OXFORD – An Ole Miss defense that might have invested itself to the fullest extent of its emotions in a 27-24 win over then-No. 6 LSU should not be expected to come out flat against struggling Idaho.
That word comes from the SEC’s interception leader who nabbed another against the Tigers and says the Rebels need to play like the heavy favorites they are.
“We’ve had a past of letting teams when we’re supposed to win, we’ve let them hang around a little bit during games. I think this week instead of just trying to keep us healthy, we’re trying to really push the throttle on the season. We need to turn it up a little bit,” junior safety Cody Prewitt said.
It’s homecoming tonight at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium as the Rebels (4-3, 2-3 SEC) take on Idaho, an FBS independent, who is 1-6 and being out-scored 43-16 on average.
Prewitt hauled in one of three interceptions thrown by LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger last week. Mettenberger had thrown only two interceptions all season and now has thrown five in two years against Ole Miss.
The Rebels have produced 13 take-aways this season, and Prewitt, who leads the SEC with four interceptions, has had a hand in most. He’s also credited with two forced fumbles, one of them a strip of an Auburn ball-carrier after a big gain in the fourth quarter.
“At times I think Cody could have played better. But he’s solid. He’s so smart and doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. I keep thinking of the three interceptions he dropped at Texas, or he’d have seven right now. I guess that’s a coach’s perspective,” Ole Miss defensive coordinator Dave Wommack.
Idaho has struggled and is expected to start its No. 3 quarterback, senior Taylor Davis, as its first two have been set back by injuries.
Earlier this week first-year coach Paul Petrino was hopeful one of his top two would return in a limited role.
Wommack says he’s faced off against Petrino many times and that Petrino has a very multiple offense that is challenging in preparation. Petrino has used elements of the Auburn and Texas A&M offenses this season, Wommack said.
The Rebels were missing five defensive starters against LSU, four with injury and one – starting cornerback Senquez Golson – with suspension. Starting linebacker Serderius Bryant is available this week, but defensive end Cameron Whigham, who started last week, may not be, and there’s been no definitive word on Golson’s status.
The Vandals are ranked No. 114 in scoring offense at 16.4 points a game, No. 121 in scoring defense at 43.1 points.
Emotions spent against LSU are not reason enough to expect a letdown, Wommack says.
“They’re getting ready to go into an open date, and we can get on a roll. Our guys know how important this game is. If anybody is letting down in the game, I promise you they won’t be in the game very long, I don’t care who it is.”