By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – The defensive backfield was one of the bright spots of spring football at Ole Miss, but on the final day, Bo Wallace had the last laugh.
The junior college transfer, Wallace passed for 240 yards and threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Donte Moncrief in overtime to lead the Red team past the Blue 24-23 in the BancorpSouth Grove Bowl before approximately 25,000 fans at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Saturday.
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze graded Wallace ahead of his competition, junior Barry Brunetti, for the day but not for the big picture.
If the regular season began today, the Rebels would most likely play two quarterbacks.
“Off the top of my head, I thought Bo had the best day. He functioned very well, kept us on schedule for the most part,” Freeze said. “Barry had some explosive plays too.”
Wallace completed 16 of 26 attempts and scored on a 13-yard run. He also had a red-zone turnover, an interception by junior college transfer Dehendret Collins when he targeted Moncrief in the end zone in the third quarter.
Moncrief had three catches, one of them a 1-yard touchdown in the first quarter, the game’s first score.
Wallace also seemed to find a rhythm with Vincent Sanders, who had game-highs of five catches and 89 yards.
Both quarterbacks were bothered by defensive pressure. Brunetti was sacked four times, Wallace three.
With play-calling somewhat vanilla, Brunetti was the game’s leading rusher with 109 yards on 14 carries and a long gain of 78 yard to set up a 2-yard game-tying run by Devin Thomas with 2 minutes, 11 seconds left in regulation.
Brunetti’s Blue team threw two touchdown passes, but both were from Randall Mackey after taking handoffs from Brunetti.
Both of Mackey’s touchdowns went to Ja-Mes Logan, the first from 19 yards out with 11:50 left in the third, the second from the 25 in overtime.
It was then that Freeze required the Blue team to attempt a two-point conversion to avoid a tie, and Mackey was stopped short.
Wallace said he felt much more comfortable over the back half of spring drills when he stopped thinking about the competition and just started “coming out and playing ball.”
He may have gained an edge only for the day, but he has a definite plan for the summer.
“I I want to establish myself as a leader, show these guys. When we’re running, I want to be the first one done, then be the last one to leave this facility in the summer, show these guys that I want the job and that they can follow me,” he said.