By Parrish Alford
OXFORD – For Ole Miss, the high of a stunning win against No. 6 LSU when the Rebels were without so many key players is followed by an emotional challenge.
The Rebels face a struggling Idaho team Saturday night at 6:30, and Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze wants to see more intensity than he saw in a 31-13 win over Southeast Missouri State in Week 2.
“On game day that week, the team just felt a little sleepy,” senior offensive lineman Emmanuel McCray said. “Because it happened against Southeast Missouri, I don’t think it will happen again this year.”
Many of the Rebels’ key players were on the field very little or not at all in the second half against Southeast Missouri.
Given the physical state of his team, that’s a scenario Freeze would like to duplicate against an Idaho squad that’s 1-6 under first-year coach Paul Petrino, getting outscored 43-16 on average.
The Rebels snapped a three-game losing streak with their next-to-last-play field goal from Andrew Ritter against LSU.
Ole Miss played without its two starting cornerbacks, and there’s no definitive word on the status of Mike Hilton, who missed the game with a hamstring injury, and Senquez Golson who was suspended.
Golson is back with the team for practice, but Freeze has not announced if the junior from Pascagoula will play Saturday.
Down the stretch
Ole Miss (4-3, 2-3 SEC) faced top 10 teams in three of its last four games and is now moving past the most difficult part of its schedule.
“As big as that (LSU) win was for us and the fan base, if we go out here and don’t show up against Idaho that win doesn’t really mean a lot,” quarterback Bo Wallace said. “We’ll prepare just like they’re any other team.”
Freeze intends to hammer home the intensity message.
“I didn’t think we did that real well when we had a game that they felt like we should win early on,” he said. “That will be clearly communicated all week.”