In Search of Victory

Wesley Pendleton said there are at least a couple of Fresno State players he knows he will get a good look at during Saturday night's game.

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Sophomore quarterback Derek Carr and sophomore receiver Jalen Saunders have caught the Rebel junior cornerback's attention.

"He's just like (BYU's) Jake Heaps," Pendleton said of Carr, younger brother of NFL's David Carr, a current backup for Eli Manning and the Giants. "He's going to try to put it right in there. He's going to lead the receivers. No. 6 is very fast. I'll probably be matched up with him the whole game."

No. 6 is Saunders, a fleet-footed receiver that Pendleton says is a key to the Bulldogs' offense.

"Every time he gets in the game, they go a fade or a post," Pendleton said. "They're going to try to match me up with him. Wherever he goes I'm on him."

Pendleton has been solid for the Rebel defense so far. The whole unit needs to step up to prevent what happened last year in the Ole Miss-Fresno State game.

The Rebels won 55-38. But the Bulldogs, behind quarterback Ryan Colburn who was 32 of 42 for 390 passing yards and four touchdowns, put on an air show not matched until last week when Carr passed for 371 yards and five touchdowns in a 48-24 win at Idaho.

Carr to Saunders has produced an 86-yarder for a touchdown two weeks ago in a 27-22 win against North Dakota and a 51-yarder in the Idaho game.

"They say we're more together (on defense) and have better chemistry than last year," said Pendleton, who was playing for the Copiah-Lincoln Community College Wolves this time last season. "Everybody is thinking ‘team.' We've just got to go out and try to hold them to no points, and we'll win."

That's a tall order against any team, but especially so on the road facing a team that is averaging 24 points a game through four contests. Pendleton hopes to go out and play well again this weekend. He says the defense is having fun this season.

"The coaches make everything fun," he said. "As long as we go hard, we can have fun. We know the season isn't getting any easier. We've got Fresno, Alabama, LSU, so we just have to keep getting better."

Pendleton said it's long-distance football this week, but he's looking forward to the trip. And hopefully with the Rebels getting their second win of the campaign.

Zack Stoudt
Chuck Rounsaville

"This is my first time to California, so I'm going to try to enjoy it," he said. "But you know we're going on a business trip, and we've got to handle our business."

Searching For Productivity

Zack Stoudt said the team is holding up relatively well mentally as its record slipped to 1-3 last weekend and 0-2 in SEC play.

"I think we're doing fine," Stoudt said of the team's frame of mind. "It could be a lot worse mentally. The attitude in the locker room is pretty good. But like I've said after every one of our losses this year, we beat ourselves and no one's beat us. So it gives us confidence in a way to know that's why we're losing. Now, we have to do something about that.

"The attitude's pretty good," he continued. "We're staying positive. I'm trying to stay as positive as possible. So is (Randall) Mackey. So is (Barry) Brunetti. So is the coaching staff. We're just trying to keep everybody up and don't let them get down. Once they do get down, really down, that's the season."

Stoudt has a good confidant to turn to in his dad, Cliff, a former NFL quarterback. The elder Stoudt played with Pittsburgh during one of the franchise's most successful runs from 1977-83. Most of that time he spent as Terry Bradshaw's backup, until 1983 when Bradshaw was injured and Stoudt became the starter.

That season didn't play out well for the Steelers, and Cliff Stoudt received some of the blame. But Zack said his father has a lot of knowledge of so many situations as a quarterback.

"He played on arguably the best team in the history of the NFL," Zack said, admitting his dad had some low moments in a lengthy career that didn't end until he was with the Dallas Cowboys in 1991. "He says you have to keep your head up, because you're a leader. Once you get down as a quarterback, if people look at you and they see that you're down, they'll immediately think the guy leading the play is down. 'So what do I have to do? What's the point?'

"So I'm just trying to stay up, and I am up. I'm positive. I'm happy. We did a lot of good things on Saturday. So I'm not faking anything. I'm excited about this weekend and for the rest of the season."

Stoudt, in his first Ole Miss season after transferring from junior college, says he's confident the Rebels can move the ball and score points against the Bulldogs this weekend.

"We've watched film on them, and they've got some athletes," he said. "The biggest thing for us to do is play as hard as we did last year (against Fresno State). I watched the film from last year, and we played very hard. We've got to go out and play hard, play physically, and just get our confidence back and show that we can beat teams."

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