Ole Miss

Ole Miss preparing to face two QBs in Sugar Bowl

SUE OGROCKI/ASSOCIATED PRESS 
 Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph, center, drives up the middle against TCU. Rudolph is one of two quarterbacks the Cowboys will play against Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl on Friday.
SUE OGROCKI/ASSOCIATED PRESS Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph, center, drives up the middle against TCU. Rudolph is one of two quarterbacks the Cowboys will play against Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl on Friday. AP

NEW ORLEANS - Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze doesn't know how much of which quarterback the Rebels will see most in the Sugar Bowl, but he'll have his players educated on both.

Knowledge is power.

A two-quarterback system has been the MO for Oklahoma State football this year, but it's been two quarterbacks with very defined roles, and now one of them, sophomore starter Mason Rudolph, could be limited by injury.

Rudolph (6-4, 220) is considered the better passer but has often left the game in the red zone in favor of more mobile senior J.W. Walsh (6-2, 215).

"We've prepared for both," Freeze said. "They've played both pretty much every game. They've done different things."

Rudolph has thrown for 3,591 yards this season with 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

He's thrown 12 touchdowns with two interceptions in the Cowboys' last six games.

Amid reports of a broken bone in his foot Rudolph was seen wearing a walking boot and did not start the OU game.

He entered on the Cowboys' second possession of the second quarter and threw two incomplete passes followed by an interception which ended a streak of 123 passes without a pick-off. He did not return.

Upon arrival at the New Orleans airport Sunday Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy was coy about Rudolph's status and his quarterback plans for the Sugar Bowl.

"Offensively, it's going to be interesting to see what we come up with particularly with the possibility of playing two quarterbacks," he said.

In fact, Walsh has accounted for at least one touchdown in every game including 18 touchdowns in the last seven games.

He has 11 rushing touchdowns - one of them a game-winner on a fourth-down run at West Virginia on Oct. 10 - and 13 passing touchdowns this season.

Walsh has completed 48-of-71 attempts with one interception for a 203.65 passer rating, but his field to cover has often been much shorter. He's thrown for 55.25 yards a game to Rudolph's 299.25 a game.

"Both of them have good arms and can make all the throws, and they've got guys on the outside that can make all the plays," Ole Miss defensive back Mike Hilton said.

Walsh was 25-for-42 passing with 325 yards, two touchdowns and an interception against Oklahoma.

His touchdowns covered 26 yards to Jhajuan Seales and 72 yards to James Washington.

Washington (6-0, 200) is the Cowboys' big-play threat with 52 catches for 1,077 yards - 20.7 yards per catch - and 10 touchdowns.

Walsh went into the OU game ranked No. 34 nationally with 132 points responsible for in spite of having played only 84 snaps.

"We'll be ready for both," Freeze said. "It's hard to stop those guys. They're very good. Their coaches do a good job preparing them. We've seen both play and have worked against packages with both of them in there."

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