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Ole Miss Rebels 2018 Ole Miss Rebels football team First season 1893Athletic director Ross BjorkHead coach Matt Luke
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). 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. The Rebels posted their 600th win on September 27, 2008 when they defeated the Florida Gators 31–30.
Throughout the 115-year history of Ole Miss football, the Rebels have won six Southeastern Conference titles (1947, 1954, 1955, 1960, 1962, and 1963) and claim three national titles (1959, 1960, 1962). The team is currently coached by Matt Luke, who was interim head coach in 2017 and led the Rebels to a 6-6 record, including an Egg Bowl win over Mississippi State.Contents
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 Matt Luke, who took over the role in an interim capacity prior to the 2017 season after the resignation of Hugh Freeze.Johnny Vaught era (1947–1970, 1973) 1947 Ole Miss media guide featuring Charlie Conerly (left) and coach Johnny Vaught (right)
Johnny Vaught, a line coach at Ole Miss in 1946 under Harold Drew and a former All-American at Texas Christian University (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.
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 10–0 and as national champions.
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.Billy R. Kinard era (1971–1973)
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 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)
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 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 September 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. Cooper is now the assistant head coach and offensive line coach at Benedictine Military School in Savannah, Ga.Steve Sloan era (1978–1982)
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 Brewer era (1983–1993)
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)
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 – even going so far as to say "They'll have to take me out of here in a pine box" -, agreed 2 days later to become the head coach at SEC West rival Auburn University.David Cutcliffe era (1998–2004)
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) 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. 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.
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 Nutt era (2008–2011) Houston Nutt
On November 27, 2007, Houston Nutt was hired as the new head football coach of the Ole Miss Rebels. 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. 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."
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.
On November 7, 2011 it was announced that Coach Nutt would resign from the position of head coach at Ole Miss. His resignation became official once the season came to a close as he finished his final 3 games at the university.Hugh Freeze era (2011–2017)
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, one that 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. 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 perhaps their best season overall since they went 10–0 in 1962 during the Vaught era.Matt Luke era (2017– )
On July 20, 2017, Freeze resigned amidst an NCAA investigation and the discovery of his use of a university cell phone to call an escort service. 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.Conference affiliations
Ole Miss has been affiliated with the following conferences.:179
Ole Miss has been selected National Champions three times by NCAA-deemed Major Selectors.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 Johnny Vaught Billingsley, Football Writers, DeVold, Dunkel, Football Research, NCF, Williamson 10–0–1 Sugar Bowl Rice W 14–6 #2 #3 1962 Johnny Vaught Billingsley, Litkenhous, Sagarin 10–0 Sugar Bowl Arkansas W 17–13 #3 #3
The major wire service polls of the time (Associated Press & United Press), named Syracuse the National Champion in 1959, Minnesota in 1960, and USC in 1962.Conference championships
Ole Miss has won six SEC championships.Season Conference Coach Overall record Conference record 1947 SEC Johnny Vaught 9–2 6–1 1954 SEC Johnny Vaught 9–2 5–1 1955 SEC Johnny Vaught 10–1 5–1 1960 SEC Johnny Vaught 10–0–1 5–0–1 1962 SEC Johnny Vaught 10–0 6–0 1963 SEC Johnny Vaught 7–1–2 5–0–1 Divisional championship
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 Result 2003† SEC West N/A –
† Co-championsHead coaches
Ole Miss has had 37 head coaches in over a century of play. :181Coach 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 24–26 Hugh Freeze 2012–2016 39–25 Matt Luke† 2017–present 6–6
† Includes interim status.Bowl games Eli Manning
Ole Miss has participated in 37 bowl games, with the Rebels having a record of 24–13. 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 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 Milestones
Ole Miss currently utilizes 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 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 option is the same as the navy, except it is a lighter color, a shade known as “powder blue.”
In 2017, Ole Miss also 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. 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.Rivalries Mississippi State Bulldogs This section is too long. Consider splitting it into new pages, adding subheadings, or condensing it. (August 2018) Ole Miss and MSU meet in the 1975 Egg Bowl Main article: Egg Bowl
The Battle for the Golden Egg (nicknamed the Egg Bowl) is the Rebels biggest game of the year against in-state SEC rival 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 113 times, the first game officially known as "The Battle of the Golden Egg" was in 1927. 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 62 wins to MSU's 46 wins. There have been 6 ties. The Egg Bowl has not been as much in the spotlight as other college football rivalries, but as of late, the game has gained more national attention.
In 2012, which was Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze's first Egg Bowl, Ole Miss beat #25 Mississippi State to clinch their first bowl game since 2009. The following year, Mississippi State reclaimed the Golden Egg with an overtime win in Starkville, by beating the Rebels, 17–10.
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 Ole Miss, who was ranked #19. This marked only the fifth time in the rivalry's history that both teams entered the game ranked. 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 took back the Golden Egg and jumped from #19 to #9 in the College Football Playoff rankings. Both schools got New Year's Six bowl games.
Ole Miss entered the 2015 Egg Bowl with a #18 ranking in the College Football Playoff rankings, and MSU was #21, which marked the first time ever that both teams entered the game ranked two seasons in a row, and it was only the sixth time in this rivalry's history that this was accomplished. The game was considered to be a play-in game for the Sugar Bowl, which is the most prestigious SEC bowl destination other than the College Football Playoff. This was also the final home game for Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott, who is widely regarded as the best player in MSU football history. 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 it was the first time that the Rebels beat the Bulldogs two years in a row since 2003–04.
Going into the 2016 Egg Bowl, both teams had gone through disappointing seasons. MSU had already clinched bowl ineligibility at 4–7 and Ole Miss was 5–6, and needed to win the game in order to become bowl eligible. Ole Miss was an eight-point favorite over the Bulldogs and had won the last two meetings, but Mississippi State thoroughly routed Ole Miss 55–20 in Oxford, marking the first time the Rebels had lost at home to the Bulldogs since 2010. The loss resulted in a 5–7 season for the Rebels, and was the first time in Hugh Freeze's tenure at Ole Miss that they would fail to clinch a bowl berth.
Neither team has experienced much recent success on the road in this rivalry, as Ole Miss has won six of their last eight home games against MSU and the Bulldogs have won four of their last six home games against Ole Miss.LSU Tigers This section is too long. Consider splitting it into new pages, adding subheadings, or condensing it. (August 2018) Main article: Magnolia Bowl
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. 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, which was LSU's first win in the series since the creation of the Magnolia Bowl.
The 100th meeting of the series in 2011 was forgettable for the Rebels in every regard. LSU humiliated the Rebels 52–3 at Oxford, and could have made the score even more lopsided if not for Tigers coach Les Miles ordering 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. 2012 issued another Bayou Classic with LSU winning 41–35 via a 1 yd TD plunge by Jeremy Hill with less than one minute to go in the contest.
On October 19, 2013 the much-favored ranked number 6 LSU Tigers faced off against a Rebel team that had just came off a three-game losing streak to defeat the Tigers 27–24 on a last-second 46-yard field goal. 2014 was another very memorable classic; however, this one featured better defensive play by both teams. Ole Miss entered with a #3 ranking and as favorites in Baton Rouge for the first time since 1999. #24 LSU pulled the upset by beating the Rebels 10–7 on a last–minute interception thrown by Rebels' quarterback Bo Wallace, which catapulted LSU ten spots in the AP Poll.
In 2015, Ole Miss entered the game with a #22 ranking in the College Football Playoff while the Tigers were #15. However, Strong offensive production by Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly and turnovers forced by the Ole Miss defense led the Rebels to a 38–17 rout of the Tigers, 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.Arkansas Razorbacks This section is too long. Consider splitting it into new pages, adding subheadings, or condensing it. (August 2018) Main article: Arkansas–Ole Miss football rivalry
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 Rebels; however, the 1990 edition produced one of 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 pitched 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 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 after Houston Nutt resigned as the head coach for Arkansas, only to be hired as Ole Miss' 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. Ole Miss returned the favor in 2012 by traveling to Little Rock and scoring a last-second FG to win 30–27.
In 2013, Arkansas went to Oxford to play the Rebels in a game where the Razorbacks were heavy underdogs, and the Rebels were fresh off of an upset win over then-no. 6 LSU and a blowout win over Idaho. Ole Miss won decisively, beating the Razorbacks by ten points, 34–24. The next year, in 2014, Ole Miss entered as favorites again and with a #8 ranking against an Arkansas team who had a record of 5–5 and needing a win to clinch a bowl game. Due to poor offensive production and multiple injuries, the Rebels got blown out by the Razorbacks in Fayetteville, 30–0, which sent Ole Miss tumbling eleven spots in the College Football Playoff rankings to #19.
The 2015 game in this series was of particular importance to Ole Miss because at the time of the game, the Rebels controlled their own destiny in the SEC West, and were once again big favorites over the Razorbacks. This game featured multiple lead changes, and needed overtime to decide a winner. In the extra period, Ole Miss scored the first touchdown, which put Arkansas in a situation where they needed to also needed to score a touchdown to avoid a loss. The Razorbacks were faced with a 4th & 25, and quarterback Brandon Allen found tight end Hunter Henry who caught the ball short of the first down, but heaved it backwards before being tackled. The ball was recovered by running back Alex Collins who ran it for 31 yards and converted the fourth and 25. On the next play, the Razorbacks scored a touchdown and instead of tying the game with an extra point, they decided to go for the win by going for the two point conversion. The Rebels appeared to have won the game by stopping the two point attempt, but a facemask penalty gave the Razorbacks another try. Arkansas converted, winning the game 53–52 in one of the most heartbreaking losses in Hugh Freeze's tenure at Ole Miss.Alabama Crimson Tide This section is too long. Consider splitting it into new pages, adding subheadings, or condensing it. (August 2018) Main article: Alabama–Ole Miss football rivalry
The Alabama–Ole Miss football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Alabama Crimson Tide football team of the University of Alabama and Ole Miss Rebels football team of the University of Mississippi. Both universities are founding members of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), and both have competed in the SEC Western Division since the 1992 season.
It has been one of the conference's most lopsided rivalries, with Alabama officially leading the series 48–11–2 (50–9–2 without NCAA vacations and forfeits). From 2004–2013, Alabama won every single game in this rivalry, six of which were won by double digits.
In 2014, however, Ole Miss got its first win over Alabama since 2003 when the #11 Ole Miss Rebels got one of their most signature victories in the history of their football program by beating then–no.3 Alabama, 23–17. The game was sealed by an interception by Ole Miss cornerback Senquez Golson and catapulted Ole Miss to third in the AP Poll, their highest ranking since 1964.
The very next year, Ole Miss played Alabama as nearly double digit underdogs, having won only one road game against Alabama in the history of their program, in 1988. Ole Miss once again managed to upset the second–ranked Crimson Tide, 43–37, thanks in part to an explosive Rebel offense led by quarterback Chad Kelly in a game where the Rebels never trailed and led by as many as twenty points and as many as nineteen in the fourth quarter. This marked the first time Ole Miss had beaten Alabama in back to back seasons, and, following this upset Ole Miss once again jumped to #3 in the AP Poll, marking the first time since 1963–64 that Ole Miss had been ranked in the top three in consecutive seasons.Vanderbilt Commodores This section is too long. Consider splitting it into new pages, adding subheadings, or condensing it. (August 2018) Main article: Ole Miss–Vanderbilt football rivalry
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. Though Vanderbilt won the first 18 games in the rivalry, Ole Miss leads the all-time series 50–39–2. As of late, this rivalry hasn't gotten as much attention as other rivalries in the SEC as the Rebels have won 16 of the last 24, nine of which were won by double digits. However, the rivalry continues to grow following Vanderbilt's surprising blow-out victory over the Rebels in 2016.
In 2008, the Rebels entered their game against the Commodores looking to get their 600th all–time win, but Vanderbilt beat the Rebels in Oxford, 23–17, just one week before Ole Miss's monumental upset against fourth-ranked Florida Gators on the road. In 2009, Ole Miss entered their matchup against Vanderbilt coming off of an upset loss to South Carolina, which sent them from #4 in the rankings to #21. The Rebels rebounded from a loss to the Gamecocks by beating Vanderbilt 23–7, their first win against the Commodores after two straight losses.
Vanderbilt would win the next three games in this series, two of which were by double digits. The 2012 matchup was one where the Commodores won and the Rebels were in search of their sixth win to become bowl–eligible for the first time since 2009, but the Commodores beat the Rebels in heartbreaking fashion, 27–26. The next season, in 2013, Ole Miss was looking to end its three-game losing streak against the Commodores, and did so successfully, beating Vanderbilt 39–35 in a thriller. This put the Rebels in the rankings at #25 the next week which was the first time Ole Miss was ranked since 2009. In 2014, Ole Miss blew out Vanderbilt, 41–3 in Nashville.
In 2015, Ole Miss entered with a #3 ranking and were 26 point favorites against Vanderbilt. However, the Commodores stingy defense challenged Ole Miss, and although they couldn't quite win, they tested the Rebels in a game Ole Miss won 27–16. This was Ole Miss's first home win against Vanderbilt since 2006.
In 2016, Vanderbilt beat Ole Miss 38-17 at Vanderbilt Stadium. Vanderbilt scored 31 unanswered points to defeat the Rebels after the Commodores trailed 17-7 early in the 2nd quarter. Powered by 123 rushing yards from current all-time Vanderbilt rushing yards leader Ralph Webb, the Commodores beat the Rebels to snap a three-game skid in the series.Memphis Tigers Main article: Memphis–Ole Miss football rivalry
The Ole Miss–Memphis football rivalry has also been a far less competitive rivalry series. The Rebels hold a 48–11–2 advantage over the Tigers in the series. The two schools have met 60 times from 1921 to 2014.
This rivalry was temporarily terminated from 2010 to 2013, with Ole Miss winning every game in 2005–09. The rivalry was resumed in 2014 when Ole Miss entered ranked No. 10 in the AP Poll and Memphis was unranked and heavy underdogs. The Rebels played host to the Tigers, and although Memphis played Ole Miss competitively through the first three quarters, the Rebels ultimately pulled away in the fourth quarter after only holding a 7–3 after the end of the third. Ole Miss won the game 24–3 to increase their winning streak against Memphis to six straight.
The 2015 game of this rivalry was of particular importance, especially to Memphis. This was one of the most anticipated games in the history of Memphis football as they hosted then–no. 13 Ole Miss. It appeared as if the Rebels were going to blow out the Tigers after taking a 14–0 lead in the first quarter, but Memphis answered with 24 straight points before halftime. The Tigers extended their lead to 31–14 after scoring on the first possession of the third quarter, and held on to their lead for the rest of the game, upsetting Ole Miss, 37–24. The Rebels fell eleven spots in the AP Poll to No. 24 and Memphis entered the rankings at #18. It was the Tigers' first victory over a ranked team since defeating No. 6 Tennessee in 1996. The next game between the two teams will be hosted by Memphis on August 31, 2019.Team of the Century
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 27 different players. (The term "team" is used loosely, as 12 and 13 players were chosen to represent offense and defense, respectively, rather than 11, which would reflect the number of players on the field.)
The head coach for the Team of the Century was Johnny Vaught, who coached Ole Miss from 1947–70 and again in 1973.Offense Position Player Years Hometown QB Archie Manning 1968–70 Drew, MS RB Charlie Conerly 1942, 46–47 Clarksdale, MS RB John "Kayo" Dottley 1947–50 McGehee, AR RB Charlie Flowers 1957–59 Marianna, AR E Floyd Franks 1968–70 Biloxi, MS E Barney Poole 1942, 47–48 Gloster, MS C Dawson Pruett 1987–90 Mobile, AL OL Jim Dunaway 1960–62 Columbia, MS OL Gene Hickerson 1955–57 Atwood, TN OL Stan Hindman 1963–65 Newton, MS OL Everett Lindsay 1989–92 Raleigh, NC OL Marvin Terrell 1957–59 Indianola, MS Defense Position Player Years Hometown DL Frank "Bruiser" Kinard 1935–37 Jackson, MS DL Kelvin Pritchett 1988–90 Atlanta, GA DL Ben Williams 1972–75 Yazoo City, MS LB Tony Bennett 1986–89 Alligator, MS LB Kenny Dill 1961–63 West Point, MS LB Larry Grantham 1957–59 Crystal Springs, MS LB Freddie Joe Nunn 1981–84 Noxubee Co., MS DB Billy Brewer 1957–59 Columbus, MS DB Glenn Cannon 1967–69 Gulfport, MS DB Chris Mitchell 1987–90 Town Creek, AL DB Jimmy Patton 1952–54 Greenville, MS DB Todd Sandroni 1987–89 Shaw, MS Special Teams Position Player Years Hometown PK Robert Khayat 1957–59 Moss Point, MS P Jim Miller 1976–79 Ripley, MS Hall of Famers
Ole Miss has eleven former players and coaches in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Ole Miss has two former players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Ole Miss has three former players in the Helms Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame.
Ole Miss has one former player in the National Quarterback Club Hall of Fame.
Ole Miss has had 20 players selected in the first round of professional football drafts.National Football League
2009 marks the first time in school history Ole Miss has had two players taken in the first round of the same NFL draft.American Football League
Since 1983, the administration has distanced itself from Confederate symbols, including barring faculty from displaying any Confederate imagery in their offices. In 1997, 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 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.
In 2003, the school's mascot, Colonel Reb, was discontinued from official participation in athletic events by the school. 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. 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. 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. The black bear will be replaced by the Landshark, in reference to a celebratory hand symbol that players began using in 2008.Chucky Mullins Courage Award
Each spring, during the annual Grove Bowl (a game at the end of spring practices pitting 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". The recipient also receives jersey number 38, the number Mullins wore at Ole Miss, and wears it for the coming season. Officially, the jersey is considered to be retired as Ole Miss did so during the 2006 season but the team continues to use it to honor Mullins.
Ole Miss plays Vanderbilt as a permanent non-division opponent annually and rotates around the East division among the other six schools.2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2034 2025 at Vanderbilt vs Vanderbilt at Vanderbilt vs Vanderbilt at Vanderbilt vs Vanderbilt at Vanderbilt vs Vanderbilt vs South Carolina at Missouri vs Florida at Tennessee vs Kentucky at Georgia vs Missouri at South Carolina Non-conference opponents
Announced schedules as of August 16, 20172019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 at Memphis vs Baylor* vs Louisville* vs Troy vs Mercer (FCS) vs Furman (FCS) vs The Citadel (FCS) vs Southern Illinois (FCS) vs SE Louisiana (FCS) vs Southeast Missouri (FCS) vs Austin Peay (FCS) vs Central Arkansas (FCS) at Tulane at Wake Forest vs Wake Forest vs Kent State vs California vs Middle Tennessee vs Tulane at Georgia Tech vs Georgia Tech vs Tulane vs Louisiana-Monroe vs New Mexico State vs Georgia Southern vs Liberty vs Tulsa