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November 9, 2013

Notes: Freeze didn't expect bowl eligibility first two years

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze addresses reporters following the Rebels' 34-24 win over Arkansas Saturday.

OXFORD, Miss -- Hugh Freeze could have spoken some revisionist history following the Rebels' 34-24 win over Arkansas.

Bowl eligible for the second straight year, a media member asked Freeze if he envisioned two postseasons when he took over the Ole Miss program less than two years ago. On his first day on the job, the Rebels were coming off a 2-10 season and didn't exactly have morale emanating through the program.

Freeze admitted this is beyond his realistic expectations back that day, as the Rebels clinched a 13th game with the win over the Razorbacks.

"If you were to look at my plan when I first came in, it was to get to a bowl in year three if I were to be truthful," Freeze said. Based off the first spring I felt like we had a lot of issues and lacked depth at a lot of places. I wasn't sure about the talent. I would say to be there the first two years is ahead of schedule. I did expect to be bowl eligible after last year."

It's also noteworthy the Rebels clinched the milestone without their best game. There was flatness and inconsistent play at times against the Hogs, but Ole Miss was the better team and pulled out the two-score victory.

"I hope it's a sign we're maturing and heading in the right direction," Freeze said.

BIELEMA STAYS POSITIVE: The scoreboard business will decide Brett Bielema's fate at Arkansas, but he's seeing positives despite the mounting losses.

The Razorbacks are 3-7 and have lost every SEC game by double digits. Arkansas is running it effectively, picking up 196 yards against the Rebels, but drives aren't being finished, and opponents are piling up points against the Hogs.

"Obviously we want wins, and it's hard to say that a 3-7 football team is in the right direction, but I think it is. It reminds me of so many different things I've seen and experienced with programs. It's going through some really dark days to get where we want to be, and I hope that day comes soon."

WALLACE PROMOTES RECEIVERS AGAIN: Earlier this season, Bo Wallace caught heat when he said he believed his receiver corps was better than the one Johnny Manziel utilizes at Texas A&M. That statement was turned into headlines and bulletin board material in Alabama.

Wallace reiterated those thoughts Saturday. He just did it more diplomatically.

"I've said all year what I think," Wallace said. "I may have caught some flak for it. I want to say it but I'm not going to say it. We'll let that go, but I think they're great players."

OXFORD VISITORS BUREAU: Ole Miss entertained a handful of prospects Saturday, including Maumelle, Ark., outside linebacker Kendall Donnerson; Brandon, Miss., Class of 2015 defensive lineman Fletcher Adams; Hernando, Miss., Class of 2015 offensive lineman Matt Wommack; and Oxford (Lafayette), Miss., Class of 2016 offensive lineman Eli Johnson.

The Rebels did not entertain any official visitors this weekend. East Mississippi Community College defensive lineman Jarran Reed is expected to take an official visit to Ole Miss next weekend when the Rebels entertain Troy.

REBEL RAMBLINGS: Ole Miss is 6-3 for the first time since 2009... Freeze is 4-0 against schools from Arkansas… Wallace passed both Jevan Snead and Archie Manning in career total offense and is now in the top five in school history... Donte Moncrief (149) and Ja-Mes Logan (110) are the first two receivers to have more than 100 yards in the same game for Ole Miss since 2003... Andrew Ritter is 7-of-9 this season beyond 40 yards... Trae Elston, Cody Prewitt and Channing Ward led Ole Miss with six tackles each… I'Tavius Mathers made his first career start.

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