Rebels, Bulldogs facing lesser foes this week

Football stockBy Brad Locke
Daily Journal

Ole Miss and Mississippi State saw their seasons get off to very different starts, but both teams should see similar results this weekend.

The Rebels open their home schedule on Saturday against Southeast Missouri State (6 p.m., pay-per-view), an FCS team from the Ohio Valley Conference. It’s a game Ole Miss should easily win, and in far less dramatic fashion than the season opener.

That game at Vanderbilt was filled with action, especially in the fourth quarter, as the Rebels overcame a late Vandy touchdown with a 75-yard TD run by Jeff Scott with 1:07 left to clinch a 39-35 victory.

A win against Southeast Missouri would give coach Hugh Freeze a 2-0 start in each of his first two seasons at the helm.

SEMO lost its opener to Southeastern Louisiana, 45-7.

MSU is looking to bounce back from a 21-3 loss to Oklahoma State, a game that saw the offense sputter after a fast start. It was fifth-year coach Dan Mullen’s first loss in an opener but his 11th consecutive setback to a ranked opponent.

The Bulldogs open home play Saturday against Alcorn State (2:30 p.m., CSS), an FCS school from the SWAC. The Braves opened the year with a 63-12 win over Edward Waters.

MSU is looking for some offensive answers after failing to score a touchdown for just the third time during Mullen’s tenure. And the team is awaiting news on the status of quarterback Tyler Russell, who left the game in the third quarter after getting hit in the helmet.

The Bulldogs, who lost five of their last six in 2012, are determined not to let things unravel because of the OSU setback.

“We’re not going to let one game define our season,” tailback LaDarius Perkins said. “We’re going to put this loss behind us.”

Sports editor John L. Pitts gives his take: The answer may not always be so obvious, but Rebels’ fans got up Sunday and saw their team atop the SEC Western standings. Enjoy it.
Winner: Ole Miss

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