OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss is dealing with multiple injuries to important players this week.
But the biggest issue by far is the team’s bruised psyche.
The 11th-ranked Rebels (7-2) are trying to bounce back from two emotional losses — including last weekend’s 35-31 loss to Auburn — that essentially knocked the program out of national title contention.
— Hugh Freeze
Now coach Hugh Freeze is trying to make sure his team is prepared to face Presbyterian (5-4) on Saturday. The Blue Hose play at the Football Championship Subdivision level and have been blown out by two other Football Bowl Subdivision teams this season — Northern Illinois and NC State.
A win against Presbyterian could help Ole Miss reclaim its mojo that helped it win seven consecutive games to start the season. While the Rebels are now a longshot to win the Southeastern Conference’s Western Division, it’s not impossible.
“It’s not over,” Freeze said. “It can be the wild, wild West before it’s over. You don’t know who is going to win and who is going to lose on a given night. We just have to worry about us and continue to stay the course and not be discouraged.”
Ole Miss will be playing its first game without star receiver Laquon Treadwell. The sophomore broke his leg and dislocated his ankle against Auburn.
Freeze said he hopes Vince Sanders, Cody Core and Quincy Adeboyejo can help fill the void.
But Freeze’s biggest challenge this week will be to get his team emotionally prepared for Saturday’s game.
“For me to expect our kids to be all hyped up and excited after coming off of the last two weeks is probably not a reasonable expectation,” Freeze said. “I have to get them ready to execute. That falls on me.”