NOTEBOOK: Last year’s loss to Hogs ‘motivation’ for Rebels
Fresh off its win at Auburn on Saturday, avenging one heartbreaking loss from a year ago, No. 19 Ole Miss turned its attention to avenging another loss.
When the Rebels traveled to Fayetteville, Arkansas last season for a matchup against the Razorbacks, their season was still full of hope even after setbacks against LSU and Auburn.
After a 30-0 rout by Arkansas, the Rebels were embarrassed and left playing for pride the rest of their season.
“I’m not watching it,” Freeze joked when asked about what he can take away from last year’s game film. “I’m a competitor and an offensive coach. As soon as we were able to turn our attention from Auburn, that was on my mind. I like getting another shot at that. It motivates me.”
Fast forward to this Saturday when Ole Miss hosts Arkansas (2:30 p.m., CBS) in a game where the Rebels once again are hopeful for a special season — winning their final three games earns them a trip to the Southeastern Conference championship.
Last year’s loss affected the players on the roster, but it also got to future Rebels who did not even participate in it.
Quarterback Chad Kelly watched from his dorm room on the East Mississippi Community College campus.
“It’s kind of a revenge game for me,” Kelly said. “I was watching it and felt the pain that they were all going through in that game. I’m excited for this opportunity.”
A quick start by the Razorback offense combined with six turnovers by the Rebels aided in a somber day in rain-soaked Fayetteville for Ole Miss.
Razorback quarterback Brandon Allen and running back Alex Collins had a touchdown each. Safety Rohan Gaines intercepted Bo Wallace for a 100-yard pick-six
“Everybody knows what happened down there,” safety Mike Hilton said. “We’re going to use it as motivation this week. … A lot of things went wrong in that game for us. We don’t look at it like everything went wrong, we’ve just got to play to the best of our ability.”
The emergence of running back Akeem Judd has been a welcomed sight to an Ole Miss offense that has been searching for balance in the run game.
The redshirt junior has 284 yards rushing with 122 of those coming in the past two games against Texas A&M and Auburn.
He scored the first touchdown for Ole Miss on Saturday with a 25-yard run, causing Tiger defenders to miss several times on his way to the end zone.
“He’s playing very well,” Freeze said. “We are excited about the added dimension he brings us. He and Jaylen (Walton) are a good combination. That was a big-time run he made to put us ahead the other day. He’s been a very nice bonus for us.”
Kelly, Haynes honored
After the 27-19 win over Auburn, two Ole Miss players were recognized by the SEC office for their performances against the Tigers.
Kelly was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week while Marquis Haynes was named Defensive Lineman of the Week.
Kelly had more than 400 yards of total offense (381 passing, 37 rushing) and two touchdowns, including a 21-yard pass to Laquon Treadwell for the final margin early in the fourth quarter.
For Haynes, it is his second consecutive week to earn the defensive lineman honor. The sophomore defensive end had three tackles for a loss and two sacks against Auburn. In his past two games, Haynes has six tackles for loss and four sacks.
“He’s making himself known,” Hilton said of Haynes. “He’s one of the top rushers in the league, and he’s just been embracing that role and having fun with it. It’s been showing lately.”
Though it looked preposterous after that two-touchdown loss to Memphis on Oct. 17, Ole Miss’ season still had a single... read more