- Associated Press - Monday, August 25, 2014

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) - Nobody is going to confuse Bo Wallace with Eli Manning.

Manning is royalty in the Ole Miss football universe, still loved in Oxford for his clean-cut looks, family pedigree and two Super Bowl rings.

Wallace is known more for his shaggy hair, gunslinger mentality and long road to the Southeastern Conference that started at Arkansas State, moved to a junior college and ended with the Rebels.

But both have one thing in common: They’re successful college quarterbacks. And if Wallace has a good senior season, he might pass Manning for several Ole Miss career passing records.

“I’m thrilled that we have him,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said on Monday. “I like the demeanor he has right now. I like the leadership he’s trying to show, the way he’s studying film. It’s his last chance and he could do something special.”

The 18th-ranked Rebels open their season against Boise State on Thursday night at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Wallace said he’s aware of his place in the Ole Miss record books and the records he could have with a productive fall. He also has a chance to be among the top 10 in SEC history in career passing yards.

“It definitely motivates me,” Wallace said. “I feel like I have the guys around me. If I just give them the ball - they’ll make big plays.”

But Wallace said individual numbers are secondary to the one goal that really matters: Leading the Rebels to their first SEC championship since 1963.

That, of course, will be a monumental task. The Rebels are the only team from the SEC Western Division that has never played in the championship game since the league split into two divisions in 1992.

“We’re all ready to go,” Wallace said. “We’re tired of playing against each other - against the scouts. We’re ready to go against some competition and see what we have this year.”

Wallace has always been someone who shows his emotions. He made it clear he was upset when the league’s media selected him as the third-team preseason All-SEC quarterback in July.

The 6-foot-4, 217-pounder is the active career leader in just about every league passing category.

Freeze said he has no problem with Wallace’s anger if it’s channeled in the proper direction.

“I just think he’s hungry to go out and prove that he can have a better year than he did in the last one and the one before that, and he’s had two pretty good ones,” Freeze said.

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