The last time Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace faced Alabama, it did not go well for the youngster.
In the 33-14 loss to the Crimson Tide last September in Tuscaloosa, Wallace went 15-of-26 for a mere 123 yards while tossing two picks.
Ole Miss led Alabama early in the second quarter, 7-6, but the Crimson Tide turned two consecutive interceptions by Wallace into 14 points. By halftime, Nick Saban's squad had a 27-7 lead.
Saban said after the victory, according to the Associated Press, via ESPN.com: "That was the turning point in the game. We really only put one true drive together. Those turnovers were really the difference in the game."
Wallace cannot be careless with the ball again on Saturday in Tuscaloosa, or history will be repeated.
This season, the junior dual-threat has been much more careful with the pigskin. After tossing 17 picks last season, he has yet to throw an interception during the 2013 campaign. He also has four touchdown passes through three games.
Texas A&M exposed Alabama's secondary in Week 3. Johnny Manziel racked up 464 yards and five touchdowns through the air. Crimson Tide cornerback John Fulton was abused by Aggies receiver Mike Evans.
Ole Miss doesn't have a Mike Evans, or a Johnny Manziel, but there is plenty of talent in the receiving corps that can do damage. That starts with junior receiver Donte Moncrief and continues with freshman wideout Laquon Treadwell and freshman tight end Evan Engram.
I'm not saying to throw the ball all over the place, mind you. The Rebels have an electric running game going with senior Jeff Scott. You don't want to abandon that.
But I am saying to test Alabama's secondary at the right times. Run to set up the pass, then sling the ball down the field.
Wallace is certainly confident enough. He said this week, “We can put points on (Alabama)" and "We have better receivers than A&M," per Hugh Kellenberger of the Clarion-Ledger.
But confidence will only get you so far. Most importantly, Wallace needs to be smart. Don't force something that isn't there. A stalled drive is much less damaging than a pick-six.
Wallace's poise wasn't there against Alabama in Tuscaloosa last year. This is his chance to prove that he has grown since then. He's facing a weaker defense than the 2012 unit. It's time to give Alabama a true battle.
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