A lot of that was because of the difficult time the Rebel offense had with basic execution through much of the contest.
Ole Miss only led 7-6 at the start of the fourth quarter, but better execution and wearing down the Broncos’ strong defense as the game moved on proved to be the difference.
The Rebels had 10 penalties for 48 yards in the first half, most of them of the false start variety. In the second half there were but four miscues flagged by officials for 30 yards.
That’s 14 penalties for 78 yards in a single contest, and certainly something the Rebels will need to improve upon entering Southeastern Conference play a week from Saturday against Vanderbilt in Nashville.
The Rebel “O” struggled mightily to find any rhythm and flow throughout much of three quarters. Besides the penalties, there were several bad snaps from center to quarterback, among other missed assignments and mishaps.
“(The offense was) awful and hard to watch for two and half quarters,” said the offensive-minded head coach, Hugh Freeze. “Then we finally found a rhythm. We had way too many penalties.”
The offensive line got better as the game went on, but the Rebels didn’t find much running room, either inside or outside in this one.
The total rushing yards for Ole Miss against a veteran Broncos’ defense was a mere 71 yards on 34 attempts. Again, improvement will be needed heading into week two.
Besides Bo Wallace’s three interceptions – all in the first half - the passing game for the Rebels was effective.
“He’s our guy,” Freeze said. “I don’t know if he’s pressing. He obviously didn’t play his best. He settled down in the second half and played pretty well.”
The final Rebel passing numbers, all for Wallace: 25 of 36 for 387 yards and four touchdowns. But there were those three interceptions in the first half.
“In the first half I was trying to do too much, doing some things I shouldn’t have done,” Wallace said. “We got it together in the second half and had a good one.”
Freeze said had those early mistakes not occurred, the Rebels might have been further ahead.
“If we don’t throw those picks in the first half, I think we score more points early,” said Freeze, now with a 16-11 with the Rebels. “They were committing so many people to the run. But because of the penalties, we were behind the chains too often.”
Wallace said the rushing attack will be better when the Rebels stop making mistakes, such as the numerous penalties.
“We just got behind the chains so much with the penalties and things like that, it was tough to get the running game going,” he said. “That really hurt us.”
Ole Miss junior wide receiver Cody Core came to play. The veteran was in a battle for the slot position heading into August camp.
“Cody just went out and won the spot in fall camp,” Freeze said. “I thought he played really, really solid tonight.”
Core ended the contest with four catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
One memorable moment in the game came when Core caught a short pass across the middle and raced 76 yards for a touchdown which, along with Andrew Fletcher’s point after touchdown, gave the Rebels a comfortable lead at 28-6 with 7:45 remaining in the game.
“That was an explosive play he made on the slant, and he also made some good plays early on,” Freeze said.
Core’s other score came on a 30-yard pass from Wallace, the lone Rebel touchdown of the first three quarters.
“Scoring my first touchdown in the Georgia Dome for the Chik-Fil-A Kickoff was awesome,” Core said.
Laquon Treadwell was actually the leading Rebel receiver as far as number of catches with seven for 105 yards and one touchdown.
“We started off a bit sluggish,” Treadwell said. “I was a little frustrated. We’ve just got to correct the little things. (The BSU defensive linemen) were just playing around up at the line, making us jump offsides. We went to a silent snap count, and that kind of slowed their movement.”
Treadwell said he knew eventually the offense would get on track.
“We know we have a talented team,” he said, “and that we would start playing better.”
The Ole Miss defense, a veteran group that was supposed to be a solid unit, proved their worth against the Broncos. They only allowed one touchdown and that didn’t come until the Rebels led 28-6 and there was only 4:26 to go in the game
“Our defense played physical, really hit, and ran to the ball,” Freeze said, obviously pleased with the overall performance against a good offense such as Boise State has.
The Broncos still mounted some totals, but it is on the scoreboard where things are the most important. BSU had 399 yards of total offense – 135 on the ground and 264 through the air. They had 26 first downs to the Rebels’ 22.
Mike Hilton led the Rebels with nine tackles, eight of them solos.
Senquez Golson had eight tackles, all solos, and an interception.
“I’m real proud of him how he’s matured and transitioned with our core values,” Freeze said of Golson, the senior from Pascagoula. “He had a phenomenal game, and he’s trying to be a leader. He’s very important to us.”
Robert Nkemdiche, in on some key plays but with only with three tackles to his credit, said he was happy with the way the defense performed in his hometown.
“The defense played great,” the sophomore said. “We all played great. We go off our defense. The offense has a lot of new guys. They’re going to pick it up eventually. They have to get used to each other and get a feel for each other. We worked hard all summer to make sure we were good in the fourth quarter.”
Nkemdiche gave a lot of credit to Boise State. He said they can play in the Southeastern Conference and compete.
“Boise State is like a SEC team,” he said. “They bring it on every play and we couldn’t relax.”
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