COLUMN: Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace used the word “crushed” describe the way his teammates felt in the dressing room after Saturday night’s 30-27 loss to Texas A&M.
Hugh Freeze, the leader of the Rebels, said he was “very disappointed” with the come-from-behind win for the Aggies and that the “kids and coaches were hurting” from the outcome.
“It was a game we could have easily won. We can look at a lot of different things. We got into the fourth quarter with a very good football team. They’re going to win a lot of games. We had a chance to win it, we just didn’t put it away,” Freeze said to open his post-game press conference. “We didn’t make some plays, there were some tough decisions. I just hate that our kids are hurting so bad when they had a great chance to win the ballgame.”
Ole Miss was seemingly in control of Saturday’s game heading into the fourth quarter. The Rebels were actually up 10 (27-17) until the 6:24 mark when A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel broke free for a 29-yard touchdown run.
Good feeling vanishes
Texas A&M had done a lot wrong up to that point, namely committing six turnovers, while the Rebels had played well for the most part. As Wallace said, he felt like the win was in the bag.
“We had it in the bag. I’m crushed right now. To play the game as passionately as I do, I try not to show my emotions, but right now I’m pretty crushed,” said Wallace, who threw an interception to seal A&M’s victory with just over a minute remaining. “I never saw (A&M’s Steven Terrell). I was thinking I had to get us in field goal position, and that I can’t take a sack right here. I had somebody in my face. It was my short route, never even saw him.”
Wallace went on to say that giving great efforts have to translate into wins at some point during the remainder of the season.
“We can say we had a great effort all we want, but if we’re not winning, it doesn’t really matter,” Wallace said. “I thought I had my best game of the season until the final play of the game. I took care of the football. I thought I prepared better this week than I prepared for a football game and it definitely helped me out. It just crushes you when on the very last play of the game you do that.”
Freeze said after the loss to No. 1 Alabama that the next step in the rebuilding process was to get into the fourth quarter of a game with a chance to win it. He got the wish Saturday and unfortunately for him, and his team, the wish turned into a nightmare. How long it lingers remains to be seen.
A 1-4 Auburn visits next for Homecoming and the Rebels have got to earn that win simply because of what happened against the Aggies. If this program is going to finally end the Southeastern Conference losing streak that has now reached 16 games, they can’t lay an egg against the near toothless Tigers, they have to regroup and quickly.
“I don’t have a choice. Auburn is a good football team and we have another chance to get an SEC win,” Wallace said. “We got to prepare next week and get ready for them. Eventually we have to win an SEC game and we have to work hard this week.”
Wise words indeed for a quarterback who is still searching for that perfect game and for a program that is still trying to figure out just how to close the deal in the nation’s best conference once and for all. (October 8, 2012, Page 1B)