By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
Ole Miss fans no longer will look only at Texas A&M as the home game that got away in the hunt for bowl-eligibility.
They can add Vanderbilt to that category.
Rising and enthusiastic after winning against Arkansas in Little Rock, the Rebels have two chances remaining to qualify for postseason, and it’s hard to imagine that reaching that goal won’t come down to the final game against Mississippi State.
That’s because Week 12 of the college football season finds Ole Miss on the road at No. 8 LSU.
It will be the Tigers’ second-straight Mississippi block party, as they hosted MSU on Saturday, winning 37-17.
The Bulldogs are at home against Arkansas, which just lost 38-20 at South Carolina.
The Razorbacks have dropped two-straight in the conference after back-to-back wins against Auburn and Kentucky.
MSU has lost three straight – each by at least 20 points – after a 7-0 start, falling from the national rankings.
“We’ll bounce back, I think,” Freeze said. “Certainly it stings, but the good thing is there’s a team in there that didn’t even compete last year with these teams, and they’re finding a way to compete and be in those games with very good (Texas) A&M and Vandy teams and others.”
Bouncing back could become increasingly difficult against two traditional rivals as the Rebels search for answers on an a suddenly one-dimensional offense.
That dimension was pretty good against Vanderbilt, as quarterback Bo Wallace passed for 403 yards, the fifth-best single-game total in school history.
However, Ole Miss settled for three short field goals after reaching the Vanderbilt 11-yard line or better, and the Rebels rushed for just 55 yards on 40 attempts.
“I know they’re hurting and disappointed, and I would be lying if I stood here and said that’s not a concern,” Freeze said. “Their hearts are hurting, and they’re crushed … but we’ve got to move forward.”