By Parrish Alford
OXFORD – Ole Miss had amassed over 500 yards for four straight games but was held to 378 yards by Missouri.
Coach Hugh Freeze said during the week that success in the run game was a must for Ole Miss. There wasn’t much of it Saturday night, aside from two big plays, one the 45-yard score by I’Tavius Mathers.
Ole Miss rushed for 126 yards, but 76 came on two plays.
“They are as talented as we’ve played up front. They’ve taken people out of what they like to do. They methodically get you behind then all of a sudden they become really talented,” Freeze said.
The Tigers had only one sack but had eight tackles for loss.
No rust for Franklin
Missouri quarterback James Franklin was making his first start since sustaining a shoulder injury on Oct. 12 at Georgia.
He completed 12-of-19 passes for 142 yards with an interception and no touchdowns.
Franklin hurt the Rebels in the run game with 42 yards on eight carries, and he helped the Tigers convert eight of 14 third downs.
“He didn’t make many mistakes tonight at all. He passed good and made checks when he needed to,” Ole Miss safety Cody Prewitt said. “They were able to make plays, and we weren’t.”
Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said his unit could have made more plays against Franklin and in the run game. The Rebels sacked Franklin twice.
“We over ran some things. We had him the backfield sacked, I know he’s a big strong guy. We over ran some backs too,” Wommack said.
After the Rebels made it a one-touchdown game early in the third quarter, Missouri answered with an eight-play, 85-yard drive capped by Henry Josey’s 10-yard run to go up 24-10.
Key number – 1.85
The Rebels ran for 126 yards on 29 attempts, but subtract the Mathers touchdown and a 31-yard run by Jaylen Walton, and Ole Miss averaged just 1.85 yards on 27 carries.
“From a defensive perspective when we get third-and-long – and even some third-and-shorts – we have to be able to stop them, and on offense we’ve got to capitalize on those red zone trips.” – Ole Miss safety Cody Prewitt
Ole Miss concludes the regular season at rival Mississippi State on Thursday night. Kickoff is at 6:30 on ESPN.
Prewitt led the Rebels with 12 tackles and also had an interception, his team-leading fifth of the year. … Getting plenty of snaps with Bo Wallace ill, Barry Brunetti rushed for 9 yards on four carries. He completed his only pass for an 8-yard gain. … Donte Moncrief led Ole Miss receivers with six catches for 115 yards. … While Ole Miss was 1-for-3 in the red zone, Missouri was 4-for-4.