Monday, March 20, 2023

5 Things to Watch in the Ole Miss-Boise State Football Opener in Atlanta

Rebel HelmetsAs the 2014 football season begins on Thursday, the Ole Miss Rebels travel to Atlanta, Georgia to face the Boise State Broncos. For the discerning fan, here are five things to what to watch for when the Rebels take on the Broncos:
1.  Living up to the preseason hype
With the Rebels ranked 18 in one recent Associated Press (AP) poll, expectations are high in Oxford. Hugh Freeze is beginning year three at the helm of the Rebels, and the team has returning talent on both sides of the ball.  Throughout the preseason, Ole Miss has been mentioned as an under-the-radar team to win the competitive SEC Western Division. Can the Rebels meet the high expectations set for them?
2. Replacing Moncrief
Now that last season’s leading receiver Donte Moncrief has gone to the NFL, the Rebels are looking for sophomore receiver Laquon Treadwell to fill Moncrief’s shoes. The 6’2″ 229 lb. Treadwell will be Ole Miss’s primary receiving target. Also, the Rebels have senior Vince Sanders on the outside.
Another question the Rebels face in the receiving core is who will step up and be a reliable third option for quarterback Bo Wallace? Sophomore wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo will be expected to solidfy the third receiver spot in Thursday’s game, but there is a chance for freshmen Dayall Harris to make an impact, too. In an interview with Parish Alford posted on, Vince Sanders reiterated that the receiving core has the opportunity to be a good group.
“Once everybody gets comfortable with the offense we’ll be playing even better,” Sanders said.
3. Bo Wallace’s Final Season
Senior quarterback Bo Wallace will lead the Rebels for one final season, returning as the SEC’s most experienced quarterback with 26 starts. Wallace also enters the season with 6,340 yards passing and 40 touchdowns. With another successful year, Wallace could become the most decorated quarterback in Ole Miss history, surpassing some of Eli Manning’s personal records.
“It definitely motivates me,” Wallace said in an AP interview.
One thing that will aid Wallace in his pursuit of Manning’s records and the team’s success is his improved arm strength. Wallace who had surgery in 2012, says he finally feels back to normal after having a full off-season to strengthen his shoulder.
Ole Miss equipment manager Lee Plaxico said that he is excited to watch Bo play this year.  “He is healthy and 100 percent,” said Plaxico.
4. Big expectations for the Ole Miss defense
The Ole Miss defense returns nine of its 11 starters from last year’s team. This includes Deterrian Shackelford who was granted a sixth year by the NCAA because of previous injuries. Also returning is defensive end C.J. Johnson who comes back from an ankle injury that sidelined him most of last season.  He’s expected to be a major asset for the defensive line, one that the SEC Network’s Booger McFarland predicted (video) will be the SEC’s best. Preseason All-American safety Cody Prewitt also returns in the secondary.
5. Freshmen stars ready for sophomore season
The 2013 freshman class now has a year of experience.  As sophomores, the team and fans are expecting big things from them.  With defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche, offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil, wide reciever Laquon Treadwell and safety Antonio Connor now starters, the sophomores certainly have the opportunity to make an impact and achieve their goals. In an interview with Edward Aschoff, Laremy Tunsil explained that their goal has been to bring a national championship back to Oxford and said that he and his classmates want it now. If the Rebel sophomores meet their own expectations, they may lead this Ole Miss team to new heights.
This story was contributed by Ole Miss journalism students Ethan Turner and Nicole Bounds.