Ole Miss Rebels football

The Ole Miss Rebels football program represents the University of Mississippi, also known as "Ole Miss.” The Rebels compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). As of 2020, the team is coached by Lane Kiffin. Founded in 1893 as the state's first football team, Ole Miss has won six Southeastern Conference titles (1947, 1954, 1955, 1960, 1962, and 1963) and three national titles (1959, 1960, 1962). The Rebels posted their 600th win on September 27, 2008, when they defeated the Florida Gators 31–30.[2]

Ole Miss Rebels
2020 Ole Miss Rebels football team
Ole Miss Rebels football logo.svg
First season1893
Athletic directorKeith Carter
Head coachLane Kiffin
1st season, 0–0 (–)
StadiumVaught–Hemingway Stadium
(Capacity: 64,038)
FieldJerry Hollingsworth Field
Year built1915
Field surfaceNatural grass
LocationOxford, Mississippi
NCAA divisionDivision I FBS
ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
DivisionWestern
Past conferencesIndependent (1893–1898)
Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1899–1921)[dubious ]
Southern Conference (1922–1932)
All-time record671–524–35 (.560)
Bowl record24–13 (.649)
Claimed nat'l titles3 (1959, 1960, 1962)
Conference titles6 (1947, 1954, 1955, 1960, 1962, 1963)
RivalriesMississippi State (rivalry)
LSU (rivalry)
Arkansas (rivalry)
Alabama (rivalry)
Vanderbilt (rivalry)
Auburn (rivalry)
Memphis (rivalry)
Tulane (rivalry)
Consensus All-Americans12
Current uniform
OleMiss FB Unis 18.png
ColorsCardinal Red and Navy Blue[1]
         
Fight songForward Rebels
MascotTony the Landshark
Marching bandPride of the South
OutfitterNike
WebsiteOleMissSports.com

In 2017, the NCAA vacated 33 of the team's victories — nearly 5 percent of its total wins at the time — and levied a two-year ban on post-season play as punishment for recruiting and academic violations under head coaches Houston Nutt and Hugh Freeze.

HistoryEdit

The Ole Miss football team played its first season in 1893, and since then have fielded a team every year except for 1897 (due to a yellow fever epidemic) and 1943 (due to World War II). In that first season, the team compiled a 4–1 record under head coach Alexander Bondurant. In 1899, Ole Miss became a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA). The program then joined the Southern Conference in 1922 and the Southeastern Conference in 1933. In 1947, Johnny Vaught became head coach and led the team to its first conference championship. Vaught coached Ole Miss for 25 seasons, compiling a 190–61–12 record and winning six conference championships, three national championships, and ten bowl games. Since Vaught's departure in 1973, the Rebels have gone through a number of head coaches, none of them able to replicate the success of the Vaught era. The longest tenured coach since Vaught was Billy Brewer, who in 11 seasons from 1983 to 1993 compiled a 68–55–3 record and won three bowl games. The team's current head coach is Lane Kiffin, who took over the role in 2019 after Matt Luke was fired following a 5–6 2019 season and an egg bowl loss to rival Mississippi state 20–21.

Johnny Vaught era (1947–1970, 1973)Edit

 
1947 Ole Miss media guide featuring Charlie Conerly (left) and coach Johnny Vaught (right)

The modern era of Ole Miss football began in 1947, when Harold Drew was ousted in favor of his line coach, Johnny Vaught. A former All-American at Texas Christian University (TCU), Vaught 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 rebounded from a 2-7 season in 1946 to a 9–2 record and the first of six SEC titles (1947, 1954, 1955, 1960, 1962, 1963). The 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.

Ole Miss won the 1959 Dunkel System national championship; the 1960 Football Writers Association of America, Dunkel System, and Williamson System national championships; and the 1962 Litkenhous Ratings national championship. The 1960 unit is the only team to win a national championship that is recognized by the NCAA and the college football community at large. That squad finished 10-0-1; the only blemish was a 6-6 tie against LSU. In those days, the major pollsters selected their national champions before the bowl games; the major polls would not wait until after the season to pick a champion until 1965. The Rebels were the only team that finished undefeated on the field that season, and almost certainly would have finished atop at least one poll had the final polls been released after the bowl games.

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 .778 winning percentage was third only to Oklahoma and Miami (OH) during that decade. In the 1960s, Vaught guided the Rebels to a 77–25–6 record and a .740 winning percentage, which was the ninth best during that decade. The Rebels’ 1962 season under Vaught is, to this day, the only undefeated and untied season in Ole Miss history. The Rebels ended that season with a record of 10–0.[3]

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 tenure, Vaught coached some of the best players in Ole Miss football history. 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. He was succeeded by Billy Kinard.

Billy R. Kinard era (1971–1973)Edit

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 ten 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, the alumni were advocating to have Kinard removed as head coach. The administration fired Kinard after the Rebels started the 1973 season 1–2. The two losses were a shutout to Missouri, 17–0, and an upset by Memphis State, 17–13. Both Billy Kinard and Frank Kinard were fired, and Johnny 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 Cooper era (1974–1977)Edit

Ken Cooper, an assistant under Kinard since 1971, was named head coach on January 17, 1974, and took Ole Miss through the 1977 season. Cooper compiled a 21–23 record, and his tenure is probably best remembered for the matchup with Notre Dame 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 September 17, 1977, in Jackson. That loss was Notre Dame's lone setback of the 1977 campaign, as they finished the season with an 11–1 record and claimed both the AP and UPI national titles. Cooper is now the assistant head coach and offensive line coach at Benedictine Military School in Savannah, Georgia.

Steve Sloan era (1978–1982)Edit

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

Billy Brewer era (1983–1993)Edit

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 7–4 record (Tulane win a result of forfeit). 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 68–55–3 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 Tuberville era (1995–1998)Edit

On December 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 and even going so far as to say, "They'll have to take me out of here in a pine box"[4][5][6] agreed 2 days later to become the head coach at SEC West rival Auburn University.

David Cutcliffe era (1998–2004)Edit

David Cutcliffe took over as head coach on December 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.

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 Orgeron era (2005–2007)Edit

 
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.[7] 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 15th 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 was a historic one for Ole Miss. The Rebels went winless in the SEC for the first time in 25 years since 1982. 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 Nutt era (2008–2011)Edit

 
Houston Nutt

On November 27, 2007, Houston Nutt was hired as the 36th head football coach of the Ole Miss Rebels, just five weeks after having defeated Ole Miss as the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks.[8]

The next day, Nutt was officially introduced as the new coach at a press conference at the school's Gertrude Castellow Ford Center for Performing Arts.[9] During the press conference, Nutt said, "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."[10]

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 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.[11]

On November 7, 2011, it was announced that Coach Nutt would resign, effective at the end of the season.[12]

But NCAA investigators later concluded that Nutt had cheated by allowing ineligible students to play. Due to these violations, as well as others committed by his successor, Hugh Freeze, in 2019 the NCAA punished Ole Miss by stripping the team of 33 wins over six seasons.[13] This included all four wins in 2010 and two wins in 2011, making them "officially" the first winless seasons for the Rebels in over a century.

Hugh Freeze era (2011–2017)Edit

On December 5, 2011, Hugh Freeze was announced as the new head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels football team. Freeze was previously the head coach at Arkansas State and had previously been the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator from 2005–2007. In his first year he went 7–6 and finished the regular season with a win over rival Mississippi State. The Rebels won their bowl game against Pitt in the BBVA Compass Bowl. In Freeze's second year, the Rebels went 8–5 (3–5). The 2013 Rebels defeated then-sixth-ranked LSU on a last-second field goal in Oxford and capped off the season with a 25–17 victory over Georgia Tech in the Music City Bowl.

In 2014, Freeze led Ole Miss to one of its strongest seasons in four decades. The Rebels spent most of the season in the top 10, rising as high as third in October—their highest ranking at that late stage in the season in almost half a century. They ultimately finished 9–3, only the third time since Vaught's tenure that a Rebel team has won as many as nine games. This garnered them a berth in the 2014 Peach Bowl—their first major-bowl appearance since 1969. Freeze led to the Rebels to another strong season in 2015, perhaps the program's strongest since the undefeated and untied season of 1962. The 2015 season featured wins over ranked SEC West Rivals LSU and Mississippi State, but was headlined by a road victory over then-No. 2-ranked Alabama, their first win in Tuscaloosa since 1988 and only the first time they had beaten the Tide in back-to-back seasons. Ole Miss controlled their own destiny in the SEC West for much of the 2015 campaign, but ultimately finished in second place. The Rebels earned a trip to the 2016 Sugar Bowl, their first appearance in this bowl game since 1970, where they beat Oklahoma State 48–20. Freeze led the Rebels to their first 10-win season since 2003, and only the third since the Vaught era.

But NCAA investigators later concluded that Freeze had cheated on 15 occasions by breaking recruiting rules and allowing students to play who had not maintained the required academic standing; they also determined that his predecessor, Nutt, had broken similar rules. This constituted one of the worst violations ever, and in 2019 the NCAA punished Ole Miss by stripping the team of 33 wins over six seasons, including seven from 2012, eight from 2014, and five from 2016. This changed Freeze's official record at Ole Miss from 39–25 over five seasons to 12–25. The NCAA also banned the team from postseason play for two years, stripped it of scholarships for four years, and placed it on three years of probation.[14]

On July 20, 2017, Freeze resigned after Ole Miss officials learned that he had used a university-provided cell phone to place calls to an escort service in "a concerning pattern" that began shortly after he took the job in 2011.[15][16]

Matt Luke era (2017–2019)Edit

Co-offensive coordinator Matt Luke was named interim head coach the same day. In November 2017, Luke was named the permanent head coach after leading the Rebels to a 6-6 record, including a 31-28 Egg Bowl win over Mississippi State. In the 2019 Egg Bowl, Luke's recruit Elijah Moore performed a post-touchdown mockery of a urinating dog, costing the Rebels a penalty and ultimately losing the Egg Bowl by a missed extra point 20-21.[17]

Lane Kiffin era (2020–present)Edit

On December 7, following FAU's blowout win in the C-USA championship game, it was confirmed by Ole Miss AD Keith Carter that Lane Kiffin, the then-coach of FAU, would be the next head coach at Ole Miss.

Conference affiliationsEdit

Ole Miss has been affiliated with the following conferences.[18]:179

ChampionshipsEdit

National championshipsEdit

Ole Miss has been selected National Champions three times by NCAA-deemed Major Selectors.[19][20][21] However, the 1960 team is the only one recognized as a national champion by the larger college football community.[19]

Season Coach Selectors Record Bowl Opponent Result Final AP Final Coaches
1959 Johnny Vaught Berryman, Dunkel, Sagarin 10–1 Sugar Bowl LSU W 21–0 #2 #2
1960 Billingsley, Football Writers, DeVold, Dunkel, Football Research, NCF, Williamson 10–0–1 Sugar Bowl Rice W 14–6 #2 #3
1962 Billingsley, Litkenhous, Sagarin 10–0 Sugar Bowl Arkansas W 17–13 #3 #3

The major wire service polls of the time (AP Poll & Coaches' Poll), named Syracuse the National Champion in 1959, Minnesota in 1960, and USC in 1962.[22][23]

Conference championshipsEdit

Ole Miss has won six SEC championships.

Season Conference Coach Overall record Conference record
1947 SEC Johnny Vaught 9–2 6–1
1954 9–2 5–1
1955 10–1 5–1
1960 10–0–1 5–0–1
1962 10–0 6–0
1963 7–1–2 5–0–1

Divisional championshipEdit

The SEC has been split into two divisions since the 1992 season with Ole Miss competing in the SEC West since that time. Ole Miss has won a share of one divisional title, but has yet to make an appearance in the SEC Championship Game.

Season Division Opponent CG Result
2003 SEC West N/A lost tie-breaker to LSU

† Co-champions

Head coachesEdit

Ole Miss has had 38 head coaches in over a century of play.[18]:181

Coach Seasons Record
Alexander Bondurant 1893 4–1
C. D. Clark 1894 4–1
H. L. Fairbanks 1895 2–1
John W. Hollister 1896 1–2
No team 1897
T. G. Scarbrough 1898 1–1
W. H. Lyon 1899 3–4
Z. N. Estes 1900 0–3
William Shibley & Daniel S. Martin 1901 2–4
Daniel S. Martin 1902 4–3
M. S. Harvey 1903–1904 6–4–1
No coach 1905
Thomas S. Hammond 1906 4–2
Frank A. Mason 1907 0–6
Frank Kyle 1908 3–5
Nathan Stauffer 1909–1911 18–7–2
Leo DeTray 1912 5–3
William L. Driver 1913–1914 11–7–2
Fred A. Robins 1915–1916 5–12
Dudy Noble 1917–1918 2–7–1
R. L. Sullivan 1919–1921 11–13
Roland Cowell 1922–1923 8–11–1
Chester S. Barnard 1924 4–5
Homer Hazel 1925–1929 21–22–3
Ed Walker 1930–1937 38–38–8
Harry Mehre 1938–1942, 1944–1945 39–26–1
No team 1943
Harold Drew 1946 2–7
Johnny Vaught 1947–1970, 1973 190–61–12
Billy Kinard 1971–1973 16–9
Ken Cooper 1974–1977 21–23
Steve Sloan 1978–1982 20–34–1
Billy Brewer 1983–1993 67–56–3
Joe Lee Dunn 1994 4–7
Tommy Tuberville 1995–1998 25–20
David Cutcliffe 1998–2004 44–29
Ed Orgeron 2005–2007 10–25
Houston Nutt 2008–2011 18–26
Hugh Freeze 2012–2016 12–25
Matt Luke 2017–2019 15–21
Lane Kiffin 2020–Present 0–0

† Includes interim status.

Bowl gamesEdit

 
Eli Manning

Ole Miss has participated in 37 bowl games, with the Rebels having a record of 24–13.[24]

Season Coach Bowl Opponent Result
1935 Ed Walker Orange Bowl Catholic University L 19–20
1948 Johnny Vaught Delta Bowl TCU W 13–9
1952 Johnny Vaught Sugar Bowl Georgia Tech L 7–24
1954 Johnny Vaught Sugar Bowl Navy L 0–21
1955 Johnny Vaught Cotton Bowl Classic TCU W 14–13
1957 Johnny Vaught Sugar Bowl Texas W 39–7
1958 Johnny Vaught Gator Bowl Florida W 7–3
1959 Johnny Vaught Sugar Bowl LSU W 21–0
1960 Johnny Vaught Sugar Bowl Rice W 14–6
1961 Johnny Vaught Cotton Bowl Classic Texas L 7–12
1962 Johnny Vaught Sugar Bowl Arkansas W 17–13
1963 Johnny Vaught Sugar Bowl Alabama L 7–12
1964 Johnny Vaught Bluebonnet Bowl Tulsa L 7–14
1965 Johnny Vaught Liberty Bowl Auburn W 13–7
1966 Johnny Vaught Bluebonnet Bowl Texas L 0–19
1967 Johnny Vaught Sun Bowl UTEP L 7–14
1968 Johnny Vaught Liberty Bowl Virginia Tech W 34–17
1969 Johnny Vaught Sugar Bowl Arkansas W 27–22
1970 Johnny Vaught Gator Bowl Auburn L 28–35
1971 Billy Kinard Peach Bowl Georgia Tech W 41–18
1983 Billy Brewer Independence Bowl Air Force L 3–9
1986 Billy Brewer Independence Bowl Texas Tech W 20–17
1989 Billy Brewer Liberty Bowl Air Force W 42–29
1990 Billy Brewer Gator Bowl Michigan L 3–35
1992 Billy Brewer Liberty Bowl Air Force W 13–0
1997 Tommy Tuberville Motor City Bowl Marshall W 34–31
1998 David Cutcliffe Independence Bowl Texas Tech W 35–18
1999 David Cutcliffe Independence Bowl Oklahoma W 27–25
2000 David Cutcliffe Music City Bowl West Virginia L 38–49
2002 David Cutcliffe Independence Bowl Nebraska W 27–23
2003 David Cutcliffe Cotton Bowl Classic Oklahoma State W 31–28
2008 Houston Nutt Cotton Bowl Classic Texas Tech W 47–34
2009 Houston Nutt Cotton Bowl Classic Oklahoma State W 21–7
2012 Hugh Freeze BBVA Compass Bowl Pittsburgh W 38–17 (vacated W)
2013 Hugh Freeze Music City Bowl Georgia Tech W 25–17
2014 Hugh Freeze Peach Bowl TCU L 3–42
2015 Hugh Freeze Sugar Bowl Oklahoma State W 48–20

MilestonesEdit

  • Most points ever scored in a game by Ole Miss came in a 114–0 win over Union College on October 29, 1904.[25]
  • Ole Miss became the nation's first college football team to fly "en masse" to a game in 1937. The team flew from Memphis to Philadelphia to play Temple University Temple Owls (University of New Mexico took the first flight of any team in 1929).[26][27][28]
  • Ole Miss' first game to ever be broadcast on television was in 1948 against Memphis.[29]
  • The speed limit on the Ole Miss campus is 18 MPH in honor of Archie Manning, who wore the same number during his playing days at Ole Miss. Following Eli Manning's second Super Bowl win, the university changed the speed limit in some areas of campus to 10 MPH to honor former All-American Rebel and son of Archie and Olivia Manning.
  • Ole Miss plays a central role in Michael Lewis' book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game and its 2009 film adaptation, The Blind Side.

Notable gamesEdit

  • 1952: Maryland- The 11th-ranked Rebels splashed onto the national scene by defeating the 3rd-ranked Maryland Terrapins in Oxford on November 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, No. 3-ranked Ole Miss squared off with No. 1-ranked LSU in Baton Rouge, LA. The game was 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. The replay is still played whenever a reference to this rivalry is made. Ole Miss had 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 January 1, 1960, one of the most anticipated rematches in college football history took place, but No. 2-ranked Ole Miss dominated No. 1-ranked LSU 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" or "The Jackson Massacre", the 18th-ranked Rebels faced off against the 3rd-ranked Tennessee Volunteers in Jackson MS. 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 Rebels and to a 38–0 shellacking of the Vols, a win that pushed the Rebels into the 1970 Sugar Bowl
  • 1977: Notre Dame- On a hot, humid day, the Rebels took advantage of the weather to stun the third-ranked Irish 20–13. It was the only loss for the Irish that season as they went on to claim the 1977 AP national championship.
  • 1986: LSU- Billy Brewer's 5–2–1 Rebels entered Tiger Stadium, where they had not won since 1968, to face 12-ranked LSU. Ole Miss sophomore quarterback Mark Young and the Rebels built a 21–9 halftime lead. LSU stormed back in the second. With 12:09 remaining, LSU's David Browndyke booted a 21-yard FG that trimmed the lead to 21–19. Later, LSU QB Tommy Hodson led the Tigers from the LSU 34 to the Rebel 13. But with only 0:09 to play, Browndyke's potential game-winning 30-yard FG sailed wide left and ignited a wild celebration among Rebel fans jammed into southeast corner of Tiger Stadium.
  • 1997: LSU- After a harsh two-season bowl ban, Tommy Tuberville's 1997 Rebels squad arrived in Baton Rouge with a 3–2 record and in search of a signature win. Meanwhile, the 5–1 and No. 8-ranked Tigers entered fresh off of an upset of then No. 1-ranked Florida. After trailing 21–14 at the half, the Rebels dominated the second half, outscoring the Tigers 22–0 en route to a 36–21 win. Ole Miss QB Stewart Patridge threw for a career-high 346 yards with two touchdowns. John Avery rushed for 137 yards and two scores. Their combined efforts accounted for all but five of the Rebels’ 488 yards of total offense. The celebrated win at Tiger Stadium was the first for Ole Miss over a top 10 opponent since 1977. Ole Miss fished the season with a record of 8–4 (4–4 SEC) that included a Motor City Bowl win over Marshall.
  • 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 touchdown pass thrown by Jevan Snead to Shay Hodge. Florida responded within two minutes to bring the game within one, only to have their PAT blocked by Kentrell Lockett. Florida regained possession but turned the ball over on downs after Heisman winner Tim Tebow was stopped on fourth-and-one. The win would catapult the Rebels to back-to-back Cotton Bowl victories. The win gave Ole Miss their 600th win all-time.
  • 2014: Alabama- The 11th-ranked Ole Miss Rebels fought back from a 14–3 halftime deficit to knock off #1/3-ranked Alabama for the first time since 2003. Led by senior quarterback Bo Wallace's 3 touchdown passes and the nation's 2nd ranked defense, the Rebels made an emphatic statement that they were real title contenders.
  • 2015: Alabama- On September 19, 2015, Head Coach Hugh Freeze's AP No. 15 Rebels beat the AP No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide, 43–37, in Tuscaloosa, making Freeze only the third head coach, along with Les Miles and Steve Spurrier, to defeat a Nick Saban-coached team in back-to-back years. It was also the first time Ole Miss had beaten any Alabama team twice in a row and only the second Rebel win in Tuscaloosa (the only other having come in 1988 under Billy Brewer). The Tide turned the ball over five times, a number which includes two attempted kickoff returns and three interceptions by three different Ole Miss defenders, Trae Elston, C.J. Johnson, and Tony Bridges. The 2015 victory catapulted the Rebels to the #3 spot in the Associated Press Week 3 rankings.

UniformsEdit

Ole Miss currently uses three jersey options along with two pant styles. The Rebels use red jerseys for their primary home uniforms and blue jerseys as alternates; both have bold white numbers and white shoulder stripes. White jerseys with red numbers and stripes are used on the road. These jerseys are paired with either gray pants with red and blue stripes or white pants with red stripes.

Typically, Ole Miss uses one of two helmet designs. The Rebels’ primary helmet is navy blue with a single red stripe and “Ole Miss” written in script on each side. The other helmet's blue is a lighter color, a shade known as “powder blue.”

In 2017, Ole Miss used special helmets for a military-appreciation game against Louisiana and a rivalry game against LSU. The military appreciation helmets were the same as the primary navy design, except the logo on each side of the helmet was filled with an American flag design.[30] The helmets worn against LSU were powder blue with jersey numbers on each side, similar to a design worn by the Rebels in the 1960s.[31]

RivalriesEdit

Mississippi StateEdit

 
Ole Miss and MSU meet in the 1975 Egg Bowl

The Battle for the Golden Egg (nicknamed the Egg Bowl) is the Rebels' last game of the season against in-state SEC rival Mississippi State University (MSU). The teams have played each other 114 times since 1901, and the first game officially known as "The Battle of the Golden Egg" was in 1927.[32] While it is called a "Bowl", the game is not a postseason bowl game but a regular season SEC game. Twenty-nine Egg Bowls have been played on Thanksgiving Day.[33] Ole Miss leads the series with 62-46-6.

In 2014, the game gained much more national attention due to the postseason implications the game possessed. Mississippi State entered the game with a #4 ranking in College Football Playoff, and had a spot in the Playoff on the line entering the game against #19 Ole Miss. MSU also had a chance at making the SEC title game, where they needed a win and an Alabama loss. In an upset, Ole Miss beat the Bulldogs 31–17 and jumped from #19 to #9 in the College Football Playoff rankings. Both schools got New Year's Six bowl games. Ole Miss would later vacate this win due to NCAA violations.

Ole Miss entered the 2015 Egg Bowl with a #18 ranking in the College Football Playoff rankings, and MSU was #21. The game was considered to be a play-in game for the Sugar Bowl. Ole Miss entered the game as only two point favorites but won the Egg Bowl convincingly 38–27 and led by 25 points at halftime. This was Ole Miss's first road win against Mississippi State since 2003, and the first time that the Rebels beat the Bulldogs two years in a row since 2003–04.

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 several matchups had conference, and at times, national title implications. Since then, the rivalry has only had one contest with significant national title implications. The 2003 loss to LSU decided the SEC Western Division Champion, and helped propel LSU to a national championship.

The student bodies at both universities created a trophy for the LSU–Ole Miss rivalry in 2008, and renamed the matchup the "Magnolia Bowl." Ole Miss won the first two official Magnolia Bowls in 2008 31–13 and 2009 25–23.[34] LSU won their first official Magnolia Bowl in 2010 with a last minute score, 43–36.

The 2010s featured several memorable Magnolia Bowls. LSU humiliated the Rebels 52–3 at Oxford in 2010.Les Miles ordered third-string quarterback Zach Mettenberger to take a knee four times after LSU gained a first-and-goal at the Ole Miss 1-yard line with five minutes to play. The Rebels lost the 2012 Magnolia Bowl 35-41 during the last minute of the game when LSU's Jeremy Hill scored a 1 yd touchdown run. On October 19, 2013 an unranked Rebel team beat the #6 ranked Tigers 27-24 on a last-second 46-yard field goal. In 2014, Ole Miss entered with a #3 ranking.. #24 LSU pulled the upset by beating the Rebels 10–7 on a last–minute interception thrown by Rebels' quarterback Bo Wallace.In 2015, #22 Ole Miss upset #15 LSU 38–17, which was Ole Miss's largest margin of victory over LSU since 1992.

LSU leads the overall series over Ole Miss 59–41–4, but since the creation of the Magnolia Bowl, the series is tied, 4–4.

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.

The two teams have played each other annually since 1981. In the 1980s, Arkansas dominated the Rebels. The 1990 meeting between the two teams ended memorably. Having the ball inside the Ole Miss 20 and trailing by 4 with seconds remaining, Arkansas needed a score. The Hogs handed the ball to running back Ron Dickerson who seemed to have an open path to the endzone. At the goal line, Safety Chris Mitchell stopped Dickerson at the one yard line as time expired. In 1991, Arkansas joined the Southeastern Conference. The next year the SEC divided into two divisions. Both teams were placed in the SEC West. Ole Miss won the first conference contest in Little Rock by a score of 17–3.

During the 2000s, the rivalry was reignited by a series of close games and coaching changes. The 2001 Ole Miss–Arkansas game set a NCAA record for most overtime periods played (7). Arkansas won that game 58–56 off a 2-point Rebel conversion that got stopped just short of the goal-line. Since then, five FBS football games have reached seven overtime periods. In November 2007, Houston Nutt resigned as the head coach for Arkansas and was hired as Ole Miss' head coach a week later. 2008 saw the first game between Ole Miss and Arkansas after Nutt left Arkansas to coach Ole Miss. The Rebels kicked a field goal with less than 3 minutes remaining to go up 23–14, but Arkansas scored with a minute left. Arkansas was awarded with the recovery of an onside kick, but received a penalty for offensive pass interference before turning the ball over on downs. Ole Miss and Nutt won 23–21. The following season, Ole Miss won 30–17 led by running-back Dexter McCluster who had over 200 all purpose yards, including a 60 yd touchdown in the 3rd quarter. In 2010, Arkansas finally beat their former coach Houston Nutt after a 38-24 game in Fayetteville. In 2015, the Rebels 52-53 loss to Arkansas saw them fall out of first place in the SEC West and lose the division.

AlabamaEdit

The Alabama–Ole Miss football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Ole Miss Rebels. Both universities are founding members of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), and have competed in the SEC Western Division since the 1992 season.

It has been one of the conference's most lopsided rivalries. Alabama leads the series 48–11–2 (50–9–2 without NCAA vacations and forfeits). From 2004–2013, Alabama won every game between the two teams, including six wins by double digits. However, in 2014, #11 Ole Miss beat #3 Alabama 23-17 for the first time since 2003. Ole Miss cornerback Senquez Golson sealed the victory with an interception in the fourth quarter. The victory catapulted Ole Miss to #3 in the AP Poll, their highest ranking since 1964. In 2015, Ole Miss visited Alabama as double digit underdogs. The Rebels upset the #2 Crimson Tide 43-37 for their second ever victory in Tuscaloosa. This marked the first time Ole Miss had beaten Alabama in back to back seasons. Following the upset, Ole Miss jumped to #3 in the AP Poll, marking the first time that Ole Miss had been ranked in the top three in consecutive seasons since 1963–64.

VanderbiltEdit

Vanderbilt and Ole Miss have played annually since 1942. When the SEC split into divisions in 1992, the Commodores and Rebels were selected as permanent cross-division rivals. Ole Miss leads the all-time series 50–39–2. The Rebels have won 16 of the last 24 games, including nine games by double digits. However, Vanderbilt has sustained the rivalry with a surprising blow-out victory over the Rebels in 2016.

AuburnEdit

Auburn leads the series 33–10 through the 2019 season.[35]

MemphisEdit

The Ole Miss–Memphis football rivalry has also been a far less competitive rivalry series. The Rebels hold a 49–12–2 advantage over the Tigers in this non-conference series. The two schools have met 62 times from 1921 to 2019.

Ole Miss won every game between 2005-2009, and the teams temporarily suspended competition from 2010 to 2013. The rivalry was resumed in 2014. Ole Miss won the game 24–3 to increase their winning streak against Memphis to six straight. In 2015, The Tigers upset #13 Ole Miss, 37–24. The Rebels fell 11 spots in the AP Poll to No. 24 and Memphis entered the rankings at #18.[36] It was the Tigers' first victory over a ranked team since defeating No. 6 Tennessee in 1996. Memphis won the most recent matchup 15–10 on August 31, 2019. As of 2020, there are no future games scheduled between the two teams.[37]

TulaneEdit

Ole Miss and Tulane have been rivals since the time that Tulane was an SEC member. Ole Miss leads the series 41–28 through the 2018 season.[38] The teams are next scheduled to meet on September 21, 2021 in Oxford, with future games also scheduled for 2023 in New Orleans and 2025 in Oxford.[37]

Team of the CenturyEdit

In 1992, to commemorate the 100th year of Ole Miss football, the Ole Miss Athletic Department put together a so-called "Team of the Century," recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of 26 players.[39]

The head coach for the Team of the Century was Johnny Vaught, who coached Ole Miss from 1947–70 and again in 1973.

OffenseEdit

Position Player Years Hometown
QB Archie Manning 1968–70 Drew, MS
RB Charlie Conerly 1942, 46–47 Clarksdale, MS
John "Kayo" Dottley 1947–50 McGehee, AR
Charlie Flowers 1957–59 Marianna, AR
E Floyd Franks 1968–70 Biloxi, MS
Barney Poole 1942, 47–48 Gloster, MS
C Dawson Pruett 1987–90 Mobile, AL
OL Jim Dunaway 1960–62 Columbia, MS
Gene Hickerson 1955–57 Atwood, TN
Stan Hindman 1963–65 Newton, MS
Everett Lindsay 1989–92 Raleigh, NC
Marvin Terrell 1957–59 Indianola, MS

DefenseEdit

Position Player Years Hometown
DL Frank "Bruiser" Kinard 1935–37 Jackson, MS
Kelvin Pritchett 1988–90 Atlanta, GA
Ben Williams 1972–75 Yazoo City, MS
LB Tony Bennett 1986–89 Alligator, MS
Kenny Dill 1961–63 West Point, MS
Larry Grantham 1957–59 Crystal Springs, MS
Freddie Joe Nunn 1981–84 Noxubee Co., MS
DB Billy Brewer 1957–59 Columbus, MS
Glenn Cannon 1967–69 Gulfport, MS
Chris Mitchell 1987–90 Town Creek, AL
Jimmy Patton 1952–54 Greenville, MS
Todd Sandroni 1987–89 Shaw, MS

Special TeamsEdit

Position Player Years Hometown
PK Robert Khayat 1957–59 Moss Point, MS
P Jim Miller 1976–79 Ripley, MS

Hall of FameEdit

College Football Hall of FameEdit

Ole Miss has nine players and two coaches in the College Football Hall of Fame.[40]

Player Position Inducted
Frank M. "Bruiser" Kinard T 1951†
Charles "Charlie" Conerly HB 1965
Barney Poole End 1974
Johnny Vaught Coach 1979
Doug Kenna QB 1984
Thad "Pie" Vann Coach 1987
Archie Manning QB 1989
Parker Hall HB 1991
Jerry Dean "Jake" Gibbs QB 1995
Charlie Flowers FB 1997
Wesley Walls TE 2014

† Charter member

‡ Played freshman year at Ole Miss, then appointed to the U.S. Military Academy where he played for Army as a sophomore, junior and senior

Pro Football Hall of FameEdit

There have been two Ole Miss players inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.[41]

Player Position Inducted
Frank M. "Bruiser" Kinard G 2007
Gene Hickerson T 1971

Helms Athletic Foundation Hall of FameEdit

[citation needed][importance?]

  • Frank M. "Bruiser" Kinard (1955)
  • Charles "Charlie" Conerly (1959)
  • Barney Poole (1966)

National Quarterback Club Hall of FameEdit

Ole Miss has one former player in the National Quarterback Club Hall of Fame.[citation needed][importance?]

  • Archie Manning (2004)

Active in the NFLEdit

TailgatingEdit

Confederate symbolsEdit

In 1972, Ole Miss' first black football player, Ben Williams, was signed and began playing. The defensive tackle, recruited out of a small school in the Delta region of Mississippi, eventually claimed All-SEC honors and had a long and successful NFL career following his stint at Ole Miss.

Since 1983[citation needed], the administration has distanced itself from Confederate symbols. In 1997[citation needed], the university student senate passed a resolution requesting fans not to display the Confederate battle flag at university athletic events. The university also banned flag poles to discourage fans from displaying the Confederate flag at football games and other athletic events after head coach Tommy Tuberville complained that the battle flag had hampered his attempts to recruit top-notch black athletes. Coaches prior to Tuberville also expressed concerns about the difficulty of recruiting black athletes.

In 2003, the school's mascot, Colonel Reb, was discontinued from official participation in athletic events by the school.[42] The school solicited ideas to replace Colonel Reb, but after an exceedingly lackluster response, decided to go without a mascot. An unofficial Colonel Reb mascot still makes appearances in The Grove, Ole Miss' tailgating area, before home games. In 2010, the university began its plan to phase out the use of Colonel Reb on official merchandise such as hats and shirts. The university has reclassified the Colonel Reb trademark as a historical mark of the university.[43] On October 14, 2010, it was announced that students, alumni and season ticket holders at the university had picked Rebel Black Bear as their new mascot.[44][45] The announcement was the result of a campus-wide vote in February and months of polling. The bear beat out two other finalists, the Rebel Land Shark and something called the "Hotty Toddy," an attempt to personify the school cheer.

On October 6, 2017, Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter announced that the new university mascot would be the Landshark, beginning with the 2018–19 season.[46][47] The black bear will be replaced by the Landshark, in reference to a celebratory hand symbol that players began using in 2008.[48][49]

Team honorsEdit

Chucky Mullins Courage AwardEdit

At the end of each spring's practices, the team plays the Grove Bowl, which pits Ole Miss players against each other. The senior defensive player who most embodies Chucky Mullins' spirit and courage receives the "Chucky Mullins Memorial Courage Award" and the right to wear Mullins' No. 38 jersey, which was otherwise retired in 2006.

Recipients
  • 1990 – Chris Mitchell
  • 1991 – Jeff Carter
  • 1992 – Trea Southerland
  • 1993 – Johnny Dixon
  • 1994 – Alundice Brice
  • 1995 – Michael Lowery
  • 1996 – Derek Jones
  • 1997 – Nate Wayne
  • 1998 – Gary Thigpen
  • 1999 – Ronnie Heard
  • 2000 – Anthony Magee
  • 2001 – Kevin Thomas
  • 2002 – Lanier Goethie
  • 2003 – Jamil Northcutt
  • 2004 – Eric Oliver
  • 2005 – Kelvin Robinson
  • 2006 – Patrick Willis
  • 2007 – Jeremy Garrett
  • 2008 – Jamarca Sanford
  • 2009 – Marcus Tillman
  • 2010 – Kentrell Lockett
  • 2011 – D. T. Shackelford
  • 2012 – Jason Jones
  • 2013 – Mike Marry
  • 2014 – D. T. Shackelford
  • 2015 – Mike Hilton
  • 2016 – John Youngblood
  • 2017 – Marquis Haynes
  • 2018 – C. J. Moore
  • 2019 – Austrian Robinson

Retired numbersEdit

Future opponentsEdit

Intra-division opponentsEdit

Ole Miss plays the other six SEC West opponents once per season.

Even numbered years Odd numbered years
Alabama at Alabama
at Arkansas Arkansas
Auburn at Auburn
at LSU LSU
at Texas A&M Texas A&M
Mississippi State at Mississippi State

Non-division opponentsEdit

Ole Miss plays Vanderbilt as a permanent non-division opponent annually and rotates around the East division among the other six schools.[50]

2021 2022 2023 2024 2025
Vanderbilt at Vanderbilt Vanderbilt at Vanderbilt Vanderbilt
at Tennessee Kentucky at Georgia Missouri at South Carolina

Non-conference opponentsEdit

Announced schedules as of April 26, 2020.[51][52]

No games currently scheduled for the 2035-2036 seasons.
2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2032 2033 2034 2037
vs. Louisville* (Atlanta) Troy Mercer Furman at USC USC Charlotte South Alabama at South Alabama at Oregon State at Virginia Tech Purdue at Purdue Virginia Tech
Austin Peay Central Arkansas at Tulane Middle Tennessee The Citadel at Charlotte Oregon State Alcorn State
Tulane at Georgia Tech Georgia Tech at Wake Forest Wake Forest Eastern Kentucky
Liberty Tulsa Louisiana–Monroe Georgia Southern Tulane Georgia State

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit