'I Almost Kept It'

Rebel QB Bo Wallace had an excellent night - big yardage, two rushing TDs and NO TURNOVERS, but he almost made one fatal decision. Almost. . .

After the 39-35 Rebel victory over Vanderbilt, Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace, still dripping wet from his postgame shower and still perspiring, stood in the exact spot where Jeff Scott crossed the goalline for the winning touchdown after a scintillating 75-yard run.

He held his index finger and thumb about a quarter of an inch apart and said, with a big smile on his face, "I came this close to keeping the ball. I almost kept it. The read was real close to me keeping it, but I knew Jeff had a shot of taking it to the house if he could get the corner and, well, I didn't."

A play that will go down in the annals of Rebel football almost didn't happen at all. Almost.

But it did.

Scott took the handoff, got the corner, Donte Moncrief and Evan Engram walled off the first wave of Commodore defenders, Scott turned on the jets down the sideline and then saw the last defender - the Dore safety - overplay the sideline, allowing him to cut inside and run to glory.

"I was watching it from behind and it was a great run. The OL and his speed got him to the outside, Donte and Evan gave him the sideline and he did the rest on his own," said Wallace. "It was a thing of beauty."

While Scott had the game-winner, Bo had a country-fair game himself, completing 31 of 47 passes for 283 yards with NO INTERCEPTIONS, and rushing for a net of 48 yards and two TDs despite being sacked four times in the first half.

"No turnovers was the goal coming into the game," Bo continued. "We knew if we did not turn it over, we had a chance to win because we knew we could move the ball and score if we didn't shoot ourselves in the foot."

But Bo also knew it wasn't going to be easy against a veteran, stingy Commodore defense.

"They got after me pretty good in the first half. I wasn't real comfortable in the first half - give them credit. One of the sacks, I sent the protection the wrong way - that's on me," he explained. "One time I held on to it too long and maybe a couple were on the line.

"The positive thing is that we adjusted everything at half and scored, what, 29 points. Pretty good."

The difference in the first half and the second half, to Bo, was getting the tempo going by staying on schedule with good 1st and 2nd down gains.

Bo Wallace
File Photo

"When we get our tempo going and get in a rhythm, I think we can be unstoppable. We were really good on first down. Hats off to the O-Line for hanging in there. We were all pretty tired in the fourth quarter, but they kept fighting and gave me time to operate," he stated. "My hat is off to Coach (Paul) Jackson too. When we are running those sprints in the heat of the summer, he knew we needed that to get us in shape for this tempo stuff."

Despite his steady play, and sometimes heroics, Bo was still facing a deficit of 35-32 with ninety seconds left on the clock and 75 yards to negotiate.

"I just never thought we were going to lose, not tonight," Bo said. "I didn't know we'd win the way we did, but I knew all we needed was a field goal to get to overtime and that is what I was thinking about mostly. If we got the TD, icing on the cake, but I was very confident we'd get a field goal.

"We knew what we needed to do and had a good plan to get down the field. All I needed to do was protect the football and not make a dumb decision."

Reflecting, Bo was amazed at the production of the two freshmen receivers - Laquon Treadwell with nine catches and Engram with five.

"Man, to do that in their first college game on national TV, under the lights, on the road. . . amazing," Wallace assessed. "Ya'll are going to have fun watching a long time after I am gone. They are going to be special. Heck, they already are. I only heard about Quon's one-handed catch - I got hit just as I let it go and didn't see it. I heard it was something else."

And what of Laremy Tunsil and Austin Golson, who took over for nicked Emmanuel McCray and injured Aaron Morris (knee).

"They had to step up and they did. I didn't get hit in the pocket when they were in there and that says all there is to know," Bo added.

Bo was also impressed with his backup, Barry Brunetti, scoring two TDs on short runs.

"Barry is one of the most gifted runners on our team and anytime we can get him in there in tight Red Zone situations, he's a major weapon for us," he noted.

How is Bo's shoulder?

"I will need some treatment, but after a win, I feel good. It's sore, but nothing is moving around in there, so I'm good," he laughed.

And one last thing. . .

. . . He didn't keep it, he handed it to Scott.

The rest is Rebel lore.

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