Red Tops Blue

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — First-year Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze said all spring that Barry Brunetti has the slight advantage in the team's quarterback race.

But Bo Wallace is certainly giving Freeze something to think about.

Wallace completed 16 of 26 passes for 240 yards, two touchdowns and an interception to lead the Red team over the Blue 24-23 in overtime during Saturday's Grove Bowl at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Wallace also rushed for 17 yards and a touchdown.

"Just off the top of my head, I thought Bo had the best day," Freeze said. "He functioned very well and kept us on schedule for the most part."

Wallace is a 6-foot-5 junior college transfer who came to the Rebels this spring after a stellar career at East Mississippi Community College. The best pure passer on the roster, he completed two touchdown passes to Donte Moncrief, including a 23-yarder in overtime.

Wallace didn't have many bad moments, though he did throw an interception at the goal line that ended a promising scoring drive. But overall, his progression has been encouraging for the Rebels, who are trying to rebound from a disastrous 2-10 season.

"I think I really just started playing football the past two weeks," Wallace said. "I didn't think about the competition as much — just coming out and playing ball."

Brunetti completed 4 of 10 passes for 62 yards and also rushed for 109 yards on 14 carries.

First-year coach Hugh Freeze said both quarterbacks had good moments during the two-hour spring game and the competition would likely extend into preseason practice during August.

Hugh Freeze
Bruce Newman

Freeze also said he could see a scenario where both quarterbacks would play a considerable role in the fall.

At 6 foot and 215 pounds, Brunetti is much better at running the football than Wallace.

"It's too early to tell that," Freeze said. "Just because of the way they're having to learn the offense. I think it'd be unfair to say that until we get a few weeks into fall camp."

Vincent Sanders caught five passes for 89 yards. Ja-Mes Logan and Moncrief both had two touchdown catches. Freeze said the receivers continue to be one of the better areas of the Ole Miss roster.

"In this offense — (they) better be," Freeze said. "You've got to have guys who can make plays and quarterbacks who have to trust that they can throw the ball and at worst, the receiver will fight and it will be incomplete."

Randall Mackey was recently moved from quarterback to receiver after falling into third place in the competition behind center. He threw two touchdown passes on trick plays, going 2 for 2 for 44 yards. C.J. Johnson led the defense with eight tackles, including 2½ for a loss. Carlos Thompson and Carlton Martin both had two sacks.

The Blue team tied the game at 17-all after a 2-yard run by Devin Thomas with 2:11 remaining in the fourth quarter.

With the score tied at the end of regulation, Freeze made an on-the-fly decision to have overtime.

Wallace's pass to Moncrief gave the Red team a 24-17 lead. The Blue team responded on a 25-yard pass from Mackey to Logan that made it 24-23, but failed to convert on a 2-point conversion that ended the game.

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