As a matter of fact, the Rebels led just 7-6 heading into the fourth quarter.
So what happened?
Cody Core said it actually happened at halftime, and then finally came to fruition in the fourth quarter.
At halftime we had a long talk,” said the junior wide receiver from Auburn High School in Auburn, Ala.
After that, as the song goes, the Rebels need a little less talk and a little more action. So that’s what happened. They reached back to their summer workouts, the effort they’d put in, the results they wanted to see from that.
“We just said at halftime that we’d stay going and finish,” Core said. “Like all summer we finished the workouts. Fourth quarter. Fourth quarter, we’d say. I feel like we pushed at the end (of the game).”
Core did his part. In the game he had four catches for 110 yards. Two of them were for touchdowns. Both of them were of the lengthy variety.
His first score was the Rebels’ first points of the season, a 30-yard pass and catch from Bo Wallace as Core put some important points on the scoreboard. Along with Andrew Fletcher’s extra point kick, that was all the Rebels would get.
Until that fourth quarter, that is.
Core’s next big moment, another beautiful pass and catch of the Wallace to Core variety, was a 76-yard touchdown play that likely put the game away with less than eight minutes to go. After Fletcher’s successful point after, Ole Miss led 28-6 at that point.
Both teams scored another touchdown, and victory was Ole Miss’ on that night in Atlanta.
“I felt really blessed,” Core said, speaking of being such an important part of the Rebels’ season opening triumph. “Me and my teammates, we worked really hard all summer for that great moment. And we topped it off with a win.”
Core said he felt like he would be ready to contribute when called upon.
“I just stayed focused throughout the camp,” he said. “We all worked hard. But I just caught a lot of balls and kept my routes real crisp. And I got the starting job.”
He said it’s been a team effort all along to get ready for this season. He and the Rebels had goals in mind as they pushed toward the Boise State game and beyond.
“We challenged each other in the weight room, in the film room, on the field, in the classroom, everywhere,” he said. “We’re always competing.”
Core said he’s improved and was actually pushed by a younger teammate to lift his game.
“I’m better at a lot of things,” he said. “To be honest, I feel like Laquon (Treadwell) pushed me a lot in the weight room and on the field. He aggravated me a lot. As a lot of people say, he’s very talkative and he gets in your head. And that’s no matter who it is. So I’d say he challenged me a lot.”
Treadwell would say things like, “You’re doing little weight. Things like that,” according to Core.
All in good fun and in an effort to help make the team better. And now they move on to Vanderbilt Saturday and a Southeastern Conference game.
“We will build on that performance, each and every day,” Core said of the win last week and practice this week. “Catching balls, looking in balls, routes, film, anything and everything to work and improve our craft.”
Same thing for him, he said. He’s focused on team, but he’s worked since summer to improve his own personal skills. He knew that was the only way he could help the 2014 Ole Miss Rebels become the team they wanted to be.
“I just kept working hard. I really didn’t see when it happened,” Core said of when he felt like his game really came into its own this summer and fall camp. “I just followed the instructions and did my thing.”
And his team has already been the beneficiary.
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