By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Some games just carry more passion than can be pondered on a “one game at a time” basis.
For Cody Prewitt, this is one of those games.
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said he didn’t mention the Mississippi State game to his players until after last Saturday, a 41-35 loss at No. 8 LSU.
That doesn’t mean they had not mentioned it among themselves.
“We’ve been waiting for this game all season, and we’re ready to play. It means everything. It’s pride its dignity. It just means so much,” said Prewitt, a sophomore safety and a starter in last year’s 31-3 MSU win in Starkville, the third straight for the Bulldogs in the series.
“I’ve tried to put it in the past, but it still hangs back there, and I’m ready to do something about it,” said Prewitt, the Rebels’ second-leading tackler with 71. “It’s been back there on the backburner. I focus on the games we have at hand, but this game’s been on my mind all season.”
While the list of wounded is lengthy for Ole Miss, Freeze said he was hopeful that all players who made the trip to LSU would be available for the final regular season game.
“It’s early in the week, so it’s hard to say,” he said.
That leaves the status of cornerback Charles Sawyer, who injured a shoulder at LSU, up in the air, as is the status of tight end Jamal Mosley (knee).
Freeze, though, was more optimistic that the Rebels could return a couple of defensive playmakers in end C.J. Johnson (back) and cornerback Wesley Pendleton (ankle).
Johnson was held out against LSU, and Pendleton hasn’t played since he was injured late against Arkansas on Oct. 27.
“We’re hoping to get Wesley back. That will give us some added depth in the secondary, and we’re hopeful again on Charles and Jamal that they will be able to go. C.J. I think will be fine. Us not playing him the other night gave him an added couple of days to go through the recovery process,” Freeze said.
Special teams play
Freeze said he will consider personnel moves on special teams punt coverage after LSU’s Odell Beckham returned a punt 89 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown.
“Our punt coverage has been up and down. That was a weird deal. We happen to hit our best punt of the year, and they had a very athletic kid back,” Freeze said. “We were probably trying to rest too many starting players, and we struggled to cover a punt of that distance, then tackle that kid in space.”
The punt was 51 yards, the longest of the night for Jim Broadway.
With Johnson, the team’s sack leader with 4.5, out for LSU, freshman Channing Ward got more snaps, and Freeze called it Ward’s best game of the year.
Ward was often around the ball and was credited with four tackles and a half tackle for loss.
An All-American at Aberdeen, Ward was a late academic qualifier and missed most of fall camp. He’s played in 10 games and had 17 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss on the season.