By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Hugh Freeze was hired to reinvent offense at Ole Miss, and his first two games have produced impressive numbers.
So far, the offensive numbers have been reminiscent of the 2009 Cotton Bowl team. Ole Miss has surpassed 500 yards in back-to-back games for the first time since doing so against UAB and Arkansas in 2009.
The Rebels’ 77 points scored over two games are their most since scoring 97 in 2009.
While the quarterback position produced 136 rushing yards last week, most of the ground work against UTEP was left to the running backs.
Ole Miss rushed for 332 yards, led by Jeff Scott who finished with 113 yards on 13 carries.
Punt return troubles
One of the Rebels’ two turnovers came when Korvic Neat muffed a punt in the third quarter.
The next time UTEP punted, Neat was replaced by Philander Moore, who also fumbled but was able to fall on the ball after it squirted 10 yards behind him.
Moore lost 12 yards on that return. Neat had two attempts for 8 yards.
“That surprised me. We field those punts two days a week with those guys, and they were as solid as could be all fall camp. Those are things that will kill you,” Freeze said. “Fortunately we’re standing here talking about a win after those mistakes, and we can talk with them with a little bit different feeling.”
Jeff Scott was the Rebels’ leading punt returner last year. Freeze said he’ll be used on punt returns as well as Neat and Moore.
not much Brunetti
Barry Brunetti played but did not enter the game until 7:19 was left in the fourth quarter.
He did not attempt a rush or a pass.
Brunetti finished second to Bo Wallace in a tightly contested quarterback competition. Freeze often referred to his quarterbacks as 1 and 1-A and said that both would play.
Brunetti had a rushing touchdown and passing touchdown last week against Central Arkansas.
7.8 – The Rebels averaged 7.8 yards per play on 69 snaps.
The Rebels put the game away with eight-play, 69-yard drive after UTEP had cut 10 points off the lead and trailed 21-10 late in the third quarter.
In a rare set with a fullback, H.R. Greer lined up in the three-point stance, then slipped out and caught a 3-yard touchdown pass, diving for the pylon to get the points.
“That was a play we had for him. He deserves it. He does everything a student-athlete is asked to do. He’s a leader in the lockerroom and one of the most solid kids on our team. It thrilled me to see him get in the end zone,” Freeze said.
“The kids are working at it. They’re trying to get better. We’re still making too many mistakes, but I’m proud of them. They did a great job in the third quarter. It just takes time. We’re going to work at it and get better.” – Ole Miss defensive coordinator Dave Wommack.
The Rebels are at home against No. 17 Texas. The game will kick off at 8:15 p.m., and will be televised by ESPN.
Jeff Scott had a big three quarters. He was held out of the opening quarter, suspended for missing a class. … Linebacker Mike Marry led the Rebels with eight tackle. … Aberdeen freshman Channing Ward finished with one tackle and was credited with half a tackle for loss. … The Rebels have nine sacks over the first two games including five Saturday night. They had just 13 sacks last year. … Cody Prewitt had plenty of big plays, finishing with seven tackles, a sack and an interception.
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