September 12, 2014

Hugh Freeze has firsthand knowledge of the Sun Belt Conference, having coached at Arkansas State in 2011 before moving on to Mississippi.

That's why he's not taking anything for granted when No. 14 Ole Miss (2-0) hosts Louisiana-Lafayette (1-1) on Saturday.

''There's no question in my mind the bull's-eye that will be on our chest for this week with the group from Lafayette will be huge,'' Freeze said. ''We expect to get their best shot and we have to be prepared for it.''

Ole Miss has had a relatively easy first two weeks of the season, pulling away for a 35-13 victory against Boise State in the season opener before last week's 41-3 win over Vanderbilt.

Louisiana-Lafayette was picked to win the Sun Belt Conference by the league's coaches during the preseason, but suffered a 48-20 nonconference loss to Louisiana Tech last weekend.

''We're ready to get back to basics,'' Hudspeth said. ''To me, that's what you do when you lose a game like this. We're confident in our players and what we're doing.''

Hudspeth is a native of Louisville, Mississippi, and was the passing game coordinator and receivers coach at Mississippi State in 2009 and 2010.

He said there isn't much time to pout about the Louisiana Tech loss because the Rebels present an even bigger challenge.

''They're deep, they're fast and they're athletic,'' Hudspeth said. ''(The defense) runs to the ball like a pack of wolves. They're impressive.''

Hudspeth also had high praise for Ole Miss senior quarterback Bo Wallace, who threw for 320 yards and a touchdown against Vanderbilt.

''I'm just relaxing and playing ball,'' Wallace said. ''I don't think it's the best I've ever played or anything like that. I'm just trying to put points up and trying to win games.''


Things to watch in Ole Miss' home opener against Louisiana-Lafayette:

MISSISSIPPI TIES: Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze and Louisiana-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth know each other well. The two both coached in the Sun Belt in 2011 when Freeze was at Arkansas State, with Freeze's team taking a 30-21 victory in their only meeting. Hudspeth is a native of Louisville, Mississippi, and was an assistant coach at Mississippi State in 2009 and 2010. He has 15 players on his roster for the Magnolia State.

HIGH RANKING: Ole Miss has rolled through its first two weeks without much of a challenge, rising to No. 14 in the most recent Associated Press poll. That's the highest ranking for the Rebels since 2009, when they were briefly ranked No. 4 early that season before losing to South Carolina.

ON BROADWAY: Louisiana-Lafayette QB Terrance Broadway is in his third season as the starter and been a very productive part of the offense. He's thrown for 40 touchdowns and run for 18 more during his career. Said Freeze: ''Their quarterback is very talented, and they have talent around him with receivers and running backs and offensive line.''

BO'S BIG GAME: Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace had a big game against Vanderbilt, completing 23 of 30 passes for 320 yards and a touchdown. He also had no turnovers, which was a big improvement from the Boise State game, when he threw three interceptions. Wallace has completed at least seven passes to five different receivers, including Cody Core, who has caught eight passes for 195 yards and three touchdowns.

STOUT DEFENSE: The Ole Miss defense has been terrific through two games, allowing just 16 total points, including only one touchdown. That mark ranks fifth nationally and second in the Southeastern Conference. The Rebels have been especially good in the secondary, with five interceptions.


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