College Football Preview: The 2014 Ole Miss Rebels
2014 College Football Preview
Odds to Win National Championship: 40-1 See the Latest Odds
Overview: The Mississippi Rebels continue to improve under head coach Hugh Freeze, as they finished with a 8-5 season and won a second straight bowl game. The eight victories were the most in program history since 2009, and has fans feeling very excited for what the future holds. While the Rebels only finished 3-5 in conference play, two of those wins came against college football powers in LSU and Texas. Ole Miss showed last season that it is slowly becoming a team to pay attention to.
Offense: Ole Miss is in a great position considering it returns the most experienced quarterback in the SEC with Bo Wallace returning. Last season, Wallace threw for more than 3,300 yards and 18 touchdowns, while rushing for 355 yards and six touchdowns. He gives this unit a fighting chance. Wallace also has key weapons in speedy wide receiver Laquon Treadwell and a healthy tight end in Evan Engram, who missed last season due to injury. A running back tandem of Jaylen Walton and I’Tavius Mathers also doesn’t hurt. Ole Miss had a top five offense in the SEC last season and returns majority of those weapons. Points should come easy for this year’s Rebels.
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Defense: Ole Miss is young and full of potential on defense. Starting with Robert Nkemdiche, who was the nation’s top recruit from a year ago. He’ll have a chance for a breakout season and should feel comfortable in this defense by now. Ole Miss also has a healthy defensive end in C.J. Johnson, who will instantly add a boost to a pass rush that struggled at times last season. Ole Miss also has a talented secondary with Senquez Golson, Cody Prewitt and Derrick Jones leading the way. Ole Miss has one of the fastest and most athletic defenses in college football. This unit can do damage if some of the younger players can grow up rather quickly.
Special Teams: Special teams is a big question mark for Ole Miss, as it has to replace punter Tyler Campbell and place kicker Andrew Ritter. Gary Wunderlich will get a strong look at punter and Andrew Fletcher and Andy Pappanastos are competing for the field goal duties. Either way, there could be some growing pains in this department.
Outlook: Ole Miss has the potential to be this year’s Auburn if everything goes well. Not saying it’s going to happen, but this team can surprise some people in a big way. The Rebels have an explosive offense and a defense that can drastically improve from a year ago. Ole Miss is a scary team, it’s just hard imagining them topping LSU, Alabama and others in such a short amount of time. However, feel free to back this team often during the regular season because they’re going to cover a lot of spreads.