Second Half, And Some, Blues

ATHENS, Ga. -- Ole Miss started strong against against 6th-ranked Georgia in Athens Saturday, but once they flinched, the roof caved in on their hopes for a third straight win.

An out of synch offense and a defense that was susceptible to big plays dashed the hopes of the Rebels here Saturday as Georgia triumphed over Ole Miss 37-10.

"Obviously, that was a pretty good beating Georgia put on us," said Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze, whose team dropped to 5-4 overall and 2-3 in the SEC."Offensively, we couldn't make any plays to give our defense much hope and then they gave up several back-breaking big plays. The combination was a killer.

"That was the first time in the course of this season where I felt like were zapped and lacking passion in the second half. The two cheap scores they got in the first half and the first drive of the second half, another big play, we never recovered from."

Freeze said it will be a great test to see how his team bounces back from this type of loss.

Meanwhile, Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner didn't have too much to say postgame.

"In the first half, we had a bunch of chances. We were moving the football, but we didn't take advantage of our opportunities," said Werner. "When you get chances against a defense that talented and that tough, you better make something happen. We didn't and then in the second half, we couldn't get anything going."

The Rebels only managed 46 yards on the ground.

"That's the first time this year when we were actually manhandled some. We tried Everything we knew and couldn't make anything happen. If you don't get the ball moving on the ground, they can play back and you can't throw either," Werner stated. "We got ourselves into a bind, a bind we could not turn in our favor."

QB Bo Wallace didn't have terrible numbers - 16-25, 187 yards, one TD and one pick - but as Freeze said, the offense got out of synch midway through the second quarter and never recovered or bounced back.

Bryon Bennett
Bruce Newman

"Georgia didn't do much different, but they made a couple of little adjustments that maybe I didn't handle well. Put it on me," Werner said. "Again, when you get your chances, you have to capitalize.

"That's my job as the OC, to get us right, and we were not right today. We didn't have it."

Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack saw his crew fall victim to the big play, two in the first half on plays that should have been elementary to cover.

"We just did silly things. The first one, they were in short yardage and play faked. Our corner took his eyes off the receiver and it was a long score. Then right before half, we were in deep thirds and our young safety floated to the middle and that left two safeties in the middle," Wommack said. "Just silly thing that will get you beat."

Dave would not blame youth on the breakdowns, even though the Rebels were missing starting CB Senquez Golson and number three CB Wesley Pendleton for the game.

"Sometimes you just have to go through some things to learn, but something simple like that is coaching, not youth," he stated. "Sure, we missed a couple of our main guys, but we have to do better no matter who is out there."

Wommack was complimentary of Georgia's offense, that is averaging, coincidentally, 38 points a game.

"They made some nice adjustments and hit us at times when we were out of position, but the momentum was shifted when we brought some things on ourselves for not doing some simple things," he stated. "Georgia is leading the East, so I will take nothing away from them and their coaching staff, but we gave them some stuff we shouldn't have."

The Rebels were able to sack Georgia QB Aaron Murray five times in the first half, but didn't lay a finger on him in the second half.

"Nothing changed really. I was a little disappointed in how we came out to start the second half. We challenged them at halftime and our guys were still looking back at how the first half ended," he explained. "We have to learn from that. They have to learn to play the next play, put the last one behind them. Every play is important. This was a lesson in that today."

Wommack said he is not leary of the Rebel "bounce back."

"I would be real disappointed if we don't come back strong because I think we have enough character and class on this team," he closed. "It will stay with some of them, but those are not the kids you will win with anyway.

"Nobody said it would be easy, and it hasn't been, but this is part of the process we have to go through. I really believe in our guys and feel we will get better. When you go against good football teams like Alabama and Georgia, they can expose some things. We saw that today. You just have to learn from them and move on."

Next up, Vanderbilt, in the friendly confines of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

After Saturday, the Rebels will be glad to be on friendly turf.

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