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October 14, 2013
Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace meets with the media Monday.
OXFORD, Miss. -- Ole Miss lost more than a football game Saturday night when Texas A&M escaped with a 41-38 win over the Rebels.
Injuries piled up in the Ole Miss training room throughout and after the game, so much so that Hugh Freeze needed to pull a sheet out of his jacket pocket Monday just to remember them all.
"We're a beat-up football team right now," Freeze said.
That's putting it mildly. Ole Miss (3-3 overall, 1-3 in the Southeastern Conference) entertains No. 6 LSU (6-1, 3-1) Saturday at 6 p.m., and unless things change drastically in the next five days, the Rebels will do so without about half of its starting defense.
Defensive end Robert Nkemdiche (hamstring), linebacker Serderius Bryant (concussion), running back Jeff Scott (thigh bruise), defensive end/special teams ace Temario Strong (neck), cornerback Mike Hilton (hamstring), quarterback Barry Brunetti (shoulder), safety Chief Brown (ankle) and defensive tackle Issac Gross (shoulder) all had to leave during the loss to the Aggies.
"We've got a laundry list and already with (offensive guard) Aaron Morris (torn ACL suffered in season-opening win at Vanderbilt), we're certainly reeling a bit," Freeze said. "We called upon some folks in the fourth quarter that hadn't been in that environment before and we put some offensive linemen in on the field goal attempt just to try to piecemeal some things together.
"It's part of the game. You sure hate it for the kids and you fear because of our depth issues that we won't be able to adequately represent the progress that we're making against these top teams. We won't blink. We'll get the ones we have ready so that they can play and they'll play with passion for our university Saturday evening."
Freeze said "most all" the injured players will miss Saturday's game against LSU, a list that will also include defensive ends Carlos Thompson and C.J. Johnson, neither of whom played against Texas A&M.
Brunetti, who threw two touchdown passes against Texas A&M, could play, Freeze said. Gross will try to play as well, though his effectiveness could be limited.
"We have a challenge ahead of us," Freeze said.
Freeze said Nkemdiche is out until at least the Rebels' date against Arkansas Nov. 9. Freeze said the Rebels are so depleted on the defensive line that they'll likely move backup center Ethan Hutson to defense for the time being.
ELSTON HOPING FOR RULES CHANGE: Ole Miss safety Trae Elston was ejected from the Rebels' loss to Texas A&M - for just a minute or so.
Elston was flagged and ejected for targeting. The ejection was overruled upon review, though the penalty was upheld by rule.
"I knew when I hit him the crowd got excited and then it died on me, so I knew something bad was going to happen," Elston said. "That's the first thing I was thinking. I just got a little frustrated.
"They say if the rule is overturned then that penalty will get pulled back. That's what I heard, but I don't know for sure."
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze meets with the media Monday.
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