OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — LSU's Zach Mettenberger and Mississippi's Bo Wallace were quarterbacks who appeared on the brink of stardom last season.
Mettenberger has made the jump. Wallace isn't quite there yet.
The two will meet in a potentially touchdown-filled showdown when No. 6 LSU (6-1, 3-1) travels to face Ole Miss (3-3, 1-3) on Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Mettenberger has been one of the best quarterbacks in the country through seven games, throwing for 1,890 yards, 15 touchdowns and two interceptions. He's helped by two elite receivers — Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. — and an elite running game led by Jeremy Hill.
Wallace hasn't been bad, it's just the Ole Miss coaches want more. He's thrown for 1,444 yards, nine touchdowns and three interceptions.
But his decision-making has been suspect at times. Freeze said a prime example was in the team's final offensive drive against Texas A&M, when the score was tied at 38.
Freeze said the Rebels had a man open on first down, but Wallace decided to throw to the other side of the field. The pass fell incomplete.
The problems aren't all Wallace's fault. On second down, Wallace hit Ja-Mes Logan in stride for what looked like a first down, but the veteran receiver dropped the ball.
Ole Miss ended up having to punt and Texas A&M drove the field for a game-winning field goal.
Freeze said Wallace must make better decisions, but receivers also must catch the ball.
"It's something that's sort of like if you have a case of the shanks in golf — you don't want to talk about it a lot," Freeze said. "We'll continue to throw and catch. To explain exactly why it's happening, I really don't have the explanation. They've happened at some bad times for us."
LSU coach Les Miles said Wallace is better than a year ago. The Tigers' pass defense is third in the SEC this season, giving up 196.3 yards per game.
"I think with age he's developing very well," Miles said. "He's always had kind of a really live arm, and I think he always makes really good decisions. Just with a little bit more age you make those decisions more comfortably, and it comes out of your hand in a right fashion."
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