Rebels begin SEC play with No. 1 Crimson Tide

By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal

Among the 14 teams in the expanded SEC, only Ole Miss has yet to play a conference game.
That changes this week in ESPN’s late show when the Rebels visit No. 1 Alabama in the 8:15 p.m., television time slot.
The Rebels are coming off a 39-0 road win at Tulane, eclipsing by one their total number of wins from 2011. It was the first shutout for an Ole Miss defense since 2008 against Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs also won big, defeating South Alabama 30-10.
MSU (4-0) is off this week and will be back in SEC play with a road game at Kentucky on Oct. 6. The Bulldogs moved up two spots in the AP poll and will enter an off week ranked No. 21. The Bulldogs are No. 19 in the USA Today poll.
Alabama had an easy time with Florida Atlantic on Saturday, winning 40-7.
Ole Miss is 3-1 and got a shot of confidence from its shutout even though it came against struggling Tulane.
“Oh definitely, there’s confidence. Any time you get a win it’s confidence, especially with the state we’ve been in the last two years,” sophomore defensive end C.J. Johnson said. “It was important, because last week defensively we just had a meltdown, and to bounce back with a shutout was real big for us.”
Areas of improvement
While the Rebels are confident they could have been cleaner and more efficient on offense against the Green Wave.
They put up 450 yards and 39 points but also fumbled six times, losing three. Quarterback Bo Wallace sustained what is believed to be a minor shoulder injury, playing on it after taking an early hit. He received treatment Sunday and will be observed this week.
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze was glad to give his players a road experience even it was a domed stadium dominated by their own fans.
“For us to show our young kids what it’s like to be on the road, how we’re going to prepare on the road and how we treat it … I thought it was very good for us to do that,” he said. “It certainly wasn’t a hostile environment like we’ll face Saturday night. There will be some adjusting there too. We’ll have some things we’ll have to work on this week to handle that.”
parrish.alford@journalinc.com