Seven games in seven weeks — including five against Southeastern Conference competition — took a toll on No. 10 Mississippi.
Now the Rebels (8-2, 4-2 Southeastern Conference, No. 10 CFP) have a much-needed off week to get healthy before two final regular-season games against Arkansas and Mississippi State.
Receiver Laquon Treadwell and linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche are done for the season because of injuries, but coach Hugh Freeze said he hopes left tackle Laremy Tunsil (injured biceps) can return by the Nov. 22 game against Arkansas.
"We've kind of had in our mind a two-week plan to hopefully have everyone back," Freeze said. "With the exception of the ones who are out for the year, I believe everyone will be ready to go for Arkansas."
Quarterback Bo Wallace is among the few who've managed to stay healthy.
The senior is nearly two years removed from surgery on his throwing shoulder and he's had much more velocity on his passes this fall compared to 2013. He's completed 64 percent of his passes for 2,556 yards, 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions through 10 games.
He said the shoulder has improved.
"It's not even a comparison," Wallace said. "Last year, I was just trying to make it through the year. This year, I feel good. I'm still doing my extra work with the strength staff, so I feel strong."
That's good news for the Rebels, who still harbor slim hopes of contending for the SEC Western Division title.
The lengthy break gives Ole Miss a little extra time to prepare for the Razorbacks, who host LSU on Saturday before facing the Rebels.
The Arkansas offense is built around a huge offensive line and running backs Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams. Ole Miss is fourth in the SEC in rushing defense, but struggled some in that area during recent losses to LSU and Auburn.
The Rebels held Presbyterian — a team that plays at the Football Championship Subdivision level — to only 89 yards rushing last weekend. Freeze said it's hard to take much away from that game because of the disparity in talent.
"It's hard to say because you're comparing apples to oranges," Freeze said. "We played two really good rushing teams (Auburn and LSU) before that, and there are certainly mistakes that we made that could have been helpful in limiting some of those yards. But those teams usually get their share of rushing yards. That's just a product of playing in this conference."
Ole Miss jumped back up to No. 10 in the College Football Playoff poll on Tuesday and still has an outside shot of getting back into national title contention. The Rebels have one more high-profile game — against Mississippi State on Nov. 29 — to impress the committee.
They also could use some help.
"We need some things to happen and hopefully they'll continue to happen," Wallace said. "But we have to take care of ourselves first."
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