Published on September 28th, 2014 | by Avé Mayeux0
“Rebel D shuts down Memphis, The GameDay Cometh” by Avé Mayeux
It wasn’t picture perfect, but a victory was confirmed.
Leading up to Saturday’s game, chatter of GameDay in Oxford provided for a much bigger stage than usual between these old rivals. Add the fact that just hours before kickoff ESPN GameDay executive producer Lee Fitting confirmed the show would be “heading to the Grove October 4 for the first time,” if Ole Miss defeated Memphis, and the anxiety began to evolve.
After a 24-3 Rebel victory, their packing started. ESPN College GameDay is coming to Ole Miss.
A turnover happy Rebel offense gave a crowd of 61,291, the ninth largest in school history, an all-too-familiar gut-check before the Rebels pulled away late in the game.
“We didn’t help ourselves offensively with our turnovers and negative plays, but some of that credit does go to Memphis,” Head Coach Hugh Freeze said. “We have to play better on that side of the football and make field goals when we get the chance. We’re very excited to be 4-0 and proud of our guys for battling all the way through it.”
Senior quarterback Bo Wallace struggled at times but found his favorite target early, completing a 63-yard touchdown pass to Laquon Treadwell. Treadwell finished with five catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns.
Moments later began a series of costly penalties and mistakes by the offense and special teams which continued throughout the night. One resulted in Ole Miss kicker, Gary Wunderlich, being ejected from the game after a scuffle between the two teams. Yes, the kicker was ejected.
In the third quarter, a 71-yard touchdown run made by Mark Dodson was called back after a questionable holding penalty was called on Treadwell. Wallace, who completed 22 of his 37 attempts and threw 248 yards had two interceptions and a fumble throughout Saturday’s game. Fletcher had two failed field goal attempts, one at 40-yards and another at 43.
The Rebel defense, which held Memphis to just 104 yards, was the power behind Saturday’s Ole Miss team. Three and outs were the norm. The Rebels forced Memphis off the field in three plays nine times.
Also in the third, Trae Elston intercepted a pass which seemed to breathe new life into The Vaught after a stagnant first half and ended a seemingly promising Memphis drive. A key play made by Jaylen Walton in the fourth quarter pushed the Rebels ahead to a 17-3 lead with his 23-yard touchdown run. The junior running back had a few star moments throughout Saturday’s game and holds much promise for the Rebels. Walton had a total of 78 rushing yards in the game.
No Ole Miss players were injured in Saturday’s game.
The Rebels take on Alabama at 2:30 Saturday in Oxford.
“I’m so glad this is over and everyone can do whatever talking they want to do about next week,” Freeze said.“It was distracting at times. It’s good to play a four-quarter game against a good football team and get a win. Now we can move on to next week.”