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Rebels look to win back-to-back games for first time since 2010

Ole Miss will take on UTEP, their second opponent of the season, tomorrow night in Oxford. The Rebels are coming off a season-opening win against Central Arkansas, while the Miners are looking to bounce back from a loss to Oklahoma.

After winning their first game of the season last Saturday against Central Arkansas, Ole Miss (1-0) looks to carry its momentum into tomorrow’s nonconference clash with Conference-USA member UTEP. 
The Miners of UTEP fell to No. 4 Oklahoma last Saturday 24-7 in a game that had many thinking the Miners had a chance at a major upset. They entered the fourth quarter trailing the Sooners by just three points.
“We’ve got our hands full with UTEP,” Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said in his weekly press conference Monday. “I was hopeful that I would put on the film and see a team that is maybe not playing with great passion, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Coach (Mike) Price has those kids playing with a lot of passion and heart, and they got after one of the best teams in the country last weekend.”
Ole Miss and UTEP have played just once prior to Saturday’s matchup. The Miners got a 14-7 win in the 1967 Sun Bowl in El Paso. UTEP is also the first of three Texas teams that will make their way to Oxford this season. Freeze was happy with the way the season opener went last weekend, but also said that he is hoping to see some things go differently this week compared to last Saturday.
“(I want to see) four full quarters of good execution,” Freeze said. “We played an awful second quarter really. People did their own thing. I didn’t call a very good second quarter, and (defensive coordinator) Dave (Wommack) would say the same from his side. And we didn’t make adjustments fast enough. I’d like to see us be very consistent and see disciplined football.
“Didn’t have any penalties to really speak of, so that was good and we won the turnover battle. I would like to see those continue, but really just a complete game of us not feeling like we hurt ourselves.”
The Rebels will go with sophomore Bo Wallace at quarterback for the second-straight week after he turned in a solid performance in week one. Wallace was 20-of-24 for 264 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also added 82 yards on the ground on 13 carries, one of which was a 25-yard touchdown run. 
UTEP is led by sophomore running back Nathan Jeffery, who was named C-USA Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against Oklahoma. Jeffery rushed for a career-best and school-record 177 yards on 21 carries. However, he was injured in the third quarter last week with a strained groin and has not practiced this week. 
“We’re hoping he’ll be fine,” UTEP head coach Mike Price told Bret Bloomquist of the El Paso Times. “We have until Saturday. He ran around, he got good work, we just didn’t want him making major cuts as fast as he can.”
The Miners got some good news earlier in the week when senior wide receiver Mike Edwards returned to action after sustaining a concussion against Oklahoma last Saturday. For Ole Miss, junior running back Jeff Scott, who had been suffering from a lower back injury, will return this Saturday after missing last Saturday’s season opener. The speedy back was the team’s leading rusher this past season, rushing for 529 yards and six touchdowns on 116 carries.
“(Senior running back Randall) Mackey will start,” Freeze said. “But Jeff will get in pretty quick.”
Freeze said that Scott would probably not be used in the return game because, “he still isn’t 100 percent.”
One thing Freeze and his staff mentioned throughout practice this was the size that UTEP has on their offensive line.
“Their (offensive) line is a big massive line that does a great job of being able to get on their blocks and stay with it,” defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said. “I was impressed with their offensive line. We’ve got packages we didn’t use last week that we will definitely use this week.”
The Rebels and Miners will kickoff at 6 p.m. at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and the game will be televised on Fox Sports Net. 
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