Ole Miss will kick off its 2012 season at 6 p.m. with a first-ever gridiron showdown with Central Arkansas.
The game can be viewed on Pay-per-view or ESPN3.com.
(I have always liked to think of our LIVE GAME DAY BLOG as sort of “one-stop shopping” for Ole Miss fans and it won’t be any different this season. Below you’ll find plenty of links to features, to our Game Day Preview magazine (if it’s a home game), what’s going on around the league, possibly some videos, info on both teams and the starters, and, of course, scoring updates once the season gets underway.)
Leading up to today’s game, the Oxford EAGLE has been working overtime.
In Friday’s print edition of the EAGLE, we included our first Game Day Preview magazine of the season. Within those 20 pages, you’ll find plenty of features to prepare you for the football season: Starting quarterback Bo Wallace discusses his anxiety leading up to each game; sophomore safety Cody Prewitt has ‘bought in’ to the new coaching staff and looks like he’ll see significant playing time after starting in four games at the end of last season; senior quarterback-turned-running back Randall Mackey is making the most of his second chance and has looked like a natural at his new position; current Ole Miss verbal commit Derrick Jones is playing beyond his consensus two-star rankings; new strength and conditioning coach Paul Jackson wasn’t always a college town kind of guy, but the New Yorker has come to enjoy Oxford after stops in Miami, Ohio, Baton Rouge, La., and Hattiesburg; recent Ole Miss M-Club Athletics Hall of Fame inductee Langston Rogers reflects on the Rebels’ 2001 victory over Murray State, the first time Ole Miss played on Sept. 1.
On Thursday, our buddy Steven Godfrey — who will begin writing weekly columns for the EAGLE after voicing his thoughts for years in Oxford Town — penned “When losses come in 2012, remember Freeze has already won.” Check it out HERE.
Want to get caught up on all the pre-season football content, including videos, position previews and columns? Click HERE.
Curious what the Rebels have looked like during the pre-season, spring and in years past, HERE are 1,805 pictures, mostly shot by ace EAGLE photographer Bruce Newman.
THE SEASON: By now it’s no surprise to those that keep up with Ole Miss athletics that the Rebels do a good job with their commercials and documentary-style videos. Ole Miss released its first episode of The Season for the 2012 season Thursday and the 28-minute video stayed true to form. There’s plenty of documentary-style videos out there (Hard Knocks, Road to the Winter Classic, Caught Looking, The Franchise, etc.) and Ole Miss does as good of a job as any at trying to pull the curtains back and give Rebel fans a behind-the-scenes look at what’s going on with the the program and first-year head coach Hugh Freeze. Episode 1 basically spans the entire month of August, from Ole Miss’ Media Day to the Meet the Rebels scrimmage. It includes plenty of interviews and practice footage and also includes footage a coach impersonation and a big-time walk-on receiving a scholarship.
PREGAME NOTES: This game will mark the 118th season of football at Ole Miss and the first under Freeze… Ole Miss is 621-486-35 (.559) all-time… Ole Miss is 86-26-5 (.756) all-time in openers and has won 13 of the last 16… Today’s game marks the first gridiron meeting between Ole Miss and Central Arkansas… The Rebs are 3-0… Ole Miss returns 56 lettermen (25 on offense, 26 on defense, five on special teams) and 17 starters (seven on offense, six on defense, four on special teams) from last year’s team… In 2011, Ole Miss finished 2-12 overall, while UCA was second in the Southland Conference with a 9-4 overall record and 6-1 record in the SLC…UCA finished last season ranked 14th and 15th in two national FCS polls and open 2012 ranked No. 19 in the FCS Coaches Poll, No. 21 in the College Sporting News poll and No. 24 in the Sports Network Poll… Clint Conque is entering his 13th season at UCA. He is 89-51 overall, making him the winningest coach in UCA history… UCA quarterback Wynrick Smothers will be making his second career start today, replacing All-American Nathan Dick. In a reserve role, the junior has completed 46 of 92 attempts for 558 yards and one score. He also rushed for 231 yards and three scores on 57 rushes.
BY THE NUMBERS: Last season, UCA rushed for 1,542 yards on 412 carries and passed for 3,650 yards (288 of 463)… Ole Miss rushed for 1,555 yards on 460 carries and completed 155 of 313 pass attempts for 1,820 yards…
QB Bo Wallace
RB Randall Mackey OR Jeff Scott
WR (X) Donte Moncrief
WR (Z) Ja-Mes Logan OR Vince Sanders
WR (H) Korvic Neat
TE Ferbia Allen
LT Emmanuel McCray
LG Aaron Morris
C Evan Swindall
RG A.J. Hawksin
RT Pierce Burton
DE C.J. Johnson
DT Bryon Bennett
NT Issac Gross
DE E.J. Epperson
Mike Mike Marry
Stinger Denzel Nkemdiche
Huskie Dehendret Collins
FCB Wesley Collins
Rover Charles Sawyer
FS Cody Prewitt or Chief Brown
BCB Senquez Golson
PK Bryson Rose
P Tyler Campbell
KO Bryson Rose
Holder Chris Conley
LS Will Denny
KR Jeff Scott OR Senquez Golson OR Trae Elston
PR Jeff Scott OR Korvic Neat
QB Wynrick Smothers
RB Jackie Hinton OR Anthony Blackmon OR Terence Bobo
TE Chae Dixon
LT Dominique Allen
LG Cole Aruthers
C Corey Howard
RG Jon-Mark Holden OR C.J. Simon
RT Kyle Stouffer
WR (W) Dominique Croom
WR (X) Dezmin Lewis
WR (Z) Jesse Grandy
DE Jonathan Woodard OR Devin Hawkins
DE Jeremy Jester or Markeith Gaines
DT Matt Hornbuckle
DT Justin Williams
SLB Seth Allison
MLB Justin Heard
WLB Rojae Jackson
CB Dominique Brown
CB Macus Peters
SS Karl Brady OR Jestin Love
FS Radarius Winston
PK Eddie Camara
P Kevin Buford
PR Jesse Grandy
KR Jesse Grandy
DS Kirby O’Meara
H Seth Allison
GRAND(Y) BEAR: Ole Miss fans will recognize one name in particular on the UCA roster — former Ole Miss receiver and return man Jesse Grandy. As a junior in ’11, Grandy led UCA with 49 receptions, 788 yards and nine touchdowns receiving and was second on the team in scoring with 56 points. He also returned 16 kicks for 346 yards (21.6 average) and 18 punts for 60 yards to finish second on the team in all-purpose yardage with 1,238.
AROUND THE LEAGUE:
Scores from around the Southeastern Conference:
Tennessee 35, N.C. State 21
South Carolina 17, Vanderbilt 13
Georgia 45, Buffalo 23
Bowling Green at Florida, 2:30 p.m. CT (ESPN)
Jacksonville State at Arkansas, 6 p.m. CT (PPV)
Southeastern Louisiana at Missouri, 6 p.m. (Missouri PPV)
North Texas at LSU, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
Jackson State at Mississippi State, 6 p.m. (FSN)
Auburn vs. Clemson in Atlanta, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
Alabama vs. Michigan in Arlington, Texas, 7 p.m. (ABC)
Kentucky at Louisville, Sunday, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Texas A&M at Louisiana Tech, POSTPONED due to weather.
All results as of 4 p.m. CT
OLE MISS 7, Central Arkansas 0 (10:48/Q1): After the Rebel defense forced a 3-and-out to open the season, Bo Wallace led Ole Miss 78 yards down the field to score on their first possession. Wallace scored on the drive’s ninth play, faking a handoff to Randall Mackey and weaving his way 25 yards through the UCA defense untouched. With the exception of 12 yards on three carries by Mackey, Wallace accounted for 18 yards passing (2-for-2) and 48 yards rushing.
CENTRAL ARKANSAS 7, Ole Miss 7 (5:14/Q1): After trading turnovers — UCA running back Jackie Hinton fumbled inside Ole Miss’ 6 yard-line and Wallace was hit while throwing on the next play causing a poor, high-arching pass that was intercepted — the Bears got on the scoreboard with a 3-yard run by Jacoby Walker up the middle.
OLE MISS 14, Central Arkansas 7 (3:01/Q1): Ole Miss’ third possession spanned 75 yards and concluded in a 10-yard touchdown run by freshman Jaylen Walton on his first collegiate carry. The Memphis prep star was able to get to the UCA sideline, dodge defenders and find his way into the end zone.
Ole Miss 14, CENTRAL ARKANSAS 13 (13:12/Q2): Central Arkansas responded on the next drive, marching 80 yards down the field and scoring on a 2-yard run by Terence Bobo. UCA missed the PAT after a flag set them back.
CENTRAL ARKANSAS 20, Ole Miss 14 (8:24/Q2): Quarterback Wynrick Smothers connected with receiver Al Lasker for a 62-yard score over the middle to cap a six-play, 90-yard drive.
OLE MISS 21, Central Arkansas 20 (6:40/Q3): Wallace fumbled into the end zone on a 5-yard run, but Rebel receiver Ja-Mes Logan jumped on the loose ball to ensure the Ole Miss score.
OLE MISS 28, Central Arkansas 20 (3:20/Q3): Wallace hit Donte Moncrief with a defender draped on him over the middle for a 53-yard touchdown strike.
OLE MISS 35, Central Arkansas 20 (11:42/Q4): Barry Brunetti factored into the scoring with an 11-yard touchdown strike over the middle to tight end Jamal Mosley to cap a nine-play, 72-yard drive.
OLE MISS 42, Central Arkansas 20 (10:29/Q4): After sitting the previous drive out, Wallace returns to the field and throws a 25-yard touchdown to Philander Moore over the middle.
OLE MISS 49, Central Arkansas 20 (5:57/Q4): Brunetti capped Ole Miss’ scoring with an 11-yard run with 5:57 remaining in the game.
Ole Miss 49, CENTRAL ARKANSAS 27 (1:29/Q4): UCA ended the night with a 15-yard touchdown pass and catch from Smothers to Dezmin Lewis.
FINAL: Ole Miss 49, Central Arkansas 27
FINAL STATS: Bo Wallace completed 20 of 24 passes for a game-high 264 yards with two touchdown passes and one interception on a tipped ball. He also rushed for a game-high 82 yards on 13 carries and punched in a touchdown run of 25 yards…Barry Brunetti completed 5 of 7 passes for 66 yards and one touchdown while also running for 54 yards and another score on eight carries… Randall Mackey led Ole Miss’ running backs with 50 yards on 15 carries, while I’Tavius Mathers chipped in 20 yards on four carries and Jaylen Walton finished with nine yards and a touchdown on two carries… Korvic Neat finished with career highs in receptions (6) and receiving yards (75)… Jamal Mosley caught four passes for 79 yards and a touchdown…Denzel Nkemdiche led Ole Miss with eight total tackles. He also recorded one sack and 3.0 tackles for loss… Wynrick Smothers completed 25 of 32 passes for 247 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for 16 yards on 12 carries… Jackie Hinton led UCA with 52 yards rushing on 13 carries… Former Rebel Jesse Grandy caught three passes for five yards and returned one kickoff 36 yards…
POST-GAME NOTES: Ferbia Allen, Randall Mackey, Mike Marry and Bryson Rose were Ole Miss’ captains… Emmanuel McCray (LT), Pierce Burton (RT), Bo Wallace (QB), Issac Gross (NT), Denzel Nkemdiche (Stinger) and Dehendret Collins (Huskie) all made their first-career starts… Abdul Bangura, Justin Bell, Jim Broadway, Chief Brown, Quintavius Burdett, Burton, Tanner Burns, Dehendret Collins, Louis Covington, Trae Elston, Gross, Will Martin, I’Tavius Mathers, Nkemdiche, Nathan Noble, Nicholas Parker, Wallace, Jaylen Walton and Channing Ward all made their Ole Miss debuts… The game’s attendance was 50,554… The 49 points scored were the most in a game since the Rebels scored 55 on Fresno State in 2010… The Rebels’ 565 total offensive yards were the most since the same Fresno State game, while their 330 yards passing were the most since passing for 332 against Arkansas in 2009.
LOOKING TO REDSHIRT: Not only are the Rebels considering redshirting Andrew Ritter so that he can take the place of Bryson Rose next season, but Ole Miss is also looking at redshirting punter Tyler Campbell. In Campbell’s place, senior Jim Broadway did well, booting three punts for 140 yards (46.7 average) with two going for 50 yards apiece. During post-game interviews, Freeze confirmed the Rebels intentions, saying they’re wanting to “build for the future.” Ritter’s kickoff replacement, Nathan Noble did well. Of his eight kickoffs, which averaged 63.6 yards overall, five were touchdowns. One went out of bounds.
OTHER NOTES: Freshman defensive end Issac Gross left the game in the first quarter with a strained calf. “We’ll look into that,” Freeze said… Bo Wallace will start next Saturday’s home game against UTEP, too… Freeze said “several” players were suspended for the first quarter because they were late to class but did not elaborate. “We’re going to do the little things right if we’re going to win here,” he said. “If you can’t do those little things right then you’re not going to do well in third-and-5 because you can’t trust each other. They served their penalty tonight and hopefully won’t have to deal with that again.”
Below are a few thoughts from Hugh Freeze following Ole Miss’ 49-27 victory over Central Arkansas:
(September 1, 2012)