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Mississippi Rebels
AmericanFootball current event.svg 2017 Ole Miss Rebels
Ole Miss logo
First season 1890
Athletic director Ross Bjork
Head coach Matt Luke
Home stadium Vaught-Hemingway Stadium
Field Jerry Hollingsworth Field
Year built 1915
Stadium capacity 60,580
Largest Crowd: 62,663 (Oct. 10, 2009 vs. Alabama)
Stadium surface FieldTurf
Location University, Mississippi
League NCAA Division I
Conference SEC (1932 - present)
Division Western Division (1992 - present)
Past conferences Independent (1890–1898)
Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1899–1920)
Southern Conference (1921–1932)
All-time history
Template:Mississippi Rebels history
All-time record 621–486–35 ()
Postseason bowl record 21–12–0 ()
Claimed national titles 3[1][2]
1959, 1960, 1962
Conference titles 6
1947, 1954, 1955, 1960, 1962, 1963
Division titles 1
2003
Consensus All-Americans 11[3]
Current uniform
SEC-Uniform-Ole Miss
Colors Yale Blue and Harvard Crimson

             


Fight song Forward Rebels (Official)
Dixie (Unofficial)
Mascot Rebels
Rebel Black Bear
Marching band Pride of the South
Outfitter Nike
Rivals Mississippi State Bulldogs
Vanderbilt Commodores
LSU Tigers
Arkansas Razorbacks
Website OleMissSports.com

The Mississippi Rebels football team, also known as the Ole Miss Rebels, is a member of the NCAA FBS Southeastern Conference. The Rebels play their home games at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi and are currently coached by Hugh Freeze. The football history of Ole Miss includes the formation of the first football team in the state and the 26th team on the list of college football's all-time winning programs.[4] The Ole Miss Rebels posted their 600th win on September 27, 2008 when they defeated the (then ranked No. 4 and future 2008 BCS National Champ) Florida Gators 31–30 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.[5]

Throughout the 115-year history of Ole Miss football, the Rebels have won six Southeastern Conference titles (1947, 1954, 1955, 1960, 1962, and 1963); they also have a claim to three national championships (1959, 1960, 1962).

Early historyEdit

In 1890, Dr. A.L. Bondurant, later the dean of the Ole Miss Graduate School, rallied Ole Miss students to help form an athletic department to encompass the sports of football, baseball and tennis. The students brought this initiative to reality and in 1893, with Bondurant as the coach, a football team came to fruition. The first team won four of five games during that inaugural football season. One of those wins was the very first football game ever played by an Ole Miss team, a 56–0 victory over Southwest Baptist University of Jackson, Tennessee (now known as Union University). This was on November 11, 1893.

The next year, 1894, Bondurant passed on his coaching duties. Ole Miss Football, a book published in 1980 by Sports Yearbook Company of Oxford, MS, says J.W.S. Rhea was the first coach at Ole Miss, having been hired part-time by Bondurant and having led the 1894 team to a 6–1 record. The annual Ole Miss media guide lists C.D. Clark as the coach of the 1894 team and further says about him, "Although it has never been documented, it is thought that C.D. Clark of Tufts was the first paid football coach at Ole Miss. His name appears as manager of the team as shown in the Ole Miss Magazine dated November 1894."[6] The College Football Data Warehouse also lists Clark as the coach for the 1894 team.[7]

Twice in its history, Ole Miss did not field a football team. In 1897, a yellow fever epidemic cancelled the football season. In 1943, football was abolished at all Mississippi state-supported institutions by the state college Board of Trustees, due to World War II.[8]

National championshipsEdit

While the NCAA's website states that "the NCAA does not conduct a national championship in Division I-A football and is not involved in the selection process," it goes on to say that "a number of polling organizations provide a final ranking of Division I-A football teams at the end of each season." Ole Miss claims three national championships based on other polls.

Year Coach Record Bowl Result Final AP Ranking Final UPI (Coaches) Ranking Polls Recognizing Mississippi As National Champion
1959 John Vaught 10–1 Sugar Bowl Ole Miss 21, LSU 0 #2 #2 Berryman, Dunkel, Sagarin
1960 John Vaught 10–0–1 Sugar Bowl Ole Miss 14, Rice 6 #2 #3 Billingsley, Football Writers, DeVold, Dunkel, Football Research, Williamson
1962 John Vaught 10–0 Sugar Bowl Ole Miss 17, Arkansas 13 #3 #3 Litkenhous
Claimed National Championships: 3

[9][10]

The major polls of the time (Associated Press & United Press) named Syracuse University the National Champion in 1959 (The University of Mississippi was #2 in both polls), the University of Minnesota in 1960 (Mississippi was #2 in AP and #3 in the UPI) and the University of Southern California in 1962 (Mississippi was #3 in both polls).[11][12]

In 1955, the Rebels were declared National Champions by the Massey Ratings, though they are not considered to be a major poll and it is not claimed by the University.

MilestonesEdit

The most points ever scored in a game by the Ole Miss Rebels was 114 when Ole Miss defeated Union College 114–0 on October 29, 1904.[13]

The Ole Miss football team was the first college team in the nation to fly to a game, having done so in 1937. The flight was from Memphis, Tennessee to Philadelphia.[14]

Ole Miss' first game to ever be broadcast on television was in 1948 against Memphis.[15]

File:Olemissspeedlimit.jpg

The speed limit on the Ole Miss campus is 18 miles per hour in honor of Archie Manning, who wore the same number during his playing days at Ole Miss.

Ole Miss plays a central role in Michael Lewis's book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game and its 2009 film adaptation, The Blind Side.

Notable gamesEdit

  • 1952: Maryland- The Rebels splashed onto the national scene by defeating the highly ranked Maryland Terrapins in Oxford on Nov. 15, 1952 by the score of 21–14. This game is credited by many for being the catalyst to the great run the rebels had from 1952 to 1963.
  • 1959: LSU- On Halloween night, two of the top teams in the country squared off in Baton Rouge, LA. The game would be a defensive struggle with the Rebels clinging to a 3–0 lead in the fourth quarter. Future Heisman winner Billy Cannon changed the game off a fortuitous bounce on a punt return that went 89 yards into college football lore. The replay is still played whenever a reference to this rivalry is made. Ole Miss would have one last chance to pull off the win, but was stopped short on 4th and a yard at the goal-line by Billy Cannon. LSU won 7–3.
  • 1960: LSU- On Jan 1, 1960, one of the most anticipated rematches in college football history took place. This game, however, would not be the classic that transpired only weeks before. Ole Miss dominated the game from start to finish and came away with a decisive 21–0 win over the Tigers. The Rebels finished the season having only given up 21 points all year, declared national champions by several polls, and named the third rated team in history (through 1995) by the Sagarin ratings, behind only two great Nebraska teams.
  • 1969: Tennessee More affectionately known as, "The Mule Game", the Rebels faced off against the Tennessee Volunteers in Jackson MS for a crisp mid-November affair. Prior to the game, Tennessee's Steve Kiner was interviewed by Sports Illustrated. When asked about the Rebels and all their horses in the backfield, Kiner replied, "...more like a bunch of mules." When asked specifically about Archie Manning, he responded, "Archie who?" This inspired the Johnny Rebs and propelled them to a 38–0 shellacking of the Vols. This win would push the Rebels into the 1970 Sugar Bowl where they defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks to cap off the season.
  • 1977: Notre Dame- On a hot, humid day in the south, the Rebels took advantage of the weather to stun the Irish 20–13. It would be the only loss the Irish would suffer that season as they went on to claim the 1977 AP national championship. The Rebels were actually awarded the national championship by Reader's Digest at the end of the season due to being the only team to defeat Notre Dame that season.
  • 1986: LSU- The Rebels jumped out to an early lead in Baton Rouge and managed to hold on to a 21–19 win. It was the biggest win for the Rebels in a relatively dry decade that only saw the Rebels go to three bowl games.
  • 1997: LSU- Coming off two years of probation, it was anticipated it would be a couple of more years before the Rebels would fully recover. However, Ole Miss served the rest of the SEC notice that they were far from being dead by knocking off the 7th ranked Tigers 36–21 in Baton Rouge a week after LSU shocked the top-ranked Florida Gators. The Rebels would sustain several years of moderate success in the years following culminating with a top 15 finish in 2003 and winning 10 games in a season for the first time in 30 years.
  • 2008: Florida- After three years of SEC purgatory, the Rebels desperately needed a spark. That spark came in the form of defeating the fourth ranked Florida Gators 31–30 in Gainesville. Ole Miss took a 31–24 lead with 5 minutes to go in the game on an 86-yard bomb thrown by Jevan Snead to Shay Hodge. Florida responded within two minutes to bring the game within one, only to have the PAT blocked by Kentrell Lockett. Florida would get the ball gain but would turn the ball over on downs after Heisman winner Tim Tebow would be stopped on fourth and one. The win would catapult the Rebels to back-to-back Cotton Bowl victories.

Modern era head coachesEdit

Template:Rellink

John Vaught Edit

File:1947 Ole Miss football media guide.jpg

John Vaught, a line coach at Ole Miss in 1946 under Harold D. "Red" Drew and a former All-American at TCU, remained in Oxford as head coach in 1947 and led the Ole Miss program to national prominence over the next 24 years, posting 23 winning records.

In his first season at the helm in 1947, the Rebels posted a 9–2 record and won the first of six SEC crowns (1947, 1954, 1955, 1960, 1962, 1963). That 1947 season also saw Ole Miss great Charlie Conerly become the first Rebel player to be a contender for the Heisman Trophy, placing fourth in the voting for the prestigious honor.

Vaught's squads, however, didn't stop at just winning league titles, as the Rebels claimed three national championships in 1959, 1960 and 1962. Ole Miss won the 1959 Dunkel System national crown, the 1960 Football Writers Association of America, Dunkel System, and Williamson System national championships and the 1962 Litkenhous Ratings national title. Vaught's 1962 squad remains the only undefeated team in Ole Miss football history. Vaught's 1959 squad, which was honored as the “SEC Team of the Decade,” was ranked the third best collegiate football team from 1956 to 1995, according to the Jeff Sagarin Ratings released in January 1996.

The Rebels were also among the winningest programs in the country under Vaught during the 1950s and 1960s. From 1950 to 1959, Ole Miss posted an 80–21–5 record (.778 winning percentage). The 77.8 winning percentage was third to only Oklahoma and Miami (OH) during that decade. In the 1960s, Vaught guided the Rebels to a 77–25–6 record and a 74.0 winning percentage, which was the ninth best during that decade. The Rebels 1962 season under Vaught is, to this day, the only undefeated season in Ole Miss history. The Rebels ended that season 10 and 0 and as national champions.[16]

In the 1950s and 1960s under Vaught, Ole Miss was a fixture in the national polls. The Rebels were ranked atop the Associated Press poll for three weeks during the 1960 season and one week during the 1961 campaign. In 1964, Ole Miss was ranked preseason No. 1 in the Associated Press poll.

Vaught also made going to postseason play the norm rather than the exception for the Rebel football program. Ole Miss played in 15 consecutive bowl games from 1957 to 1971 which, at that time, was a national record. In all, Vaught led Ole Miss to 18 bowl game appearances, posting a 10–8 record in those contests. For his efforts, Vaught was named SEC Coach of the Year six times (1947, 1948, 1954, 1955, 1960, 1962).

During his time at the helm, Vaught coached some of the best players ever to wear the Red & Blue. In 24 seasons, Vaught produced 26 All-America first teamers. He also coached four players who finished in the top five in the Heisman Trophy voting. Along with Conerly in 1947, Charlie Flowers (5th in 1959), Jake Gibbs (3rd in 1960) and Archie Manning (4th in 1969, 3rd in 1970) were in the running for college football's top honor.

Failing health forced Vaught to resign his position in 1970 and the reins of the Ole Miss football program were turned over to Billy Kinard.

See also: 1959 Ole Miss Rebels football team

Billy R. KinardEdit

Billy Kinard became the first Ole Miss alumnus to head up the football program, while Frank “Bruiser” Kinard, an offensive line coach under Vaught since 1948, was named athletic director that same year.

The Rebels went 16–9 under Billy Kinard, including a 10–2 record and a 41–18 Peach Bowl victory over Georgia Tech in his first year in 1971. Kinard's 10 victories are tied for fourth most by a first-year head coach in NCAA Division I history.

Kinard coached the Rebels through the 1972 season and through the third game of the 1973 season. After the disappointing 5–5 season in 1972, there was some pressure among the alumni to have Kinard removed. The administration bowed to this pressure after the Rebels started the 1973 season 1–2, including a shutout loss to Missouri, 17–0, and was upset by Memphis State, 17–13. Both Billy Kinard and Frank Kinard were fired, and John Vaught was rehired as both the head coach and athletic director.

Following the 1973 football season, Vaught resigned once again as head coach, but remained on as athletic director. His final record with the Rebels was 190–61–12. The 190 victories still rank Vaught in the top 25 winningest coaches in NCAA Division I history, and he is the fourth-winningest coach in SEC history. In 1979, Vaught was inducted in the National College Football Hall of Fame.

Ken CooperEdit

Ken Cooper, an assistant under Kinard since 1971, was named head coach on Jan. 17, 1974, and took Ole Miss through the 1977 season. Cooper compiled a 21–23 record during his four years at the helm, and his tenure is probably best remembered for one hot and humid day in September 1977. In one of the most memorable games in Rebel football history, Ole Miss upset Notre Dame, 20–13 in Mississippi Memorial Stadium on Sept. 17, 1977, in Jackson. That loss was the Irish's lone setback of the 1977 campaign, as Notre Dame finished the season with an 11–1 record and claimed both the AP and UPI national titles.

Steve SloanEdit

Following the 1977 season, Steve Sloan, the former All-American quarterback at Alabama under Paul "Bear" Bryant, was hired as the new Rebel boss and began his five-year stint in 1978. Sloan posted a 20–34 record from 1978 to 1982.

Billy BrewerEdit

After stepping outside the Ole Miss family football tree the previous nine seasons, Ole Miss looked for a familiar face to lead the football program, and the Rebels found that person when Billy Brewer returned to Oxford to take over as head coach in December 1982.

In his first season in 1983, Brewer guided the Rebels to their first winning regular season since 1977 with a 6–5 record. The Rebels also went to their first bowl game since 1971, losing to Air Force 9–3 in the Independence Bowl.

Brewer remained in Oxford for another ten seasons, leading the Rebels to five winning seasons and four bowls, including Ole Miss' 1990 New Year's Day Gator Bowl appearance, which was the program's first January bowl game since 1969. He was named SEC Coach of the Year in 1986 (8–3–1 record) and 1990 (9–3 record), and in 1986, the Rebels return to the national rankings for the first time in over a decade.

Brewer coached 11 years (1983–93) and compiled a 67–56–3 record, making him (at the time) the second winningest Ole Miss football coach behind Vaught. Brewer also led Ole Miss to eight Egg Bowl victories over rival Mississippi State.

Brewer was dismissed just prior to the 1994 season after the NCAA infractions committee found him guilty of "unethical conduct," and Ole Miss defensive coordinator Joe Lee Dunn took over as interim coach, directing the Rebels to a 4–7 record under difficult circumstances highlighted only by a 34–21 victory over rival LSU.

Tommy TubervilleEdit

On Dec. 2, 1994, Tommy Tuberville was selected as the coach in charge of getting the Rebels on the right track.

After serving as an assistant coach on the collegiate level for nine seasons (eight at Miami and one at Texas A&M), Tuberville began creating excitement in his first season in 1995, finishing the campaign with a 6–5 record and an Egg Bowl victory over Mississippi State.

That excitement grew in 1997, when Ole Miss recorded its best season since 1992 with an 8–4 record, a thrilling 15–14 Egg Bowl victory over Mississippi State and a Motor City Bowl win over Marshall University. The bowl appearance was the program's first since 1992, and the Rebels earned a final national ranking of No. 22 in both polls.

The revitalized Ole Miss program continued in its success in 1998, but suffered a setback after the Egg Bowl when Tuberville, despite repeated assurances that he would not leave - even going so far as to say "They'll have to take me out of here in a pine box"[17][18][19] - , agreed 2 days later to become the head coach at SEC West rival Auburn University.

David CutcliffeEdit

David Cutcliffe took over as head coach on Dec. 2, 1998. Cutcliffe, who came to Ole Miss from his offensive coordinator post at Tennessee, took over the reins just 29 days before the Rebels' Sanford Independence Bowl date versus Texas Tech. Despite the short preparation time for the game, Cutcliffe led the Rebels to a 35–18 victory over the Red Raiders, quite arguably the biggest upset of the 1998 bowl season.

Cutcliffe brought with him to Oxford a high-powered offensive style that energized the Rebel fanbase.

In the time from 1997 to 2003, the Rebels played in six bowl games, tied with Arkansas for the most bowl appearances among SEC Western Division schools during that span.

Cutcliffe had four winning seasons in his first five seasons at Ole Miss, in 1999 (8–4), 2000 (7–5), 2001 (7–4) and 2002 (7–6), becoming the first Rebel mentor since Harry Mehre (1938–41) to post winning marks in his first five years. Cutcliffe also directed Ole Miss to four bowl appearances in his first five seasons, and is the only head coach in Ole Miss history to do so.

In 2003 Cutcliffe guided the Rebels to a 10–3 overall mark and a share of the SEC West title with eventual BCS National Champion LSU. Following their 31–28 victory over Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl Classic, the Rebels finished #13 in the final poll. It was Ole Miss' first New Year's bowl since the 1991 Gator Bowl against Michigan.

Despite his 44–29 record, five straight winning seasons, and guiding the team to its first 10 win season in over 30 years, Cutcliffe was fired by Ole Miss's Athletic Director Pete Boone in December 2004 after the team posted a disappointing 4–7 record and three consecutive losses to LSU.

Ed OrgeronEdit

LSU OLE MISS 8

Ed Orgeron

Ed Orgeron, regarded as one of college football's premier defensive line coaches and recruiters, was named the 35th head football coach in the history of the University of Mississippi on December 16, 2004.[20] Orgeron, who took control of the Ole Miss program after serving the previous seven seasons as defensive line coach at the University of Southern California, and played a role in Pete Carroll's Trojan championship in 2004. He also served as USC's recruiting coordinator from 2001 to 2004 and was named assistant head coach in 2003. Orgeron was named the 2004 National Recruiter of the Year by The Sporting News and Rivals.com. Orgeron's talent as a recruiter created a buzz among Rebel fans and drew national attention when Ole Miss' 2006 signing class ranked as high as fifteenth in the rankings. His 2007 recruiting class was also listed among the best in college football (#31 according to scout.com). However, his recruiting success did not translate to on the field performance. In 2007, Ole Miss was last in the SEC in scoring offense, turnover margin, rushing offense, rushing defense, punt returns, opponent first downs, red-zone offense, opponent third-down conversions, field goal percentage, time of possession and kickoff coverage.

In 2007, 20 Ole Miss football players were placed on indefinite probation by the University for having stolen pillows and clock radios from hotels in which the team had stayed in. All 20 players paid for the stolen items and therefore no NCAA rules were broken, according to the NCAA. Coach Orgeron stated that the incident would be dealt with internally and that no one would miss the season finale against arch-rival Mississippi State, because none of the 20 players had been a discipline problem before. For the same reason, that being no previous discipline issues, the school refused to release the names of the players.[21]

The 2007 season was a historic one for Ole Miss. The Rebels went winless in the SEC for the first time since 1982 – 25 years. The Rebels, under Orgeron, ended the season at 3–9 (0–8 in SEC play).

The 2007 season culminated with the firing of Orgeron on November 24, 2007. Three days later, Houston Nutt was hired as the next head football coach.

Houston NuttEdit

File:HoustonNutt.png

On November 27, 2007, Houston Nutt was hired as the new head football coach of the Ole Miss Rebels.[22] Nutt's hiring made him the 36th head football coach at Ole Miss.

The next day, November 28, 2007, just five weeks after having defeated Ole Miss as the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks, Nutt was officially introduced as the new Ole Miss head football coach at a press conference at the Gertrude Castellow Ford Center for Performing Arts on the Ole Miss campus.[23] During the press conference, Nutt stated, "One thing I love about Ole Miss is the tradition," naming past players such as Archie Manning, Jake Gibbs, Frank "Bruiser" Kinard, Deuce McAllister and Eli Manning. "It's about tradition. That's the reason I am here. I feel like this place can be successful. I feel like this place can win. I can't wait to tell our players this afternoon. That's how you spell fun. The way you spell fun is “W-I-N.” That's what it is all about."[24]

During Nutt's first season, he guided the Ole Miss Rebels to a 9–4 record with marquee victories over the eventual BCS National Champion Florida Gators squad, the reigning BCS National Champion LSU Tigers, and the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the 2009 Cotton Bowl Classic. At the end of this season, the Rebels were ranked in the Top-15 in both major polls.

It was announced on April 16, 2009 that Nutt and his wife Diana had committed to give a gift of $100,000 dollars to Ole Miss. Half of the contribution will create scholarships for student-athletes. The other half of the gift will be used toward the university’s Indoor Practice Facility, which opened in 2004 and cost $17 million to build.[25]

On November 7, 2011 it was announced that Coach Nutt will resign from the position of head coach at Ole Miss. His resignation will become official once the season comes to a close as he will finish his final 3 games at the university.[26]

On December 5, 2011, Hugh Freeze was announced as the new head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels football team.

Current coaching StaffEdit

Name Position
Hugh Freeze Head Coach
Phil Longo Offensive Coordinator
Quarterbacks
Matt Lubick Wide Receivers
Maurice Harris Offensive Recruiting Coordinator
Tight Ends
Matt Luke Co-Offensive Coordinator
Offensive Line
Derrick Nix Running Backs
Paul Jackson Strength and Conditioning
Wesley McGriff Defensive Coordinator
Jason Jones Co-Defensive Coordinator
Cornerbacks
Chris Kiffin Defensive Recruiting Coordinator
Defensive Line
Bradley Dale Peveto Special Teams Coordinator
Linebackers
Corey Batoon Safeties

Recent historyEdit

2007 seasonEdit

The 2007 season was a historic one for Ole Miss. The Rebels went winless in the SEC for the first time since 1982 – 25 years. The Rebels, under head coach Ed Orgeron, ended the season at 3–9 (0–8 in SEC play).

Orgeron's talent as a recruiter created a buzz among Rebel fans and drew national attention when Ole Miss' 2006 signing class ranked as high as fifteenth in the rankings. His 2007 recruiting class was also listed among the best in college football (#31 according to scout.com). However, his recruiting success did not translate to on the field performance. In 2007, Ole Miss was last in the SEC in scoring offense, turnover margin, rushing offense, rushing defense, punt returns, opponent first downs, red-zone offense, opponent third-down conversions, field goal percentage, time of possession and kickoff coverage.

The 2007 season culminated with defeats to LSU (27-41) and Mississippi State (14-17) which resulted in the firing of Orgeron the following day. Three days later, Houston Nutt was hired as the next head football coach.

2008 seasonEdit

The biggest change for the Rebels going into the 2008 football season was the head coach. Houston Nutt began his first season as head coach of the Rebels, replacing Ed Ogeron, who was fired after his 2007 team failed to win an SEC game.

With a new head coach also came new assistants, including Tight ends/special teams coach James Shibest, Running game coordinator Mike Markuson, Defensive line coach Tracy Rocker, Recruiting coordinator and Safeties coach Chris Vaughn and High School Relations director Clifton Ealy, all of whom were assistants at Arkansas under Nutt the previous season.[27] Tyrone Nix left his position as Defensive Coordinator of the South Carolina Gamecocks to join Nutt's staff at the same position. Before his time at South Carolina, Nix spent 10 years at Southern Mississippi.[28]

Former Arkansas offensive coordinator David Lee originally agreed to follow Nutt from Arkansas to Ole Miss, however, he later accepted an offer to become the Quarterbacks coach for the Miami Dolphins. Upon Lee's resignation, former Ole Miss quarterback star Kent Austin, who was coming off a 2007 Grey Cup win as head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, was hired as offensive coordinator.

Projected to place 5th in the SEC Western Division in the pre-season, the Rebels finished 2nd in the West, knocked off the last 2 national champions on the road in No. 4 (at the time) Florida and No. 18 (at the time) LSU and ended the regular season on a five-game win streak. The 20th ranked Rebels then beat the 8th ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders in the Cotton Bowl Classic.

2009 seasonEdit

The 2009 season was one of ups and downs for the Rebels, as the team entered the year with some of the highest expectations of any Ole Miss team in almost half a century. Ultimately, the Rebels failed to meet those lofty expectations. The Rebels finished with an 8–4 (4-4 SEC) record and an invitation to the Cotton Bowl Classic, a respectable showing but far short of the results that the team, its fans and the national media had anticipated before the season.

The Rebels began the 2009 season ranked no. 8 by the Associated Press Poll and no. 10 by the USA Today Coaches Poll. Ole Miss started the season with wins over Memphis and Southeastern Louisiana, and after some key early season losses by other top-10 schools, the AP poll put the Rebels at no. 4 in week 3—the team's highest ranking since 1970.

The Rebels didn't play up to the ranking, however, and a lethargic Ole Miss squad was defeated by the University of South Carolina in Columbia, 16–10, on a Thursday night before a national television audience. The Sept. 24 loss snapped an 8-game winning streak for the Rebels dating back to the 2008 season and sent them tumbling in the polls, never to rise higher than no. 20 for the rest of the year.

The Rebels bounced back to beat Vanderbilt on the road, but then fell to #3 Alabama at home the next week. Ole Miss recovered to win consecutive home games against UAB and Arkansas in impressive fashion before losing at Auburn in another uneven performance, establishing what would become a signature pattern for the Rebels in 2009: strong play at home but weak efforts on the road.

Following the Auburn loss, the Rebels won three straight home games, including quality wins over Tennessee and LSU. Entering the final week of the season, the team was back in the rankings (no. 20) and seemed set for another winning record in the SEC and a trip to the Capital One Bowl, the SEC's highest-paying bowl destination outside of the BCS. Those plans were dashed, however, when Rebels lost to Mississippi State in Starkville, 41–27, finishing the regular season at 8–4 overall and 4–4 in conference play.

One week later Ole Miss accepted an invitation to play in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, marking the team's second-consecutive trip to Dallas and the program's first back-to-back January bowl births in 40 years. Ole Miss defeated Oklahoma State 21–7.

2010-2011 seasonsEdit

The 2010 team went 4-7 with one SEC win over Kentucky. The highlights were running back Brandon Bolden and All-SEC defensive lineman Jerrell Powe.

2011 was even worse with Ole Miss going 2-10 and winless in the SEC. Offensive tackle Bobby Massie was one of the few bright spots. Coach Houston Nutt was fired on November 7, 2011 but finished out the season. The Rebels lost their last seven games and have also lost 14 straight Southeastern Conference games going back to the 2010 season.

UniformsEdit

The Ole Miss Rebels currently have four combinations of uniforms that they are known to sport. All combinations involve gray pants with stripes of red and blue. The Rebels use blue jerseys for their primary home uniforms and red jerseys as alternates; both have bold white numbers and white shoulder stripes. White jerseys with red numbers and stripes are used on the road.

On October 30, 2010, the Rebels wore all-gray uniforms for the first time in their annual bout with the #1 Auburn Tigers. The gray jerseys are adorned with blue and red shoulder stripes and blue numbers outlined in red. Although worn at home, Mississippi's all-gray uniforms are considered white jerseys (rather than colored); consequently, visiting opponents will wear their home, colored jerseys while the Rebels wear all-gray.

RivalriesEdit

Mississippi StateEdit

File:Ole Miss and Mississippi State Egg Bowl 1970s.jpg

The Battle for the Golden Egg (nicknamed the Egg Bowl) is an annual college football game between the Ole Miss Rebels and in-state fellow SEC team Mississippi State University (MSU) Bulldogs. While the 2 teams have played each other since 1901, with 2003 being the year in which the 2 teams had played each other 100 times and now having played each other a total of 108 times, the first game officially known as "The Battle of the Golden Egg" was in 1927.[29] While it is called a "Bowl", the game is not a postseason bowl game, but rather a regular season Southeastern Conference (SEC) game. Ole Miss leads the series with 60 wins to MSU's 42 wins. There have been 6 ties.

LSUEdit

Ole Miss first played LSU on December 3, 1894 winning 26–6 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Throughout the fifties and sixties, games between the two schools featured highly ranked squads on both sides and seemingly every contest had conference, and at times national title implications - a tradition recently renewed, as the 2003 matchup decided the SEC Western Division Champion, and helped propel LSU to a national championship. A trophy has now been named for the LSU-Ole Miss rivalry known as the "Magnolia Bowl" which began in 2008 with a 31–13 victory by the Ole Miss Rebels. The 2009 game was also won by Ole Miss 25–23.[30] The 2010 edition was another classic, typical of the games between these two, with LSU scoring with under a minute left to prevail 43–36. LSU leads the overall series over Ole Miss 57–39–4. The 2011 game marked the 100th edition of this great rivalry.

VanderbiltEdit

The Vanderbilt-Ole Miss rivalry is an annual college football rivalry between the Vanderbilt University Commodores and the University of Mississippi Rebels. The Rebels are the Commodores' second-longest, continuous football rivalry.[31] Both teams are founding members of the Southeastern Conference, and their universities have the smallest and second-smallest, respectively, student body populations among SEC schools. This similar size, the schools' proximity to one another (Nashville is less than 4 hours from Oxford), and the similar culture of Greek life (both schools' student bodies have high percentages of participation in fraternities and sororities) led them to choose to be one another's inter-divisional non-rotator when the SEC grew to 12 teams for the 1992 season. The schools have lately been rather evenly matched. In the last ten years, the series is tied 5–5, but Vanderbilt has won 4 of the last 5. The series has also been marked by close games, with the average margin between the teams since 1999 only 7 points. Ole Miss leads the series, 47–37–2.

ArkansasEdit

Ole Miss first played Arkansas in 1908, with Arkansas winning that game 33–0. They would play each other many times, though sporadically, over the next several decades, including two meetings in the Sugar Bowl in 1963 and 1970; Ole Miss won both Sugar Bowl matchups.

In the 1980s Arkansas dominated the Johnny Rebs, however the 1990 edition produced on the greatest moments in Ole Miss football history. Having the ball inside the Ole Miss 20 and trailing by 4 with seconds remaining, Arkansas needed a score. The Hogs chose to run the option play. The ball was picthed to Ron Dickerson who seemed to have a clean shot at the endzone. At the 2, Safety and Mullins award winner Chris Mitchell produced what is simply known in Oxford as "the hit". Dickerson fell limp at the one, and time expired, preserving the Ole Miss victory.

In 1991, Arkansas joined the Southeastern Conference, and was placed in the same division as Ole Miss when the conference split into two divisions in 1992. Ole Miss won the first conference contest in Little Rock by a score of 17–3.

The two teams have played each other annually since 1981 yet the intensity of the rivalry pretty much died from the early 1970s until 2007.

The 2001 Ole Miss-Arkansas game set a NCAA record for most overtime periods played (7). It has since been tied, but never broken. Arkansas won that game 58–56 off a 2-point Rebel conversion that got stopped just short of the goal-line.

The end of 2007 saw the rivalry return to a heated one when after Houston Nutt resigned as the head coach for Arkansas, Ole Miss hired him as their new head coach a week later.

2008 saw the first game between Ole Miss and Arkansas in which Nutt returned to Arkansas in his first game against his former team. Emotions were high, and pads popped throughout the game. Ole Miss kicked a field goal with less than 3 minutes remaining to go up 23-14, seemingly icing the victory. Not to be outdone, Arkansas took one minute to march down the field, and scored with a minute left. After a replay review, Arkansas was awarded with the recovery of an onside kick. Unfortunately for the Hogs, a controversial offensive interference was called, pushing them back, and ultimately turned the ball over on downs. Ole Miss and Nutt won 23-21.

The following season, 2009, Arkansas went to Oxford to take on Ole Miss. Ole Miss again won, 30–17, this time at the hands of an all-world performance by Dexter McCluster, who had over 200 all purpose yards, including a 60 yd touchdown bolt in the 3rd that broke the game open.

In 2010, Arkansas was able to finally claim a win over their former head coach Houston Nutt with a 38–24 decision in Fayetteville that was dominated by sloppy play and sloppier weather. 2011 proved to be another thriller with the Hogs escaping Oxford with a 29-24 victory.

SeasonsEdit

Notable AlumniEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. NCAA: Past Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I FBS) National Champions (formerly called Division I-A)
  2. OleMissSports.com History
  3. [1]
  4. College Football Data Warehouse: Mississippi Rankings
  5. The Clarion-Ledger: No. 4 Gators undone by myriad mistakes
  6. Ole Miss Sports: History of Rebel Football
  7. CFDW: Mississippi Yearly Results
  8. OleMissSports.com Ole Miss Rebel Football History
  9. [2]
  10. [3]
  11. College Football Data Warehouse, AP and Coaches Final Season Polls 1955–1959
  12. College Football Data Warehouse, AP and Coaches Final Season Polls 1960–1964
  13. [4]
  14. The University of Mississippi: A Pictorial History; Page 161; http://www.olemissbook.com/
  15. The University of Mississippi: A Pictorial History; Page 201; http://www.olemissbook.com/
  16. College Football Data Warehouse: Mississippi Undefeated and Untied Seasons
  17. http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?t=319866&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=22&sid=21319c681b5b3c86c6d974fb45ec7745
  18. http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/print?id=2720487&type=story
  19. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07004/751148-198.stm
  20. USA Today: Orgeron introduced as football coach at Ole Miss
  21. CBS Sports: Ole Miss gives details of 'embarrassing' thefts by 20 players
  22. ESPN:Nutt agrees with Ole Miss hours after resignation
  23. Ole Miss Athletics: Rebels Find New Leader in Houston Nutt
  24. Ole Miss Athletics: Houston Nutt Introductory Press Conference
  25. The Clarion-Ledger: UM’s Nutt giving $100,000 to university
  26. [5]
  27. The Clarion-Ledger: UM football: Nutt to go it alone in recruiting
  28. The ClarionLedger: Nix new defensive coordinator at Ole Miss
  29. Ole Miss football 2007 Media guide
  30. The Daily Reveille: LSU, Ole Miss to student body: "Name that Rivalry"
  31. All statistical information and narrative accounts derived therefrom in this section regarding the Vanderbilt-Ole Miss rivalry come from the 2009 Vanderbilt Commodores Football Media Guide, pp. 156–66 (PDF available online at http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/vand/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/CommodoreRecords09.pdf).

External LinksEdit

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