Ole Miss QB Wallace having breakout season, leads Rebels into Athens

The Southeastern Conference’s biggest breakout quarterback Bo Wallace visits Athens today.

Ole Miss QB Wallace having breakout season, leads Rebels into Athens
Daniel Kramer

The Ole Miss standout has led the Rebels to five wins (three more than last year) while throwing for 1,649 yards, 10 touchdowns and a 66.3 completion percentage, good for third in the SEC. Wallace has also rushed for five touchdowns and 291 yards on 91 attempts.

He trails only Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Florida’s Jeff Driskel and South Carolina’s Connor Shaw for the conference lead in quarterback rushing.

“He’s really confident in making plays, whether it’s with his feet or his arm,” Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. “He seems to have a pretty good feel on where things our coming from and can make the right reads. He finds ways to make plays. I think he’s done a real good job.”

A redshirt sophomore, Wallace transferred to Ole Miss in January after spending a season each at Arkansas State and East Mississippi Community College. Wallace was unhappy about his redshirt status at Arkansas State, which was partly at the discretion of current Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze, who was offensive coordinator at the time.

“He was an immature knucklehead,” Freeze told ESPN.com, “a lot of us are when we come out of high school.” 

A year later, Wallace left for what he called “a better opportunity,” one that he took advantage of by leading East Mississippi to an undefeated season and junior college national championship. His maturity burgeoned and caught the eye of Freeze, who had just taken the job at Ole Miss.

And just like that, the two were reunited again.

“My relationship with Coach Freeze has definitely changed,” Wallace said. “I had to grow up a little bit and he definitely helped me do that. When I went to junior college, I was still thinking about things that he taught me at Arkansas State, which helped me along the way there. I still think that I have a long way to go before I’ve matured all the way, but Coach Freeze has definitely helped me get to where I’m at.”

His needed improvement, he said, stems from turnovers. Wallace has thrown for nine interceptions and fumbled four times, two of which have been recovered by the defense. He knows that the Bulldogs will not make the turnover battle any easier. 

“I’ve always had confidence in myself but my season has definitely been up and down,” Wallace said. “The last couple of weeks I’ve been more consistent so that’s definitely helped me out.”

“For us to win, I just need to have a turnover-free game. I think (Georgia) is one of the most athletic defenses that we’re going to play all year. Obviously (Jarvis Jones) is one of the best players in the country, so you definitely have to know where he’s at. Hopefully we’ll have guys make big plays.”

Wallace is on the right track though. Barring injury, he could become the first Ole Miss quarterback to start the entire season since Jevan Snead did so in 2009.

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