Ole Miss Rebels
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Mizzou’s spread offense KOs Rebels
By Angie Ledbetter
The Ole Miss Rebels looked as if they could pull off a win over Missouri who dominated the first half of the home opener before a crowd of 50,897 loud fans.
The crowd came alive in the second quarter when Missouri scored 21 points before Ole Miss could get the offense going. With 1:09 left in the second quarter, Shay Hodge caught a five-yard pass from quarterback Seth Adams. The PAT by Joshua Shene was good to cut the Missouri lead 21-7. Missouri answered with four seconds left on the clock to give them a 28-7 lead going in at halftime.
The Rebels went into the locker room to find answers to the Missour spread offense for the second half.
Whatever the coaching staff told the players during halftime worked and gave the Rebel fans a glimpse of hope for a win. A win fans wanted badly after last year’s loss to Missouri 34-7.
The third quarter of the game had the most excitement.
Missouri scored with less than two minutes off the clock, making the lead 35-7.
Some fans began to leave as if the ballgame was over. Exactly ninety five seconds later, the Rebels scored.
Mike Wallace caught a 65-yard pass from Adams to cut the lead 35-13 as the two-point conversion failed.
Three minutes went by and Missouri scored again on a 27-yard field goal for the 38-13 lead.
With just a few minutes left in the third quarter, the Rebels scored when Greg Hardy caught a three-yard pass from Adams and the score stood 38-19 Missouri after the two-point conversion attempt failed.
With four seconds off the clock, BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored on a two-yard run and the conversion failed. The score was 38-25.
Batesville native Jamarca Sanford, a captain for the Rebels, led the defense in tackles with 13 and one tackle for a loss.
Sanford didn’t feel good about leading the team with tackles.
“I’m not feeling good because I missed too many tackles,” said Sanford. “I’m just hustling to the ball to just make a play and to me, it’s too many missed tackles.”
Sanford talked about the game and what happened.
“In the first half, we just had a lot of mistakes, blown assignments. We basically did the same thing in the second half, but we did our assignments. Everybody was doing their job so that’s why everybody played better in the second half.”
Correct the mistakes and missed assignment, Sanford predicted the Rebels would have still been in the game.
“One thing I liked is that we never gave up and we just kept fighting,” Sanford said. “ Coach “O” always tells us to just finish. We know a lot about finishing so we never thought that we were out of the game. We just came back in the second half and showed them that we’re always going to keep playing no matter what the score is. We just kept playing as a team. Maybe next time, we’ll have a better outcome.”
Sanford said the game was a tough loss.
“It’s part of football and we just have to move on and prepare for next week.”
Chris Strong from Batesville said they came out with a new attitude in the second half of the game.
“We played every down full speed,” said Strong. “We just did the best that we could. We did everything that the coach told us to do. We made some mistakes but as the game went on, we fixed them. The team fought to the end. They just came out with the victory.”
Ole Miss will be on the road this week to take on Vanderbilt in SEC action. Kickoff is 6 p.m. in Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville.