By Kedrick Storey/Southern Sentinel
OXFORD – Protecting the ball was a point of interest for Ole Miss heading into Saturday’s game, especially for quarterback Bo Wallace. Last week, he threw two interceptions in their loss to Texas Aamp&M. Over his last four games he had just three TDs with seven interceptions.
Against Auburn, Wallace looked as crisp, completing 77 percent of his passes for 226 yards and one TD, but more importantly, no interceptions.
“It’s what we have to do to stay in ball games in this conference,” he said. “I am really proud of the way we protected the ball.”
Wallace avoided disaster in the fourth quarter, when he pulled in a bobbled snap at the Ole Miss 12 and hit Donte Moncrief for a 19-yard gain. The Rebels scored seven plays later to lead 34-20.
Gains and losses
The Rebels’ defensive line experienced feast and famine on Saturday, either giving up 8- and 9-yard gains or recording one of their nine tackles-for-loss.
They began and ended solidly.
The Rebels held Auburn to minus-3 yards on their first two drives of the game. On their second drive, defensive tackles Uriah Grant and Isaac Gross forced a bad snap by Auburn center Tunde Fariyike that sailed over the head of QB Clint Mosely. DE Chris Johnson covered the fumble in the end zone for a 14-0 Rebel lead.
Auburn ended the first half with 153 total yards, but managed just 60 in the second half.
“At halftime, we just talked about finishing the game. We were a little to lose in the first half and Auburn was making a play here or there,” said Gross, “In the second half we tightened on our responsibilities and everybody executed better.”
Key number: 41
The Rebels’ 41 points were the most they’ve scored in an SEC game since a 42-35 win over Kentucky in 2010.
Holding a 27-20 lead mid-way through the fourth quarter, Bo Wallace led the Rebels on a 8-play, 81-yard drive, capped by a 55-yard TD pass to Jeff Scott for a 14-point cushion with 3:21 left to play. Scott accounted for 72 yards on the drive.
“We don’t want to sound overly emotional, but one of the things our staff wants so badly to give the Rebel fans, is some good times. I know that they’re going to enjoy the Grove today”. – Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze.
The Rebels play Arkansas in Little Rock on Oct. 29.
With 229 points this season, Ole Miss has surpassed last year’s total of 193…. Bryson Rose was 2 for 2 on field goal attempts. His 28-yard make as time expired in the second quarter tied the game at 17… QB Bo Wallace caught his first career TD reception, a 25-yard pass from Randall Mackey, he rushed for two short TDs and threw for another to become the first Ole Miss player in school history to record the scoring trifecta…Jeff Scott had a career-high 70 receiving yards and his 55-yard TD catch was the longest reception of his career…The Rebels are 4-0 this season when scoring first…Junior LB Mike Marry added a sack and a TFL to go with his game-changing interception.