OLE MISS NOTEBOOK: Run game misses chances

Lauren Wood | Buy at photos.djournal.com Ole Miss running back I'Tavius Mathers runs the ball as Missouri defensive back Randy Ponder reaches for the tackle during Saturday's game in Oxford.

Lauren Wood | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Ole Miss running back I’Tavius Mathers broke off a long touchdown run against Missouri, but the Rebels often bogged down on their other running attempts.

By Parrish Alford

Daily Journal

OXFORD – Aside from two big plays, Ole Miss was very inconsistent in the run game against Missouri.

Things could have been much better, Rebels coach Hugh Freeze said.

The final tally showed Ole Miss with 126 rushing yards on 29 attempts, an average of 4.3 yards.

One of those runs was a 45-yard touchdown for I’Tavius Mathers, another was a 31-yard gain on a reverse by Jaylen Walton.

The rest of the night, Ole Miss averaged just 1.85 yards on 27 carries.

“For one reason or another, whether the back didn’t hit the proper hole or one guy slid off a block too quick, there were some opportunities there to have some really nice plays, and we didn’t get it done,” Freeze said.

There were three or four such plays that stood out on Freeze’s video study, he said. He also credited Missouri’s scheme and talent.

“At times they beat us. That happens at this level, but three or four times you have to say we executed very poorly. Some of them would have been explosive runs.”

Isolation play

Freeze said he tried to get quarterback Bo Wallace on the road to recovery from flu-like symptoms before the Missouri game.

Monday, Freeze said Wallace was better but not 100 percent the last time he’d seen him, which was Sunday, the day after the Rebels’ lost 24-10 to the then-No. 8-ranked Tigers.

Prior to kickoff, Wallace was isolated from his teammates in an effort to keep whatever he had from spreading.

“We didn’t make him come around our guys on Saturday at the hotel (in Tupelo),” Freeze said. “We put him on a van and brought him straight back to the training room to keep him isolated.”

Freeze is hopeful those steps kept flu-like symptoms from spreading through his team. Wallace was the only known case.

MSU mystery

Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen has ruled out quarterback Dak Prescott for Thursday’s game.

The depth chart released by MSU on Monday included Prescott’s name among three quarterbacks, none of which were Tyler Russell, who is called “day to day.”

The depth chart has freshman Damian Williams as the starter.

“I saw when Tyler left the game last week at the end. I have no idea what the significance of that is. We have to prepare for all three, I think,” Freeze said.

He added that it’s helpful that two of them – Prescott and Williams – have similar styles.

“They’re like watching us on film. They do most of the same stuff that we do. You don’t like not knowing. You wish you knew, but that’s the situation we’re in, so we’ve got to prepare for all three.”

parrish.alford@journalinc.com