After once hovering near the top 10, unranked Ole Miss carries a three-game losing streak into November.
The month begins with a non-conference match-up Saturday against Georgia Southern, 4-4, of the Sun Belt Conference.
Players talk about striving to win their four remaining games while Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze hopes he’ll have enough scholarship offensive lineman to compete this week.
Ole Miss began the season as a solid No. 3 pick in the SEC West with five votes to win the conference from those attending SEC Media Days.
Freeze was asked if he feels like the coach of five-loss team.
“Today I do. You look at the five teams we’ve lost to ... Arkansas sticks in my craw pretty good,” he said. “The other four had better talent on those given nights even though we made mistakes and could have won some of those games for sure.”
All five losses were against teams ranked at the time. Only Arkansas is unranked presently, while Auburn has risen to No. 11 after its 40-29 win at Ole Miss Saturday night.
Needing three wins for bowl eligibility, a trip to No. 7 Texas A&M is on the schedule for next week. A road trip to Vanderbilt is next followed by the regular season finale with rival Mississippi State at home.
Looking back or ahead doesn’t change the past or assist the future.
“This is just about being 1-0 at the end of the day,” quarterback Chad Kelly said. “Whether it’s practice or a game we’ve got to find a way to get better. We’re 3-5. You can’t get past that, but you know what? We’ve got to look at it differently. A lot of us are not only playing for ourselves but for our family and the guys around us. Three-and-five is what it is. We’ve just got to be 1-0 in the next game.”
Gates status unknown: Freeze is awaiting the results of an MRI on the knee of linebacker DeMarquis Gates. The Rebels’ leading tackler with 53, Gates could be unavailable for Georgia Southern and its diverse rushing attack.
Offensive lineman shortage: Freeze said he didn’t have enough linemen to field a unit for Sunday’s walk-through.
Left tackle Rod Taylor (ankle) is working his way back from injury and is out of a boot. Guard Jordan Sims (ankle), guard Daronte Bouldin (hip pointer) and center Robert Conyers (knee) are also questionable.
Back to Mageo: Oregon State grad transfer Rommel Mageo hasn’t played a lot of late but was productive with his time against Auburn, and that will earn him a start at middle linebacker this week.
“He played six snaps, and all six were sound and in the right spot. He’ll get the start there,” Freeze said.
Mageo has appeared in seven games with one start and has 16 tackles.
Who: Ole Miss vs. Georgia Southern
When: 11 a.m., Saturday