By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – The kickoff experiment looked like it might not survive the first week, but then freshman Nathan Noble survived his first-game jitters.
After his first kick was short, and his second was out of bounds, Noble, a walk-on from Greenville, pounded his remaining kicks to the end zone.
The rules change this year moves the kickoff to the 35-yard line and encourages return teams to take touchbacks by placing the ball at the 25.
As Noble showed in practice he could handle kickoff duties, Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze began to ponder the possibility of a redshirt season for Andrew Ritter, who has handled the kickoff chores the last several seasons.
The plan is for Ritter to return next season and handle placement kicks when senior Bryson Rose is no longer around.
The status of tight end Jamal Mosley was unknown until game time, but Mosley got in the game and played well.
Freeze announced in late July that Mosely was suspended indefinitely following the player’s late-summer arrest on charges of public intoxication and disturbing the peace.
Later, Freeze said Mosley had been given a list of objectives and had achieved each one.
Mosley finished with four catches for 79 yards and a touchdown.
It was a good night for tight ends catching the football, as Ferbia Allen added two catches for 25 yards.
Mosley’s touchdown came on an 11-yard pass from Barry Brunetti early in the fourth quarter and stretched the Rebels’ lead to 15 points.
49 – The Rebels’ 49 points was their most since getting 55 against Fresno State in Oxford in 2010.
After scoring 38 in a 10-point win at Fresno State last year, the Rebels did not score more than 24 points in a game the rest of the season and scored just 10 points combined in their final three games.
While the night belonged to Bo Wallace statistically, Wallace was on the sideline when Barry Brunetti led a 70-yard drive to give the Rebels a two-touchdown lead and really put the pressure on Central Arkansas. The drive was highlighted by Brunetti’s running – He finished with 54 yards and a touchdown on eight carries – but was finished with his pass to Mosley.
“This was a game that really could have decided our season. We came in at halftime and said this could define us.” – Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace
The Rebels return to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium for a 6 p.m., kick against Texas-El Paso.
Captains for Ole Miss were Mike Marry, Ferbia Allen, Randall Mackey and Bryson Rose. … Senior punter Jim Broadway averaged 46.7 yards on three punts and dropped all three inside the 20. Sophomore Donte Moncrief led the receivers with eight catches for 104 yards and a touchdown. … Senior punter Tyler Campbell did not play and may be redshirted…. Junior slot receiver Korvic Neat started in place of sophomore Collins Moore, who missed most of August practice with a torn labrum. … More played sparingly but did not catch a pass. Neat finished with six catches for 75 yards. … In his debut at running back Randall Mackey averaged only 3.3 yards per carry. Later, Freeze said Mackey was sick, suffering from an infection. … Linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche led the Rebels with eight tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack. … Aberdeen freshman Channing Ward got in the game and finished with one sack.