2008 Ole Miss Rebels football team

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2008 Ole Miss Rebels football
UMRebels logo (script).png
Cotton Bowl Classic Champions
Conference Southeastern Conference Western Division
Ranking
Coaches #15
AP #14
2008 record 9–4 (5–3 SEC)
Head coach Houston Nutt (1st year)
Offensive coordinator Kent Austin (1st year)
Offensive scheme Multiple; Pro Style, WildRebel
Defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix (1st year)
Base defense 4–3
Home stadium Vaught–Hemingway Stadium
(Capacity: 60,580)
Seasons
« 2007 2009 »
2008 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Eastern Division
#1 Florida x#   7 1         13 1  
#13 Georgia   6 2         10 3  
Vanderbilt   4 4         7 6  
South Carolina   4 4         7 6  
Tennessee   3 5         5 7  
Kentucky   2 6         7 6  
Western Division
#6 Alabama x   8 0         12 2  
#14 Ole Miss   5 3         9 4  
LSU   3 5         8 5  
Arkansas   2 6         5 7  
Auburn   2 6         5 7  
Mississippi State   2 6         4 8  
Championship: Florida 31, Alabama 20
# – BCS National Champion
† – BCS representative as conference champion
‡ – BCS at-large representative
x – Division champion/co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll

The 2008 Ole Miss Rebels football team represented the University of Mississippi during the 2008 college football season. The team's head coach was Houston Nutt, who served his first season in the position and replaced Ed Orgeron, who was fired after accumulating a 10–25 record at Ole Miss from 2005 to 2007. The Rebels played their seven home games in 2008 at Vaught–Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi.

Season summary[edit]

With an 8–4 regular-season record and a 5–3 mark in the SEC, head coach Houston Nutt revived a Rebel squad that was coming off four straight losing seasons and a 3–8 campaign with no conference wins in 2007. It marked the team's best improvement from one season to the next since former coach Johnny Vaught's debut in 1947. Projected to place fifth in the SEC Western Division in the pre-season, the Rebels finished second in the division, knocked off the previous two national champions on the road, #4 Florida and #18 LSU, and ended the regular season on a five-game win streak.

On December 8, the Associated Press announced that Rebels offensive tackle Michael Oher, defensive tackle Peria Jerry and kicker Joshua Sheene were selected for the first team of the Associated Press All-Southeastern team. Oher was a unanimous pick. Receiver Dexter McCluster was a second-team pick.[1] On December 9, the Southeastern Conference announced that Oher and Jerry were named to the first team of the All-SEC team selected by the 12 league coaches.[2] On December 10, the Southeastern Conference announced that Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt was named the Southeastern Conference coach of the year, sharing the award with Alabama's Nick Saban and Vanderbilt's Bobby Johnson. Michael Oher was awarded the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, given to the league’s top blocker.[3] The 2008 College Football All-America Team included Michael Oher and Peria Jerry.

Rankings[edit]

Ranking Movement
Legend: ██ Increase in ranking. ██ Decrease in ranking. ██ Not ranked the previous week.
Poll Pre Wk 1 Wk 2 Wk 3 Wk 4 Wk 5 Wk 6 Wk 7 Wk 8 Wk 9 Wk 10 Wk 11 Wk 12 Wk 13 Wk 14 Wk 15 *Final
AP NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR 25 22 20 14
Coaches NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR 25 24 15
Harris Not released NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR 24 23
BCS Not released NR NR NR NR NR NR NR 25
  • Harris Interactive publishes their final ranking on Week 15 (the end of the season), before the bowl games are played. The Bowl Championship Series final standings are released on Week 15. Neither publish a ranking or standing after the bowl games are complete.[4][5]

Schedule[edit]

Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
August 30 6:00 pm Memphis* Vaught–Hemingway StadiumOxford, MS W 41–24   56,127
September 6 2:30 pm at #20 Wake Forest* BB&T FieldWinston-Salem, NC ABC/ESPN2 L 28–30   31,986
September 13 6:00 pm Samford* Vaught–Hemingway Stadium • Oxford, MS W 34–10   52,780
September 20 6:00 pm Vanderbilt Vaught–Hemingway Stadium • Oxford, MS (Rivalry) L 17–23   51,281
September 27 11:30 am at #4 Florida Ben Hill Griffin StadiumGainesville, FL Raycom W 31–30   90,106
October 4 1:00 pm South Carolinadagger Vaught–Hemingway Stadium • Oxford, MS PPV L 24–31   54,628
October 18 2:35 pm at #2 Alabama Bryant–Denny StadiumTuscaloosa, AL (Rivalry) CBS L 20–24   92,138
October 25 6:00 pm at Arkansas Donald W. Reynolds Razorback StadiumFayetteville, AR (Rivalry) PPV W 23–21   74,168
November 1 11:30 pm Auburn Vaught–Hemingway Stadium • Oxford, MS Raycom W 17–7   57,324
November 15 1:00 pm Louisiana-Monroe* Vaught–Hemingway Stadium • Oxford, MS W 59–0   43,665
November 22 2:30 pm at #18 LSU Tiger StadiumBaton Rouge, LA (Magnolia Bowl) CBS W 31–13   92,649
November 28 11:30 am Mississippi State #25 Vaught–Hemingway Stadium • Oxford, MS (Egg Bowl) Raycom W 45–0   55,231
January 2 1:00 pm vs. #8 Texas Tech* #20 Cotton BowlDallas, TX (Cotton Bowl Classic) FOX W 47–34   88,175
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll. All times are in Central Time. Schedule Source:[6].

Game notes[edit]

Memphis[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Memphis 7 3 0 14 24
Ole Miss 14 13 7 7 41

Ole Miss opened the 2008 season with new head football coach Houston Nutt by beating state-line rival Memphis, 41–24. The game started off quick for the Rebs as Jevan Snead hit Shay Hodge for a 70 yd TD strike on the games second possession and never looked back. The game also featured the introduction of the "Wild Rebel" off of which Dexter McCluster scored a touchdown.

Wake Forest[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Ole Miss 7 7 0 14 28
#20 Wake Forest 7 3 10 10 30

Ole Miss lost 30–28 after Wake Forest kicked a 42 yard field foal with three seconds remaining in the game. In a game with several lead changes, Ole Miss took the lead with just over one minute remaining in the fourth quarter on a fourth and goal Jevan Snead touchdown pass. Wake Forest played down the field in 53 seconds, aided by 2 penalties, to set up the game winning field goal.

Samford[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Samford 7 0 0 3 10
Ole Miss 3 17 7 7 34


Vanderbilt[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Vanderbilt 14 3 0 6 23
Ole Miss 17 0 0 0 17

Ole Miss lost to the Vanderbilt Commodores in the final minute of the game as Vanderbilt forced Ole Miss' Dexter McCluster to fumble the game winning touchdown at the goal line.

Florida[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Ole Miss 7 0 17 7 31
#4 Florida 0 17 0 13 30

The Ole Miss Rebels posted its 600th win on September 27, 2008 when it defeated the Florida Gators 31–30 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida,[7] giving the season's conference champion, Florida, its only loss of the 2008 season. This was also Ole Miss' first win over a Top 5 ranked team since 1977 when the Rebels defeated Notre Dame. Notre Dame went on to win the national championship that year.

Florida went into the game undefeated at 3–0. Never trailing Ole Miss by more than a touchdown, Florida came within an extra point of tying the game at the end of the fourth quarter. Ole Miss had different plans in mind, however, as the extra point kick was blocked, and Florida was held to 30. While the defense was able to force a punt out of Ole Miss on the next possession and get the ball back inside Ole Miss territory, Florida found itself with the choice between converting a 4th-and-1 situation or attempting a long field goal. Florida opted to go for the first down, but the Ole Miss defense stopped QB Tim Tebow and he did not convert the one-yard run. The game ended as time expired during Ole Miss' ensuing possession.

Florida went on to win the their remaining regular season games and then beat, at the time #1, Alabama for the Southeastern Conference Championship. Florida also defeated #2 Oklahoma in the 2009 FedEx BCS National Championship to become National Champs.

South Carolina[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
South Carolina 3 14 7 7 31
Ole Miss 14 7 0 3 24

Following Ole Miss' win over Florida, Sports Illustrated featured Ole Miss on the cover. Then Ole Miss went on to lose to South Carolina in what many Ole Miss fans refer to as the continuation of the Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx. The last time Ole Miss was featured on the Sports Illustrated cover was in 1970. After the cover ran, which was a picture of then Ole Miss quarterback Archie Manning, Manning suffered a broken arm during the season. On more than one occasion, the Rebels had a chance to pull away, but South Carolina forced timely turnovers to keep themselves alive. In the end, the Rebs gave one too many gifts to SC and the Gamecocks were able to sneak out of Oxford with a win.

Alabama[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Ole Miss 3 0 7 10 20
#2 Alabama 7 17 0 0 24

After several early failed drives in the opening quarter, Ole Miss became the first team to score on Alabama in the first quarter, as well as the first to have a lead against the Crimson Tide. However, the Crimson Tide answered back on their next drive with a touchdown, giving Alabama a 7–3 lead to end the first quarter. Ole Miss had limited offense in the second quarter as the Tide defense held a shutout for the remainder of the half. However, the Tide offense scored 17 points with a 2-yard rush touchdown, a 41-yard field goal, and a 30-yard touchdown pass. Alabama led the Rebels 24–3 at halftime.

However, the second half was different as the Crimson Tide failed to score for the remainder of the game. Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt, who had previously coached at Arkansas, gambled on a 4th–and–goal with a fake field goal attempt, as Rob Park passed to Jason Cook for a 9-yard touchdown. Several minutes into the fourth quarter, Ole Miss again cut into Alabama's lead when Jevan Snead threw a 17-yard touchdown strike to Shay Hodge, as the Rebels trailed 24–17 after a Joshua Shene extra point. Three minutes later, Shene hit a 35-yard field goal, cutting Alabama's lead again to 24–20. A stalled drive forced Alabama punter P. J. Fitzgerald to give the ball to the Rebels with 3:03 left. The Rebels moved the ball steadily down the field over the next two minutes, however they turned it over on downs after a failed 4th–and–5 on Alabama's 43-yard line.

Arkansas[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Ole Miss 3 10 0 10 23
Arkansas 0 7 0 14 21

Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt returned to Arkansas in his first game against his former team, the Arkansas Razorbacks. Ole Miss, and Houston Nutt, won 23–21.

Auburn[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Auburn 0 0 7 0 7
Ole Miss 0 10 0 7 17


The Auburn rivalry had been running steady ever since Head coach Tommy Tubberville bolted Oxford for the plains. In his fifth, and what would be his final return trip, the Rebels were finally able to emerge as a winner. In a defensive struggle, the Rebels picked off the Tigers three times in the fourth quarter, and were able to put the game away on a Brandon Bolden touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter. The final count, Ole Miss 17 Auburn 7

Louisiana Monroe[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Louisiana Monroe 0 0 0 0 0
Ole Miss 7 31 14 7 59

Ole Miss shutout Louisiana Monroe 59–0 to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2003.

LSU[edit]

See also: Magnolia Bowl
Ole Miss at #18 LSU
1 2 3 4 Total
Ole Miss 7 14 7 3 31
LSU 0 10 3 0 13

In this 97th meeting of Ole Miss and LSU, the first time referred to as the Magnolia Bowl, Ole Miss snapped a six-game losing streak against LSU, beating the defending national champions 31–13. Ole Miss' last win against LSU was in 2001.

Mississippi State[edit]

See also: Egg Bowl
Mississippi State at #25 Ole Miss
1 2 3 4 Total
Mississippi St 0 0 0 0 0
Ole Miss 24 7 7 7 45

Ole Miss won the most lopsided Egg Bowl since the Rebels won 48–0 in 1971, by beating Mississippi State 45–0.[8][9] Only once in this game did the Mississippi State offense cross the 50-yard line into Ole Miss territory.[10] Ole Miss held MSU to just 37 total yards including minus 51 rushing yards. Ole Miss set a school record with 11 sacks. Mississippi State wide receiver Brandon McRae was carted off the field after breaking his leg in the second quarter.[11]

Cotton Bowl Classic[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
#20 Ole Miss 7 17 14 9 47
#8 Texas Tech 14 7 0 13 34

The #20 Rebels defeated the #8 Texas Tech Red Raiders 47–34 in the 2009 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic in Dallas, Texas on January 2, 2009.[12] The Red Raiders and the Rebels had met in bowl games twice before—1986 Independence Bowl and 1998 Independence Bowl—with Ole Miss winning both. The teams also met during the 2002 and 2003 regular seasons with Texas Tech winning both games of the home-and-home series.[13]

The Rebels' last bowl bid came 5 years ago and ironically in the Cotton Bowl Classic, a 31–28 victory over Oklahoma State. In this Cotton Bowl Classic, Ole Miss made its fourth appearance in the Cotton Bowl Classic, now carrying a 3–1 record. The Rebels defeated Texas Christian University 14–13 in the 1956 game and dropped a 12–7 decision to Texas in 1962.

Statistics[edit]

Team[edit]

Team Opp
Scoring 417 247
  Points per Game 32.1 19.0
First Downs 256 222
  Rushing 122 86
  Passing 124 117
  Penalty 10 19
Total Offense 5299 3994
  Avg per Play 6.2 4.7
  Avg per Game 407.6 307.2
Fumbles-Lost 20–10 21–7
Penalties-Yards 66–624 79–596
  Avg per Game 48.0 45.8
Team Opp
Punts-Yards 54-2099 78-3056
  Avg per Punt 38.9 39.2
Time of Possession/Game 30:14 29:37
3rd Down Conversions 75/173 60/187
4th Down Conversions 9/14 12/22
Touchdowns Scored 52 30
Field Goals-Attempts-Long 17–21–47 13–16–52
PAT-Attempts 52–52 28–29
Attendance 371,036 381,047
  Games/Avg per Game 53,005 76,209

Scores by quarter[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Ole Miss 113 133 80 91 417
Opponents 59 81 27 80 247

Offense[edit]

Rushing[edit]


Name GP-GS Att Gain Loss Net Avg TD Long Avg/G
McCluster,D. 13 109 697 42 655 6.0 6 40 50.4
Eason,Cordera 13 140 660 13 647 4.6 3 28 49.8
Bolden,Brandon 13 98 565 23 542 5.5 5 44 41.7
Davis,Enrique 10 64 258 14 244 3.8 3 62 24.4
Davis,Derrick 13 21 98 0 98 4.7 0 14 7.5
Wallace,Mike 13 10 97 5 92 9.2 0 18 7.1
Snead,Jevan 13 57 187 127 60 1.1 3 17 4.6
Thomas,Devin 5 5 34 0 34 6.8 0 19 6.8
Tapp,Billy 4 3 21 2 19 6.3 0 21 4.8
Summers,M. 13 2 19 0 19 9.5 1 13 1.5
Breaux,Lionel 13 3 21 5 16 5.3 0 15 1.2
Hartmann,Andy 12 1 10 0 10 10.0 0 10 0.8
Cook,Jason 13 1 1 0 1 1.0 0 1 0.1
Team 4 6 0 13 −13 −2.2 0 0 −3.3
TEAM                  
Total 13 520 2668 244 2424 4.7 21 62 186.5
Opponents 13 411 1593 481 1112 2.7 9 44 85.5

Passing[edit]

Name GP-GS Effic Att-Cmp-Int Pct Yds TD Lng Avg/G
Snead,Jevan 3 145.77 43–77–3 55.8 660 6 64 220.0
McCluster,D. 3 −100.00 0–2–1 0.0 0 0 0 0.0
Tapp,Billy 2 150.40 1–1–0 100.0 6 0 6 3.0
Bolden,Brandon 3 410.80 1–1–0 100.0 37 0 37 12.3
Total 3 143.03 45–81–4 55.6 703 6 64 234.3
Opponents 3 121.70 72–112–2 64.3 656 4 43 218.7

Receiving[edit]

Name GP-GS No. Yds Avg TD Long Avg/G
Rodriguez,J 3 10 163 16.3 1 31 54.3
Hodge,Shay 3 8 176 22.0 3 64 58.7
Wallace,Mike 3 8 151 18.9 0 42 50.3
Cook,Jason 3 4 30 7.5 0 16 10.0
Eason,Cordera 3 4 26 6.5 1 14 8.7
Breaux,Lionel 3 3 40 13.3 0 29 13.3
Bolden,Brandon 3 2 43 21.5 0 33 14.3
Harris,Gerald 3 2 20 10.0 1 16 6.7
Hartmann,Andy 3 2 11 5.5 0 8 3.7
Snead,Jevan 3 1 37 37.0 0 37 12.3
Harris,Andrew 3 1 6 6.0 0 6 2.0
Total 3 45 703 15.6 6 64 234.3
Opponents 3 72 656 9.1 4 43 218.7

Defense[edit]

Name Patrick Trahan GP 14 Tackles 141 Sacks Pass Defense Interceptions 7 Fumbles 2 Blkd
Kick
Solo Ast Total TFL-Yds No-Yds BrUp QBH No.-Yds Avg TD Long Rcv-Yds FF
Total

Special teams[edit]

Name Punting Kickoffs
No. Yds Avg Long TB FC I20 Blkd No. Yds Avg TB OB
Total
Name Punt Returns Kick Returns
No. Yds Avg TD Long No. Yds Avg TD Long
Total

Coaching staff[edit]

Name Responsibility Position Group Year Alma Mater
Houston Nutt[14] Head Coach 1st Oklahoma State University (1981)
Kent Austin Offensive Coordinator Quarterbacks 1st University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) (1986)
Tyrone Nix Defensive Coordinator Linebackers 1st University of Southern Mississippi (1995)
Kim Dameron Safeties 1st University of Arkansas (1983)
Ron Dickerson Jr. Wide Receivers 1st University of Arkansas (1996)
Mike Markuson Running Game Coordinator Offensive line 1st Hamline University (1983)
Derrick Nix Running Backs 1st University of Southern Mississippi (2002)
Tracy Rocker Defensive line 1st Auburn University (1992)
James Shibest Special Teams Coordinator Tight Ends 1st University of Arkansas (1988)
Chris Vaughn Recruiting Coordinator Cornerbacks 1st Murray State University (1998)
Andy Commer Coordinator of Video Services 1st Arkansas State University (1987)
Mike Beaumont Assistant Athletics Director for Football Operations 1st Arkansas State University (1992)
Don Decker Head Football Strength Coach 1st Evangel College (1988)
Tim Mullins Head Athletic Trainer 11th University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) (1991)
Clifton Ealy Assistant Athletics Director for Community Relations 1st University of Central Arkansas (1982)
Danny Nutt Assistant Athletics Director for Player Development 1st University of Arkansas (1985)
Ken Crain Head Equipment Manager 10th University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) (1996)

NFL prospects[edit]

Nine Ole Miss players who ended their career at Ole Miss this year were either taken in the 2009 NFL Draft or signed contracts with NFL teams. Michael Oher and Peria Jerry were first round draft picks at #23 and #24 respectively. Oher was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens while Jerry was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons. Mike Wallace was the 84th pick going to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round. Jamarca Sanford was the 231st pick going to the Minnesota Vikings in the seventh round. Additionally, Maurice Miller signed a free agent deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jason Cook signed a free agent deal with the Baltimore Ravens, the late Tony Fein signed a free agent deal with the Seattle Seahawks and later was signed by the Baltimore Ravens and later cut, Ashlee Palmer signed a free agent deal with the Buffalo Bills and Jermey Parnell signed a free agent deal with the New Orleans Saints.[15] Fein was found dead on October 7, 2009.

References[edit]