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CBS Saturday showcase special for Freeze, Georgia natives

Saturday’s game against No. 7 Georgia in Athens, Ga., presents another opportunity for head coach Hugh Freeze to showcase his program on the national stage. Ten Rebels will also return home to play against their home state team.
Thomas Graning/The Daily Mississippian

Thanks to Georgia’s win over Florida and Ole Miss’ victory over Arkansas this past weekend, Saturday’s Ole Miss-Georgia game in Athens will be the 2:30 p.m. CT game on CBS. 
The time slot gives Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and the Rebels another chance to showcase the program to recruits all over the country. It’s also a time slot that means a lot to Freeze. 
“It’s an exciting one,” Freeze said. “I think our kids will be excited, and our coaching staff will be ready to go play a fine Georgia program in their home field on CBS. Growing up in the South, that was always a tradition, that 2:30 game. It’s a special time slot for SEC football, and to be playing in that Saturday against coach (Mark) Richt’s team is quite exciting for us.”
Georgia has emerged in recent years as one of the more talent-laden states in the country in terms of high school football recruits, and Freeze said that performing well in front of them is important. 
“Georgia’s such a highly recruited state, and there are so many players there that you know their eyes are going to be on this game, so I do think it’s important (to do well),” he said. “I don’t necessarily say, just like I have with any of them, that you have to go in there and pull off the win.
“I do think that it’s important that they do see that there is progress being made within our program, and there’s an opportunity for them to add to that depth to make the difference in the winning and losing.”
Looking at the current roster, the Rebels currently have 10 Georgia natives on the team, and it was easy to tell, according to Freeze, that this week and Saturday’s game are a big deal for them. The battle Ole Miss faces is keeping their emotions in check leading up to Saturday’s game.
“Some of them will have to calm down a little bit,” Freeze said. “They’re emotional kids, they’re young, and excited about going back home. They’ll have a lot of family there, a lot of friends there, brothers and sisters. We want them to do well, but you’ve still got to prepare just like any other game. 
“It’s no question that those kids, they had a little extra pep in our team meeting yesterday.”
Georgia’s offensive balance an issue
Unlike Arkansas, which is mostly a pass-first offense, Georgia has been able to find offensive success both on the ground and through the air. 
Quarterback Aaron Murray and the Bulldog passing attack rank eighth in the country in yards per passing attempt at 9.2 yards per attempt. On the ground, freshmen backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall have the Bulldogs ranked 23rd in the country in yards per carry at 5.13. 
“They’re a very difficult offense to defend because of their balance and their talent,” Freeze said. “The easy thing is you just match them personnel for personnel and count on everybody to do their exact job and fit their gap and guard their guy. 
“The problem with that is you’ve got a lot of one-on-one matchups, whether it be offensive line-defensive line, receiver-defensive back or running back-linebacker. You’ve got to feel that you can win those a lot of the times to do that.”
Injury update
It looks like Ole Miss will be without defensive back Wesley Pendleton for Saturday’s game, as the senior cornerback suffered a sprained ankle against Arkansas. 
“(I’m) very doubtful that Wesley will be able to go, got a pretty good ankle sprain,” Freeze said. 
Freeze also said that sophomore cornerback Senquez Golson is “kind of a day-to-day deal” with concussion-like symptoms. 
“He’ll have to go through the battery of tests,” Freeze said. “And then hopefully, be cleared to play, but that’d be later in the week before that’s determined. We’re optimistic.”
The Rebels and Freeze are also optimistic about junior defensive end Cameron Whigham’s chances to go Saturday. 
“He couldn’t practice (Monday) if we had practice, but he is feeling better,” Freeze said. “It’s nothing really structural; it’s more of a bone bruise-type deal. We’re real optimistic that he’ll be OK.”
Rose named SEC Special Teams Player of the Week
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - After sending Ole Miss to a 30-27 road win over Arkansas with a 31-yard field goal as time expired in Little Rock, senior kicker Bryson Rose was tabbed Southeastern Conference Special Teams Player of the Week by the league office Monday. 
Rose connected on all three of his field goal attempts against the Razorbacks, including a career-long 53-yard field goal, which marked the sixth longest in school history and second-longest by an SEC player this year. 
The Raleigh, N.C., native was also successful on all three PAT attempts and recorded four touchbacks on six kickoffs. 
Ole Miss-Vanderbilt kickoff set for 6 PM
Kickoff for the Ole Miss Rebels’ Nov. 10 home game against Vanderbilt has been set for 6 p.m. CT, the Southeastern Conference announced Monday. 
The game will be televised by ESPNU. 
Ole Miss Sports Information contributed to this report.
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