Ole Miss Football: Winners and Losers of the Texas A&M Matchup
The Ole Miss Rebels hosted Texas A&M in the first SEC road game in A&M’s history, and the Reb’s couldn’t have been a more hospitable host.
The Rebels gave up 13 points in the final six minutes to allow the Aggies to escape 30-27, in a hard fought game both teams desperately wanted.
The day started off with great fanfare typical at the idyllic Oxford, MS campus where friends are made and love endures. The clouds moved in late in the afternoon and brought a slow rain that dampened the grove, but was more foreboding than we knew at the time.
Visions of Coach Orgeron come to mind when discussing another failed 4th down-and-1 inch play that resulted in a turnover at a critical time in the game.
Coach Hugh Freeze showed no lack of confidence in his offense, even after the play.
“Not winning an SEC game in however long. I was going for it… period. I didn’t want to kick it back to Manziel.”
The play called on 4th and less than 1 was not a QB keeper by a very agile Bo Wallace, but rather a draw to scat-back Jeff Scott from the shotgun formation.
Freeze went on to say, “Obviously. I wish I’d have called something different now.”
The emotion of such a big game for these two clubs extended to the visitors, as Aggie WR Ryan Swope stated:
“That’s the most emotional game I’ve ever played in. I walked off with tears in my eyes.”
With the thrill of victory or another agonizing loss, no one left Vaught-Hemingway stadium with dry eyes Saturday night. Somehow, the Rebels must get over the barrier of an ever-increasing SEC losing streak—now reaching 16 games.
Rebels wide receiver Donte Moncrief said it best:
“Everybody says, we play hard, we play hard. Well eventually we’ve got to win an SEC football game. We’ve got to come back and prepare next week.”
Let’s look at some of the individual performances from Week 6 of Ole Miss Football 2012.
Winner: Vince Sanders
Since signing with Ole Miss, Vince Sanders—a former Mississippi high school Player of the Year—has been expected to break out in his sophomore season.
Finishing with 5 catches for 81 yards, Sanders would be a great weapon to go along with Donte Moncrief, making life hard on opposing defenses.
At over 6 feet tall, Sanders is a big body player with speed that will really test teams that try to double-team Moncrief.
Loser: Bo Wallace
How can I label a quarterback with 20 completions for 304 yards and 1 TD as a losing effort?
That same quarterback, Bo Wallace, who throws two interceptions at the worst possible times, is too loose and carefree with the ball.
At the same time, I will say that this may have been his best effort to date at Ole Miss, which should be encouraging. But a pick-six with less than a minute before halftime, and an interception at the end when you are driving for the tying kick or possible winning touchdown is rather inexcusable.
He is making progress, which is good, but Hugh Freeze has no other legitimate option at the position.
Fans hope that Wallace will figure this out, as Ole Miss can't win without him.
Winner: Johnny Manziel
Johnny Football did just enough to win Saturday night despite three turnovers.
Manziel was able to overcome his mistakes and make plays when it mattered. Manziel finished 17-of-26 for 191 yards with 1 touchdown in the air.
He also added 129 yards on the ground.
Ole Miss did a great job of containing Manziel’s scrambling and long pass plays until the latter half of the 4th quarter.
That’s when Manziel, backed up inside his own one-yard line, marched the Aggies down the field with long runs and pass plays to score and start to dig out of the 10-point hole Ole Miss put him in.
Winner: Cody Prewitt
I almost gave Prewitt this spot in the Alabama recap after he had such a dominating first half, but fellow Rebel Denzel Nkemdiche edged him out over the entire game last week.
This week, Cody was again all around the ball, recovering a misplayed punt by A&M and intercepting Johnny Manziel. He also forced two other fumbles against a team in Texas A&M that does not put the ball on the turf.
When guys like Prewitt step up and make plays, good things will begin to happen for this team.
Nkemdiche also had another solid performance with two tackles for loss.
Ole Miss: Jeff Scott finished with 111 yards rushing and a touchdown. Donte Moncrief caught 6 balls for 73 yards and a touchdown.
Texas A&M: RB Ben Malena finished with 142 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns.
Ole Miss fans who missed the game because of weather. Only 55,343 attended the game, which was not a Longhorn size turnout, and there is no excuse to not pack the stadium.