Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace gets annoyed when media and fans talk about “Bad Bo” versus “Good Bo,” but the better side of the senior has been taking the field much more often for the Rebels these days.
Bad Bo is prone to interceptions and generally baffling plays. Good Bo runs for touchdowns and can hit receivers on the run with precision.
Ole Miss fans hope they can say goodbye to Bad Bo for good, and it appears that may be the case.
While Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott has emerged as a Heisman Trophy front runner, Wallace has garnered some attention for the award himself.
Along with the Heisman buzz comes the increased spotlight, and he’s handled it well so far. When false rumors of Wallace being arrested started to spread on social media in early October, Wallace took to Twitter to discount the false accusation.
Wallace was able to make fun of the experience in an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show.
“Hopefully it was bad Bo that got arrested and I hope he stays in the rest of the season,” Wallace said.
For the No. 3 Rebels to realize their dream of a spot in the College Football Playoff, Wallace has to be at his very best.
After a bumpy start with three interceptions in the season opener against Boise State, Wallace has been just that.
Against SEC opponents, Wallace has yet to turn the ball over and he credits his improved play to more confidence.
“I feel so much more relaxed going into games,” Wallace said. “I know if we punt the defense is going to go out and make a stop. I’m going into games confident and feeling good. I’m definitely not trying to force any balls.”
Wallace is in his third year as the starting quarterback for Ole Miss, helping lead the team to back-to-back bowl victories — the BBVA Compass Bowl over Pittsburgh in 2012 and the Music City Bowl over Georgia Tech last year.
He threw 22 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in his first year at Ole Miss in 2012.
Wallace managed to cut down on turnovers with 18 touchdown tosses and 10 interceptions in 2013. Three of those interceptions came in the 17-10 loss to Mississippi State in overtime.
Ever since the second half of the Boise State game, Wallace has mostly been Good Bo.
Wallace has been at his best in the second half of games, closing out huge wins over Texas A&M and Alabama.
In the 34-3 victory over Tennessee Saturday, Wallace again played his best in the final 30 minutes of the game.
“I really don’t know (why I’ve finished strong),” Wallace said. “It’s not a different minds-set or anything. We’re just getting in a rhythm. It’s nothing that I’ve changed or anything like that.”
Saturday’s victory over Tennessee was a sweet one for Wallace, a native of Pulaski, Tennessee.
He’d often dreamed of suiting up for the Volunteers, but he never received a scholarship offer.
He started his college career as a redshirt in 2010 at Arkansas State, where Freeze was offensive coordinator at the time.
Wallace transferred to East Mississippi Community College, where he set NJCAA single-season records for passing yards (4,604), total yards (4,810) and touchdown passes (53).
Freeze convinced Wallace to follow him to Ole Miss, and the partnership has paid off for both of them.
Wallace needs his best football to be in front of him if Ole Miss is to reach the College Football Playoff, but it appears that he has put his past struggles behind him.