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Camurati: Rebel Nation Weeps with Treadwell

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Heartbroken isn’t a strong enough word to cover the emotional state of Rebel nation this week.
After a gut-punching loss to LSU on the road just a week ago, Ole Miss suffered its second of the season Saturday against Auburn and lost one of its stars in the process.
During the final moments of the game, sophomore Laquon Treadwell sprinted toward the end zone for the touchdown to put the Rebels on top, but the play ended with something far worse than an interception as the receiver stayed down, writhing in pain while his offensive line celebrated his successes.
IMG_6010Players rushed to their fallen brother’s side, and some knelt down near Treadwell and prayed. Coach Hugh Freeze was visibly upset, not because of the loss of a player, but because of an injury to someone he sees as one of his own children. Quarterback Bo Wallace extended a hand to the underclassmen not an hour after the pair celebrated Wallace’s first rushing touchdown of the season.
As Treadwell was carted off the field, the announcement that the touchdown was ruled a fumble came across the speakers, and I knew by the devastation on his face that the pain of not making the play was far worse for No. 1 than the broken leg and dislocated ankle ever could be.
I couldn’t stop myself from crying at that moment, mere feet from the fall, but it wasn’t because I knew a loss was only seconds away. I cried because I felt for Treadwell. We all did.
Football is a team sport, and the fans become an integral part of that team. Wins and losses would come just the same in an empty stadium with no one cheering, but the undying encouragement from the thousands seated around you gives a waning player the energy to get back up and take a hit one more time.
IMG_5689In my first season covering any sport, I have watched the Rebels soar higher than I’ve seen in my lifetime, exceeding all expectations for this season and even many dreams. I was a part of the legendary Alabama win where fans took the goal posts far away from Vaught-Hemingway, and I am now part of a crushing loss that will forever be a dark spot in the heart of Rebel nation.
The week before, I sadly drove the short way back to my hotel in Baton Rouge, but in the aftermath of the game, I knew the Bayou Bengals simply got the job done. But against Auburn, the Rebels solidly earned a win — the scoreboard just doesn’t agree.
On Sunday, we learned about the Auburn scoring drive with 12 men on the field. We saw the horrific editorial judgment by the Opelika-Auburn News, plastering Treadwell’s injury across the front page, which unfortunately shows that despite the injury, he maintained control of the ball while touching down in the end zone.
Today is a new day, but every Rebel fan can still feel the pain of the loss we don’t deserve. The SEC or NCAA will probably release an apology to us about the missed call, but there’s no changing the L to a W and there’s no erasing the second loss to maintain playoff eligibility.
Ole Miss has three more regular season games against Presbyterian, Arkansas and Mississippi State, along with a chance to still finish with one of the best records in school history, but our hopes of moving into a playoff spot and possibly national championship contention shattered Saturday night with the loss that shouldn’t be.
Get well soon cards for Treadwell may be mailed to:
Manning Center
Attention: Laquon Treadwell
1810 Manning Way
University, MS 38677
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Amelia Camurati is managing editor of HottyToddy.com and can be reached at amelia.camurati@hottytoddy.com.

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