winning in Oxford in 2010 or Appalachian State winning at Michigan or just insert your favorite FCS upset here.
Presbyterian is competitive, not dominant, in the Big South Conference.
In their seven FCS games they’ve held opponents to fewer than 20 points five times and sport a 5-2 record. In their two games against FBS teams they’ve been outscored 97-3. They lost 55-3 to Northern Illinois and 42-0 to NC State.
Presbyterian can run the ball a little bit but can’t pass very much.
An offensive line that averages 276 pounds has given up 16 sacks.
Running backs Demarcus Rouse and Blake Roberts have combined for 850 yards and six touchdowns, but the numbers on quarterback Heys McMath are less impressive. He’s completing fewer than 60 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and seven interceptions.
The good news for Presbyterian is that Ole Miss has given up a ton of rushing yards the last two weeks. The bad news is the opponents were LSU and Auburn.
The Rebels were dominant against the run in wins over Memphis, Texas A&M and Tennessee.
Ole Miss will stop the run Saturday. What the Rebels need to figure out is how to slow the run against really good running teams because that’s all that’s left on the schedule after Presbyterian as they close with Arkansas and Mississippi State.
For Ole Miss, this week’s game is not about winning and losing. It’s about playing clean and efficient and handing the game off to reserves with lots of time on the clock.
A perfect outcome for the Rebels would including something like a 21-0 lead and a Bo Wallace exit in the middle or late second quarter.
It would include lots of playing time for backup quarterbacks Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade.
It will be good for the Rebels to reestablish themselves in the run game, but any confidence they may take from Presbyterian will be tempered by the notion that this team still has to find a way to run the ball against good teams.
Improvement has to start somewhere, and Presbyterian is the next team up on the schedule.
The Rebels needs to come out throwing because it’s what they do best and because receivers in new roles without Laquon Treadwell need to gain a certain comfort level.
In the second half Ole Miss needs to be ripping off 7-, 8- and 10-yard runs and using clock. Then we can all take full advantage of an 11 a.m. kickoff.
Prediction: Ole Miss 49, Presbyterian 10