Playing on a “neutral field” in the South didn’t really help Boise State as they enter a new era, probably one with less success than before. The Broncos were routed 35-13 by Ole Miss in the Georgia Dome, despite Bo Wallace not having the most accurate of performances.
Still, Wallace did throw for 387 yards and four touchdown passes to help keep minds off of his three interceptions, showing that his tendency to make mistakes entering his senior year hasn’t gone away or improved. Luckily for him, Grant Hedrick, another senior, couldn’t do much better for Boise State. In fact, he did a lot worse, throwing just one touchdown pass while seeing four of his being intercepted.
Hedrick became the starter only midway through last season, and he didn’t make Bryan Harsin’s debut as a head coach for the Broncos any easier. Thanks to Jay Ajayi (86 yards, 20 carries), Boise State did have some traction on the ground with a total of 135 rushing yards, but overall this seemed like two teams from completely different categories which in no way should be playing against each other.
Ole Miss, unlike last season, showed some real promise on defense. Not just the interceptions, but keeping Boise State at under 400 yards of offense despite giving them more than 36 minutes with the ball (which has something to do with Wallace not eliminating his mistakes). Both teams combined to throw six interceptions in the first half, which hasn’t happened since an Indiana-Iowa game back in 2009.
Things actually only fell apart for the Broncos in the fourth quarter. Ole Miss did score first as Wallace connected with Cody Core for a 30-yard touchdown, but Boise State have a pretty solid defense, holding Ole Miss to 0 points through the second and third quarter, meanwhile scoring a field goal in each period. The fourth quarter was completely Rebel-owned, as Ole Miss scored three consecutive touchdowns, putting the game to bed before Hedrick finally managed to pull off a touchdown scoring drive.
Despite the impressive recruiting and the promise brought by Hugh Freeze, it does seem like Ole Miss are still far away from being able to compete for the SEC West title, unless the talk of Alabama and LSU being quite inferior to past versions are true. This defense can cause a lot of problems to good teams, but for a group that relies so heavily on the abilities of its quarterback, the future doesn’t seem too bright with Bo Wallace unable to shake off his silly mistakes.
Ole Miss are ranked #18 going into the new season, their highest since 2009. They have about a month before the road starts getting extremely difficult (Alabama, at Texas A&M, at LSU, Auburn) so whatever Freeze so in his quarterback and offense in this loss and knows he can fix, he better get to it, or this will be another season of unrealized potential, or simply ending up being a bit too hyped from the get go.