NOTES: Bitter Loss

Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze said since Ole Miss hadn't won a Southeastern Conference game in "however long it's been," he was going for it "period" with the Rebels leading 27-23 on fourth and less than an inch from the Rebels' own 39-yard line and just a tad over three minutes to go in this most important football game for both teams.

It's a gamble. Coaches have done it in the past everywhere. Coaches have done it in the past here. If it works, you likely win the game. If it doesn't work, given that situation, you can lose.

It didn't work. Ole Miss lost.

Bo Wallace lined up in the shotgun and handed the football to Jeff Scott who didn't make it back to the line of scrimmage, much less past the first down marker.

Former Ole Miss defensive line coach Terry Price coaches the same group at Texas A&M, his alma mater. They had a big hand in the moment. At that point, the Rebels had given the ball back to Johnny Football, the all-everything magician named Johnny Manziel that's just a redshirt freshman quarterback but plays like a pro.

Manziel, for whatever reason, is not available for comments, according to officials. It would have been nice to get his take.

Manziel was 17-of-26 passing for 191 yards with two interceptions and a touchdown. A&M also lost four fumbles.

"Obviously I wish I had called something different now," Freeze admitted concerning the fourth down play late at his own 39. "That play had been really good to us. They brought a lot of pressure. I have to see it on film to see exactly what happened.

"But we'd go for it again."

Freeze said the locker room was exactly what you would expect.

"Obviously we're disappointed," he said. "Players are hurting. Coaches are hurting.

"We didn't get a few breaks."

Namely a safety call that could have gone on Manziel in the fourth quarter that four plays later for him and his offense was an Aggie touchdown to pull his team to within 27-23 with 6:24 to go in the game. The extra point was missed.

Namely a holding call on Pierce Burton when the Rebels led 27-17 and were headed to put the dagger in the heart of an Aggie squad on its heels. The Rebels had it second and four at the A&M 25 but ended up having to punt.

"We didn't make some plays," Freeze said.

Namely the third and two play, a Jeff Scott run, right before the fourth and one play that might have ended it.

"We made some tough decisions," Freeze said.

And there will be plenty more of those type decisions to be made.

It is football.

"It's a game we easily could have won," Freeze said. "We got into the fourth quarter with a very good football team.

"But it is what it is, and we could have made an inch and probably put it away," Freeze continued. "And we didn't."

Winning Defense:

The Rebel defense had a winning effort again. A unit that in three weeks' time has shown marked improvement.

The stats, were however, dead even. Ole Miss had 464 yards of offense, while Texas A&M had 481 yards. First downs: 24 apiece.

The ground attack was pretty impressive for the Aggies with 290 rushing behind a powerful offensive line. Actually 129 of those rushing yards were by Manziel.

"He's a talented, talented kid," Freeze said of Manziel. "He's tough to hem up. Nobody has been able to, and we did not tonight. We did decent at times on him, and I thought we did enough to win the game."

Workhorse Rose:

Bryson Rose kicked off every time for the Rebels in this one; six times total. Perhaps it is his job to lose now.

Two of the senior's early kickoffs went into the end zone and were wind-aided.

He was also 2-for-3 in the field goals department.

Sanders Contributes:

Vincent Sanders continues to be a big part of the Rebel offense, an improving player on that side of the ball.

"I've just been getting open, and Bo and Barry have found me," Sanders said.

Sanders caught five passes for 81 yards.

"Very tough loss, you know," he said. "We felt like we came out played 60 minutes of passionate football. We just came up short at the end.

"It's a heartbreaking loss. We've got a lot of guys with their heads down. But I think we've got enough guys with their heads up that will be able to tell the other guys that things like this happen. It's all about how we bounce back from here."

There are six games remaining this season.

"Tomorrow we've just got to come back and get ready for Auburn next week," Sanders said.

The Winning Coach Speaks:

Texas A&M Coach Kevin Sumlin was pleased to get out of Oxford with a victory.

"We've been through it a few times," Sumlin said of a game like this. "The big thing is it's not our coaches have been in a situation like this, it's the players. For them not to quit and continue to play, that was huge."

Sumlin said, as you would expect, the stop on fourth down was a big one.

"It was huge," he said. "I thought the spot was a little questionable, but so be it. We thought there was going to be a quarterback sneak, but they ended up not doing it.

"We have a lot of things to learn, but it's a lot better to learn things after a win than a loss."

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