Tuscaloosa Troubles

Ole Miss is getting a lot of attention for its offense right now, and rightfully so after putting up more than 70 points in back-to-back games.

It’s true the Rebels haven’t been tested, but in two games against weaker opposition they have certainly executed the plays they’ve run.

That was far from the case two years ago, the Rebels’ last visit to Alabama, when they were held to 205 total yards, 46 rushing at 1.8 per attempt and were shut out 25-0.

It was the first time Hugh Freeze had been shut out in his coaching career.

“It’s the same offense. I haven’t changed offenses since I was a high school coach. I still do the same stuff, still call it the same stuff. You add and tweak here and there, but it’s the same stuff. We’re Year 3 and two games into a program. Our kids are more comfortable with it. The quarterback’s playing well thus far. Our receivers are playing well. We’re running the ball enough and staying balanced, but we haven’t been tested against a quality opponent as that of Alabama. It’s hard to say. We haven’t changed. Certainly we’re better now than we were in 13. We’ve recruited more. Hopefully our play will show that,” Freeze said.

Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell talks about that more efficient offense in this week’s column.

During last night’s Clemson-Louisville game ESPN was pumping its coverage of Ole Miss-Alabama. They had good things to say about Ole Miss but mentioned the fact that the Rebels are 1-25 all-time in Tuscaloosa.

History doesn’t have a lot of bearing on the next game, but it is an interesting statistic, and it will only get more interesting until the Rebels post another win.

This team is capable.

Another interesting history note, however, is how Ole Miss has struggled on offense in Tuscaloosa. That has more bearing because the struggles two years ago are much more recent.

Ole Miss’ win in Tuscaloosa was 22-12 in 1988. The Rebels have played in Tuscaloosa 12 times since then and have averaged just 10.4 points while being shut out twice. In only two of those games have the Rebels reached 20 points. They had great chances to win both times but lost 26-23 in overtime in 2006 and 24-20 in 2008.

In 1988 neither of those teams were as good as they are now. Alabama, under Bill Curry, went on to finish 9-3, 4-3 in the SEC and ranked No. 17. Ole Miss finished 5-6.

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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