Ole Miss Rebels

Coaches rally against recent rule change regarding downfield linemen


Paranoia. Paranoia. Everyone is out to get the spread teams.

Last year, Alabama’s Nick Saban and Arkansas’ Bret Bielema were advocates of slowing down the game by changing the defensive substitution rules.

The NCAA Rules Committee shelved the discussion after numerous coaches came out publicly denouncing the potential rule change.

However, the NCAA did pass a rule last week that shortens the distance an offensive linemen is allowed to be downfield when a pass is in the air. The new rule states an offensive lineman cannot be more than a yard beyond the line of scrimmage during a passing play.

At least four prominent coaches that utilize spread offenses came out publicly and stated the change is merely an overreaction by the rules committee.

“I just want ’em to enforce the rule they have,” Arizona State head coach Todd Graham told USA TODAY‘s George Schroeder. “You’re not supposed to be more than 3 yards downfield. They need to enforce that.”

It’s not uncommon to see an offensive lineman five yards or more downfield due to the prevalence of packaged plays at the collegiate level. Quarterbacks are often given the option to hand the ball off, run or pass the football in a single play. Some signal-callers are adept at waiting until the last second before they uncork a pass. When that happens, there is usually an offensive lineman too far downfield, yet it’s rarely called.

Over the next two weeks, detractors of the rule change can provide comments to the rules committee. The NCAA’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel will then consider to move forward or not with the rule change on March 5.

“This is the second year in a row I’ll be involved in (pushing back against a proposal),” Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze told Schroeder. “I’m certainly not looking for things. If my understanding is correct, the reason they are proposing the rule change is based on a small sample size of plays that the (rules) committee viewed. In those plays, flags should have been thrown. … I think it’s a bad precedent to start changing rules of our game because things that were fouls weren’t called. I want to be clear: I don’t think we should be allowed to have linemen running free downfield (on pass plays). But the rule is a good rule.”

Graham and Freeze are joined by Auburn’s Gus Malzahn and Baylor’s Art Briles in asking the rule be withdrawn from consideration.

Gary Patterson rules RB B.J. Catalon out for Peach Bowl


Despite not playing in the final four games of the season for the TCU Horned Frogs, running back B.J. Catalon still leads the team with 10 rushing touchdowns. It’s a total Catalon won’t be able to increase at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

TCU head coach Gary Patterson stated Catalon won’t play in the bowl game due to an inability to get him fully ready for the contest.

Prior to Catalon’s injury, the running back gained 493 yards through the team’s first eight games. Since his departure from the lineup, junior Aaron Green effectively took over as the team’s top rusher. During those final four games, Green ran for over 100 yards three times and averaged 119 yards per game.

With Catalon out of the lineup, Green’s contributions during the bowl game will be vital to TCU’s success.

Ole Miss owns one of the nation’s most aggressive defensive fronts. TCU’s ability to run the ball effectively will take pressure off of quarterback Trevone Boykin. If the Rebels can effectively slow Green then they’ll be able to pin their ears back to rush the passer, which is where their defensive line truly excels.

Woo pig sooie! Arkansas wins second-straight contest with victory over No. 8 Ole Miss


Don’t look now, but the Arkansas Razorbacks are one of the hottest teams in the country.

After a 4-5 start to the season, Bret Bielema‘s squad has won two in a row against a pair of ranked SEC West opponents. Arkansas latest victory came courtesy of a 30-0 stomping of the No. 8 Ole Miss Rebels.

Bielema told ESPN after the contest he believes his team can play with anyone. And that’s clearly the case at the moment.

Saturday’s effort was Arkansas’ second straight shutout victory. The Razorbacks officially beat LSU and Ole Miss by a combined score of 47-0.

The win also makes Arkansas bowl eligible at 6-5 overall. Every team in the SEC West is now eligible to go to a bowl game.

Ole Miss was dominated at every level, and the Rebels are no longer in position to possibly claim an SEC West crown or play in a New Year’s bowl. After starting the season 7-0, including a victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide, Ole Miss lost three of their last four games.

Arkansas’s formula against Ole Miss was simple. The Razorbacks ran the ball 50 times for 159 yards and held an advantage in time of possession by eight minutes. Arkansas’ defense also forced six turnovers, including a 100-yard pick-6 by Rohan Gaines.

The Razorbacks will have opportunity to ruin another season next weekend when they face the No. 20 Missouri Tigers. Another impressive effort by Arkansas could knock Missouri out of the SEC championship game as the representative from the SEC East.

The way Bielema’s squad is currently playing, Missouri better be prepared or the Tigers will find themselves watching the SEC Championship game instead of playing in it.

Arkansas Razorbacks dominate first half against No. 8 Ole Miss Rebels


Mississippi’s landshark defense has lost some of its bite in recent weeks.

The Arkansas Razorbacks lead the No. 8 Ole Miss Rebels 17-0 at halftime. The Razorbacks game plan has been simple. They’ve ran the football effectively and overwhelmed Ole Miss at the point of attack.

Despite the rankings, Arkansas’ lead shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. The Razorbacks beat LSU by the same score last week. And Bret Bielema‘s squad is a stronger opponent than its 5-5 record indicates.

Arkansas’ running attack has proven to be too much for Ole Miss’ talented defense. The Razorbacks ran for 103 rushing yards compared to Ole Miss’ 12 yards. And Arkansas has held the ball nine minutes longer than the Rebels.

The Rebels defense also struggled to cover Arkansas’ talented tight ends. Drew Morgan and Hunter Henry combined to catch five passes for 81 yards.

Meanwhile, Ole Miss had to deal with an injury to quarterback Bo Wallace. Wallace’s ability to play and do so effectively in the second half could have a drastic effect on Ole Miss’ chances to make a comeback. Wallace left the game due to a leg injury before he returned. But a lack of mobility will severely hamper his game if he comes out of the half and continues to lead the Rebels’ offense.

With Wallace hampered and a struggling defense, Arkansas will continue to pound the ball during the second half. Another loss by Ole Miss will take them completely out of the conversation to make a New Year’s bowl game.

Laquon Treadwell’s injury overshadows Auburn’s 35-31 victory over Ole Miss


The College Football Playoff picture became much clearer after the No. 3 Auburn Tigers’ 35-31 victory over the No. 4 Ole Miss Rebels.

It came at a steep price.

One of the best games of the season was marred by a gruesome injury to one of college football’s best wide receivers.

Auburn trailed by four points as the Tigers began a drive on their 48-yard line with 3:22 to play in the game. The team was able to move the ball to Auburn’s 20-yard line before it faced its first third-down play of the drive. Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace completed a quick screen pass to sophomore wide receiver Laquon Treadwell.

The wide receiver raced toward the end zone and was pulled down from behind as he crossed the goal line. The play was initially ruled a touchdown to give the Rebels the lead.

Unfortunately, Treadwell suffered a major injury to his left leg as it got caught under the body of Auburn linebacker Kris Frost. Treadwell’s injury required an air-cast before he was carted off the field.

Insult was added to injury when the officials reviewed the play and found Treadwell fumbled the football just prior to it breaking the goal line. Auburn recovered the ball in the end zone.

An outpouring of well wishes overtook social media upon seeing Treadwell’s injury.

Despite the end result, Auburn should be credited with making a strong effort and a hustle play to secure the eventual victory.

The pivotal matchup during the contest was Auburn’s explosive offense against Ole Miss’ “Landshark” defense. Despite not firing on all cylinders, Auburn still amassed 502 total yards while facing one of the nation’s elite defenses.

Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall made plays when the team needed them the most. The dual-threat quarterback was 15-of-22 passing for 254 yards and a pair of touchdown completions. Marshall also added two touchdowns in goal-to-go situations.

Wide receiver Sammie Coates and running back Cameron Artis-Payne contributed heavily as well. Coates is a big and athletic target for Marshall to simply throw the ball up and allow him to come down with it. The wide receiver did just that against Ole Miss with five catches for 122 yards. Meanwhile, Artis-Payne continues to amass big yardage via the ground attack. The running back added 138 yards.

These strong performance allowed the college football landscape to sort itself out to a degree.

SEC West rivals were expected to beat up on one another, and one or two of those three teams in the initial top four of the College Football Playoff would eventually fall out of contention. That team appears to be Ole Miss, while it opens the door for a team from another conference to step into the vacated spot.