Improved Mississippi eyes postseason possibilities

Associated Press Modified: October 18, 2012 at 3:02 pm •  Published: October 18, 2012
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OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — One year removed from a 10-loss season, Mississippi has a chance to qualify for a bowl game.

Not that first-year coach Hugh Freeze will entertain any postseason talk.

"We don't talk about that," Freeze said. "That's a no-no for me."

Still, it's not a particularly far-fetched scenario.

The Rebels (4-3, 1-2 Southeastern Conference) are in the midst of their open week and then have five games remaining in five weeks starting with a road game against Arkansas on Oct. 27.

Figure out a way to win two, and a bowl game possibly awaits.

Ole Miss got a big psychological lift last week after beating Auburn 41-20 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The victory broke a 16-game SEC losing streak that dated more than two years and was further affirmation that the Rebels are headed in the right direction.

"It's a big confidence boost," running back Jeff Scott said. "We needed that."

Ole Miss' schedule — like most in the SEC this time of year — is unforgiving. The best opportunities for wins are likely against Arkansas and a home game against Vanderbilt on Nov. 10. The other three games are against teams currently in the national rankings — Mississippi State, Georgia and LSU.

The Rebels are certainly a work in progress, but have consistently shown an ability to score points.

Freeze's spread offense — which is heavy on quick option runs, short passes and the occasional trick play — has been a welcome change. Ole Miss is averaging 32.7 points per game and ranks in the SEC's top half in both rushing and passing offense.

Bo Wallace has thrown for 1,371 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions. He's also been a surprisingly effective runner, gaining 225 yards on the ground for five touchdowns. He's even caught a touchdown pass on a trick play.

Scott is the fifth-leading rusher in the SEC at 93.7 yards per game.

The 5-foot-7, 170-pound back has had a breakout season in Freeze's offense. He's not big, but has thrived when running the option with Wallace. If the defense guesses wrong, Scott can accelerate for big gains in a hurry.



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