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Vassallo: What a Difference a Year (and a Defense) Makes

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One year ago, the Ole Miss Rebels through 10 games were 7-3, having scored 345 points and had yielded 250. Missouri and Mississippi State awaited, two games the Rebs would lose only scoring a combined 20 points (10 in each game).
Enter 2014: Ole Miss is now 8-2 through 10 games, having scored 334 points (sound similar?), but only yielding 119 points, a difference of 13 points per game. The defense without a doubt has made all the difference in the world this time around. This year, Arkansas and Mississippi State are on the horizon for the final two match-ups.
What has to happen this time to get a different ending to another very good season? To start, the Rebs need “to air it out” and plan on two high scoring contests with our D holding its own in both. Mississippi State has given up 202 points in their 10 games thus far, while Arkansas is close behind giving up 222. If the Rebs can score in the 30s or close, there is an excellent chance both games can be won.
In other words, this time around, we don’t need to take our foot off the gas.
Teams that attempt to sit on leads or take an overly conservative approach into a key game usually lose. Yesterday, I heard an announcer describing how “tentative” Mississippi State appeared in their loss to Alabama. While watching the game Saturday, I had this same exact feeling. Bama had a great deal to do with this, however, State did as well — maybe even more so.
Arkansas presents a major road challenge, equal to the LSU game just weeks ago. Our defense delivered that evening, and could our offense had done likewise, we would be 9-1 presently. The challenges our offense faced that evening were monumental, and if we can apply the lessons we learned that night to Fayetteville, it could be another story altogether.
This Ole Miss team is exciting to watch. It’s no wonder CBS has selected the Rebs for their final two primetime games. I have all the confidence in the world that our coaches and team will deliver championship performances in this stretch run. There is simply too much talent to do anything other.
And the fact we’ve been in a similar situation as recently as last year, the odds are very good for advancing up the SEC ladder. This is one time I’m hoping that the LV forecast is valid!


Steve-Vassallo-Photo-Oct-20131-150x150Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. In addition, he is a certified economic and community developer and currently, a highly successful leader in the real estate business with Premier Properties of Oxford.You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.

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