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October 26, 2013

Notes: New faces on Rebels' defensive line

Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace meets with the media following Saturday's 59-14 win over Idaho.

OXFORD, Miss. -- John Youngblood made his first career start for Ole Miss Saturday night in the Rebels' 59-14 win over Idaho.

The redshirt freshman defensive end was part of a revamped defensive line the Rebels employed in the wake of multiple injuries over the past few weeks.

Youngblood and junior college transfer Lavon Hooks joined Bryon Bennett and Cameron Whigham up front against Idaho. Ole Miss was without defensive ends C.J. Johnson (out for the season with an ankle injury) and Robert Nkemdiche (hamstring, possibly due back Nov. 9). Defensive tackle Carlton Martin did not play Saturday, while Issac Gross played but appeared to be limited.

Linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche dressed but did not play Saturday. Nkemdiche was banged up in the fourth quarter of the Rebels' 27-24 win over LSU a week ago. Serderius Bryant returned to action Saturday for the first time since suffering a concussion in the fourth quarter of the Rebels' 41-38 loss to Texas A&M two weeks ago. Mike Marry and Keith Lewis started at linebacker against Idaho.

Cornerback Mike Hilton sat out for the second straight week. Hilton suffered a hamstring injury against Texas A&M. Cornerback Senquez Golson, who was suspended for a violation of team rules last week, returned to action against Idaho. Charles Sawyer and Derrick Jones started at cornerback for Ole Miss Saturday, with Trae Elston, Cody Prewitt and Antonio Conner rounding out the first-unit secondary.

HOLDER HANDLES PUNTS: With Jeff Scott out again this week and Korvic Neat muffing a punt last week, Jordan Holder stepped up to handle them against Idaho.

The punt returns were uneventful, and that was just fine for Ole Miss. Holder returned the first one four yards and then called fair catch on the other six punts without incident.

"I had a few butterflies going with the first one, and I just wanted to return one and get it out of my system," Holder said. "After that I got it out of my system and let my instincts take over… We had the game going like we wanted to, and it was a comfort thing because I hadn't done it in a while. If I"m in there again, I'm good and feel good about it."

It was the first time Holder had caught punts since high school. He found out Wednesday he'd get the role against the Vandals.

"I took extra reps ion practice," Holder said. "It's a whole different punt at this level, the last time I did it in a game they bounced before they got to me."

Idaho punter Austin Rehkow gave Holder quality reps, averaging 50.1 yards on his seven punts.

"He was very good, he was up there," Holder said. "It was good to catch them from someone like that. It was fun."

DODSON MAKES A SPLASH: Freshman running back Mark Dodson Jr., got the first carries of his college career Saturday, gaining 57 yards on seven rushes.

"I thought (Dodson) showed some explosion and physical runs," Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said. "I thought Kailo (Moore) showed some really good things on our swing routes. We think both of them are really good players."

Moore had five carries for nine yards and added three receptions for 22 yards Saturday. Sophomore I'Tavius Mathers had 14 carries for 138 yards and a touchdown while fellow sophomore Jaylen Walton had 11 carries for 86 yards and two TDs.

OXFORD VISITORS BUREAU: Ole Miss entertained one official visitor this weekend, showing the town and program to Greenville (Rose), N.C., five-star strong-side defensive end Kentavius Street.

Street will spend next weekend at Florida State for the Seminoles' showdown with Miami. He's also considering LSU, Miami and North Carolina State.

Street is ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 16 overall prospect and the No. 2 strong-side defensive end.

"Street is learning like the rest at his position and doesn't have a ton of pass-rushing technique at this stage, so the words 'raw talent' could certainly be used here. He has a high motor and when he disengages, well, he is dominant, but he needs work and the right defensive line coach and system will be key," Rivals.com recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said.

Street arrived in Oxford Friday afternoon. He will leave early Sunday afternoon after attending church services with the Rebels' team.

Among the unofficial visitors in Oxford Saturday were commitments Tyler Putman and Gary Wunderlich; 2015 junior quarterback Gardner Minshew of Brandon, Miss.; and 2015 running back Darrell Henderson of Batesville (South Panola), Miss.

REBEL RAMBLINGS: Ole Miss opened its first offensive series Saturday with four wide receivers _ Holder, Donte Moncrief, Vince Sanders and Ja-Mes Logan _ and running back Jaylen Walton joining Bo Wallace and the offensive line. …Freshman offensive guard Austin Golson suffered bruised ribs in the second quarter but returned to the game in the second half. ...Freeze said Sawyer and defensive tackle Woodrow Hamilton suffered minor injuries but nothing that appeared to be serious. ...Ole Miss finished with season highs in total yards (572) and rushing yards (292). It was the most total yards in the Freeze era. ...Senior Ja-Mes Logan had six catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns. It was his first career multi-touchdown game and his second career 100-yard receiving game. ...Senior quarterback Barry Brunetti was 7-for-7 passing for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Brunetti now has five touchdown passes in his last 13 attempts. ...Junior wide receiver Collins Moore caught his first touchdown pass, a 35-yarder from Brunetti, in teh fourth quarter. ...Junior kicker Andrew Fletcher saw his first career action, converting a fourth-quarter PAT.

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