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Postgame notebook: Topsy-turvy second quarter

Ole Miss and Georgia combined for four turnovers in five plays as part of a second quarter in which the Bulldogs erased a 10-0 deficit to win 37-10. After outgaining Georgia 100-16 at one point in the first quarter, Ole Miss was limited to just 55 yards in the second half.
Quentin Winstine/The Daily Mississippian

ATHENS, Ga. — With Ole Miss up 10-7 in the second quarter, Georgia had the ball and the momentum after a 66-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Aaron Murray to senior wide receiver Marlon Brown. Then, Ole Miss and Georgia combined for four turnovers in the span of five plays, and while no points were scored off the turnovers, the Rebels missed out on a prime scoring opportunity after the first of the four turnovers.
At the Georgia 38, redshirt freshman linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche jarred the ball loose from Georgia freshman running back Keith Marshall, and sophomore safety Cody Prewitt recovered it for Ole Miss at the Georgia 31.
“That was exciting,” Nkemdiche said of his forced fumble. “I felt like I had to get our defense going and get that little spark we needed. We needed to get the ball, we needed turnovers and we needed a momentum shift. I took that upon myself to make plays.”
On the very next play, sophomore quarterback Bo Wallace hit sophomore wide receiver Vince Sanders for a 12-yard completion, but Georgia senior safety Bacarri Rambo knocked the ball out, and sophomore cornerback Damian Swann returned it 53 yards to the Ole Miss 30.
“In this league, it’s turnovers,” Wallace said. “That’s what it is. If we put the ball in right there, then we have a lot of momentum, and we’re looking really good. But you can’t really put it on that one play.”
Ole Miss got the ball right back when Nkemdiche forced his second fumble of the game, his team-leading fourth of the season, which junior defensive end Cameron Whigham recovered at the Ole Miss 12.
However, the Rebels returned the favor as Wallace underthrew senior tight end Jamal Mosley, and Georgia junior linebacker Alec Ogletree intercepted the pass at the Georgia 49.
“Every game that we have lost, we have not taken care of the ball,” head coach Hugh Freeze said. “We survived that, I believe, by getting a turnover ourselves, then we give it right back to them.”
Walking wounded
Sophomore cornerback Senquez Golson (concussion) and senior cornerback Wesley Pendleton (ankle) missed the game, which forced junior Dehendret Collins to move from huskie to corner opposite junior Charles Sawyer. Junior linebacker Mike Marry, junior offensive tackle Emmanuel McCray and junior running back Jeff Scott left the game with injuries, but all three returned. Wallace, who suffered a shoulder injury against Tulane, left the game late in the fourth quarter, but he said his shoulder is good and he could have gone back in.
“I think he was fine, and he could have gone back,” Freeze said. “We have a lot of kids hurting — bumps and bruises — and we’ll see how they are (Sunday).
Moncrief missing in action
Sophomore Donte Moncrief, who entered the game as the Rebels’ leading receiver with 39 catches for 540 yards, snapped a 14-game streak of catching at least one pass — the second game in his career in which he did not catch one. Eight different Rebels caught at least one pass, led by senior running back Randall Mackey with four catches for 23 yards.
“They were playing cover 2,” Freeze said of Georgia’s defense. “There were a couple of times we thought we could hit (Moncrief) on some in-cuts. When they are playing that, and they can take their linebackers and play the run or drop into coverage, it’s very difficult.”
Running game grounded
The Ole Miss ground game had averaged 194.4 yards per game, which ranked sixth in the SEC, but was held to just 46 yards on 29 carries. Junior running back Jeff Scott led the way with 21 yards on 13 carries, while Mackey accounted for the Rebels’ only run of more than 10 yards, an 11-yard gain.
“That was the first time we actually got manhandled a little bit,” co-offensive coordinator Dan Werner said. “We tried everything we knew. We just couldn’t get any movement on the ground. And if you don’t do that, they can play back, and we can’t throw the ball down the field either, so we got ourselves into a bind.”
Getting after Murray
The Ole Miss defense recorded five sacks in the first half, led by sophomore defensive end C.J. Johnson with 1.5 sacks. Sophomore defensive tackle Bryon Bennett, freshman defensive tackle Issac Gross and senior defensive tackle Uriah Grant each recorded a sack, while sophomore safety Cody Prewitt, the Rebels’ leading tackler with 11, also recorded half a sack. However, in the second half, Ole Miss generated zero sacks.
“I don’t think anything changed,” defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said. “I was a little disappointed in how we came out in the second half after we challenged them. I think part of that was our guys looking back to how the first half ended.”
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