Ailing Wallace

Without a healthy Bo Wallace, Ole Miss isn't the same team. That was the case Saturday night in a loss to one of this country's most successful teams this season.

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Ole Miss fell to Missouri 24-10 in Oxford but had its chances to stay close into the fourth quarter, which is always the goal against a Top Ten team. But without a healthy Wallace, those chances were diminished.

The word floated around throughout the press box before the game Wallace was sick. The junior quarterback, with two seasons of Division I football under his belt, was suffering from flu-like symptoms even before the game.

They didn't improve during the game. He was not available for comments after the game. He was already trying to get well and ready for the Mississippi State game in five days.

"Last night at the hotel, he started to feel awful and started running a fever," Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said. "We started him on IVs and stuff. He looked a little maybe glassy-eyed (today). We weren't sure how effective he'd be."

Freeze said Wallace, ever the competitor and the leader of this team, wanted to play and play well.

"He wanted to go hard and compete. I knew we were going to use Barry (Brunetti) some, too," he said. "That package ended up being pretty good for us. We just didn't get enough shots at it. They controlled the clock the second half, it seemed like."

Bo Wallace
USA Today Images

Freeze admitted Wallace playing at all wasn't a sure thing.

"He was questionable," he said. "Hopefully he can get well this weekend."

Wallace still posted good stats in the contest. He was 26 for 42 with an interception.

But the lone Rebel touchdown was scored with backup Barry Brunetti at the controls. That was on the opening drive of the second half when the Rebels were able to close a 14-point halftime gap to 17-10 on a 45-yard run for a score by I'Tavius Mathers.

Freeze said he didn't really believe Wallace was feeling any more ill as the game went on. But he wasn't feeling well throughout.

"I think he made some good throws at the end on the last drive. I don't think he was any worse at the end than at the beginning (of the game)," he said.

The Rebels totaled 378 yards of offense against Mizzou. Last weekend they put up 751 yards of total offense and 51 points against an outmanned Troy team in a 30-point victory.

This week, with things not clicking on all cylinders and with its starting quarterback ailing, the Rebels couldn't get it done.

"It's impossible to beat a Top Ten team when you get in the red zone and don't score points," Freeze said. "A blocked field goal and some miscommunication. I'm speaking the obvious. If you don't score some points in the red zone, you're not going to win."

The Rebels had their chances. It appeared a 12-yard pass to Ja-Mes Logan from Wallace was a touchdown that would have again cut the gap to seven at 24-17. But Logan had stepped out of bounds at the 7-yard line, replays showed. The Rebels failed to produce points on the drive, with a fourth and goal at the 13 an incomplete pass from Wallace.

Brunetti said it was hard to tell how Wallace was feeling throughout the game. But he wanted to go in and get the job done, and that was what he tried to do.

"I just wanted to step in and do my job," said the Rebel senior signal-caller. "I just wanted to do whatever I had to do for the team. I knew I had to step up."

"We needed to play a good game, and I don't think we played good enough," Freeze said. "I still thought we had a chance."

Without a 100 percent Bo Wallace, that likely wasn't going to be the case. And it ultimately turned out that way on this night.

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