The Ole Miss Rebels enter the 2014 season looking to improve upon their 3-5 conference record from one year ago.
Last season, the team got off to a hot start, winning its first three games—the third to the tune of a 44-23 drubbing of the Texas Longhorns.
Unfortunately, that didn't last, as the Rebels dropped their next three games before rebounding to an impressive 27-24 victory over No. 6 LSU.
The Rebels closed out the season in style, defeating Georgia Tech 25-17 in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.
There's plenty to build on an much to look forward to for this team in the upcoming season.
Bo Wallace has another season of experience under his belt and will look to improve upon a solid showing from a year ago. He's shown glimpses in the past, and the team's success this season rests on his arm.
Mark Dodson figures to see a heavy workload this season in the Rebels' backfield. He's a versatile runner who doubles as a receiver out of the backfield and has the vision and speed to create yards after the catch.
The first step for this team to rise up the ranks of the SEC is to take the field in the annual Grove Bowl, pitting the Ole Miss offense against the defense.
In case you missed the game, don't fret. You can view it in its entirety on ESPN3.
With the game now in the books, let's take a look at how Saturday's action transpired.
The offense was hot right out of the gate for the Rebels. Running backs shined early and often against a defense looking for answers.
Dodson showed his prowess in the short passing game, catching a screen and taking it 45 yards downfield:
Impressive catch-and-run by Mark Dodson for a 45-yard gain!— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) April 5, 2014
Shortly after, I'Tavius Mathers took a handoff up the gut and showed his incredible burst for a 96-yard run that began at his own 1-yard line:
A 96-yard run by I'Tavius Mathers up the gut from his own 1-yard line.— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) April 5, 2014
Dodson was back at it in the red zone shortly after, scoring the first touchdown of the day on a pass from DeVante Kincade:
First touchdown of the day! DeVante Kincade 24 yards to Mark Dodson out of the backfield. #GroveBowl— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) April 5, 2014
Wallace began to make his presence felt, completing a nice 68-yard catch-and-run to Evan Engram:
Big play on the wheel pass - Bo Wallace to Evan Engram for 68 yards. #GroveBowl— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) April 5, 2014
It wasn't all offense that stole the show early on. The team's cornerbacks looked in midseason form, as Mike Hilton and Senquez Golson combined for a pair of pass breakups:
Back-to-back nice breakups by cornerbacks Mike Hilton and Senquez Golson. #GroveBowl— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) April 5, 2014
The offense was back at it in short order, as Jordan Wilkins dashed into the end zone for a nine-yard score:
Good moves by Jordan Wilkins on a 9-yard TD run to give the offense a 12-8 lead. #GroveBowl— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) April 5, 2014
The unit kept it up with Wallace firing a 25-yard strike to Laquon Treadwell shortly after:
25-yard TD pass from Bo Wallace to Laquon Treadwell. #GroveBowl— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) April 5, 2014
Toward the end of the day, the defense began to step up with a great goal-line stand:
The defense stops a goal line drive and notches a point. Now 14-9 advantage for offense. #GroveBowl— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) April 5, 2014
Wallace's day came to an end after being sacked by Fadol Brown on the next series:
Another stop for the defense on a Fadol Brown sack of Wallace. Offense 14, Defense 10. #GroveBowl— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) April 5, 2014
In the end, offense prevailed, as Ole Miss' Twitter account gives the final score:
FINAL: Offense 15, Defense 12. Rebels win the 2014 Regions Bank #GroveBowl.— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) April 5, 2014
So, what's next for this team?
There's lots of training and preparation yet to take place as we inch toward the regular season. There have been plenty of shifts in personnel over the offseason with many new faces in new places.
The team must use this time to jell and create a solid chemistry that will allow it to succeed in a very difficult conference.
The way the Rebels looked today, the sky could be the limit for this team, as it already looks to have built on last season's late momentum.
Ole Miss has a tough contest out of the gate this year, as it is set to play Boise State in its opener on Thursday, August 28.
Until then, this team will continue its preparations and enter that impending contest looking to start the season off strong once again.