Serderius Bryant

Ole Miss loses Denzel Nkemdiche for rest of 2014

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Ole Miss is no longer undefeated, but certainly not because of the play of the defense. The Rebels, however, will move on without one of their land sharks. Ole Miss linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche will miss the rest of the 2014 season after breaking his ankle Saturday night against LSU.

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze confirmed to ESPN.com on Monday Nkemdiche underwent ankle surgery on Sunday. The rehab process will keep him out for the rest of the regular season, although his potential status for any bowl game is unconfirmed at this time. Nkemdiche, listed as a co-starter on the Ole Miss depth chart, will be replaced on a full-time basis by Serderius Bryant as Ole Miss plays on.

A number of players on the Ole Miss defense were beat up by LSU in a physical battle in Baton Rouge. Fortunately for Ole Miss, no other injuries to players appear to be serious enough to cost anyone any playing time at the moment.

Ole Miss will host Auburn this week in one of many critical SEC West battles remaining on the conference schedule this season. A loss could drop Ole Miss or Auburn from the College Football Playoff discussion.

Halftime: Ole Miss, Boise State combine for six interceptions

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Boise State is showing to be a program that will not be intimidated by a rising program in the SEC, but the Broncos are trailing Ole Miss at the half in Atlanta in the first game in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff. Ole Miss is leading a defensive (and at times ugly) showdown, 7-3.

The Rebels have forced a trio of turnovers by intercepting three passes from Boise State quarterback Grant Hedrick, and the defense has been pressuring the Boise State signal-caller for much of the half. This is to be expected with the talent Ole Miss has on the defensive line. The Broncos have also been managing to run the football against Ole Miss but cannot break many big plays. Fortunately for Boise State, the Broncos have a defense that is holding Ole Miss down and not allowing the game to get away from them.

Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace has also been intercepted twice in the first half and the Rebels have failed to convert a third down attempt (they did convert one fourth down attempt). Ole Miss took a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Wallace to Cody Core. The Broncos had a chance to tie things up but the Ole Miss defense stuffed Boise running back Jay Ajayi a couple of yards from the end zone on the corner. The Broncos settled for a field goal.

There were a number of bad penalties by both sides in the first half, but Ole Miss really racked up the penalty yardage. Both teams took some bad penalties in the first half, including Serderius Bryant of Old Miss for his hit on Hedrick. The targeting ejection was upheld following the mandatory video review, giving us the second targeting ejection of the season. The Rebels have also jumped to a false start more times than any team probably should.

This should be a good defensive battle in the second half as well. If Ole Miss cannot start flexing some muscle on offense, then Boise State will continue to hang around, and that would not be advisable for the Rebels.

Ole Miss suspends Denzel Nkemdiche for Boise State opener

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We knew already  Ole Miss had suspended Denzel Nkemdiche from the team while a legal issue is sorted out. Now we know that suspension will carry over to the season opener for the Rebels against Boise State.

As spring practice opened in Oxford, Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze addressed Nkemdiche’s status with the team. Nkemdiche will sit out the first game of the season against Boise State.

“(Nkemdiche) will not be with us this spring,” Freeze confirmed. “He is still suspended from the team… He will be suspended at least for the first game next year. I’m hoping he can really learn from the mistakes that have been made and get back to being who he can be. He’s a good kid. It’s never fun when your kids make mistakes.”

Freeze also confirmed Serderius Bryant is also suspended from the team but will continue to practice. Freeze said Bryant will have some community service to do to help regain his position with the team moving forward, and part of that includes giving up time on his spring break to perform some mission work. The second team All-SEC linebacker was arrested for disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace at the same time as Nkemdiche. For now, Freeze has not determined if Bryant will miss the season opener as well, but he left the door open for that as a realistic possibility.

“He has a lot of things he has to do to be in good standing before the first ball game,” Freeze said about Bryant. “It could involve some being suspended, also, depending on how the rest of his stuff goes.”

On day of upsets, Texas A&M benefits with wild win

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On a day full of upsets around college football, Texas A&M managed to avoid an upset bid from Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi. Josh Lambo‘s short field goal as time expired gave Texas A&M a wild 41-38 victory. The win paired with some losses around the country should help the Aggies move up in the rankings on Sunday.

A game short on scoring in the first half, or at least shorter than expected, turned in a second half that saw momentum swing back and forth. Things really got crazy in the fourth quarter. Texas A&M extended their four-point lead with a field goal to open the fourth quarter, but Ole Miss quickly responded with a quick seven-play, 51-yard touchdown drive capped by a Barry Burnetti touchdown pass to Evan Engram from nine yards out. It was starting quarterback Bo Wallace who tossed the next touchdown pass, this time to freshman Laquon Treadwell, from just inside the red zone roughly 90 seconds later, capitalizing on a fumble by Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. Manziel and Texas A&M had an answer though, driving 75 yards on seven plays for a touchdown, served up by the speedy feet of Trey Williams for a nine-yard score.

Ole Miss and Texas A&M continued to exchange blows, first with Wallace connecting with Jaylen Walton for a 50-yard touchdown, and then with Manziel leading the Aggies down field for a six-yard touchdown run to cap a 75-yard drive. Manziel would lead the game-winning drive after Ole Miss went three-and-out with three incomplete passes to leave TexasA&M with more than enough time. Manziel rushed for 25 yards and completed a 14-yard pass to move the Aggies down to the Ole Miss 32-yard line and running backs Ben Malena and Tra Carson helped set-up the game-winning field goal attempt by Lambo from the Ole Miss 15-yard line.

Manziel did not have a touchdown pass, but he did run for two and put up big numbers. For the fourth time in his career Manziel passed for 300 yards (346) and rushed for 100 yards (124). That is the most times that has happened in FBS history.

The Aggies are now 5-1 and still looking good in the SEC West picture, although they will need some help if they are to get by Alabama in the standings to earn a trip to Atlanta at the end of the season. For the Aggies, the next few weeks should result in wins against Auburn, Vanderbilt and UTEP (non-conference, of course), and likely against Mississippi State. That would set up a 9-1 Texas A&M team to hit the road for their final two games at LSU and surprisingly strong Missouri. The Aggies should also be moving up in the rankings with the upsets that were occurring in other games. Stanford and Georgia losing should allow Texas A&M to move up at least two spots when the new polls are released, and the BCS standings are coming shortly.

Ole Miss linebacker and leading tackler Serderius Bryant had to be taken off the field on a stretcher after a tough collision with Manziel on a fourth down run that went for a first down. Earlier in the game, Ole Miss lost Robert Nkemdiche as well to a strained hamstring suffered while chasing Manziel.