2015 Ole Miss Rebels football team

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2015 Ole Miss Rebels football
Ole Miss Rebels logo.svg
Sugar Bowl champion
Conference Southeastern Conference
Division Western Division
Ranking
Coaches No. 9
AP No. 10
2015 record 10–3 (6–2 SEC)
Head coach Hugh Freeze (4th season)
Co-offensive coordinator Matt Luke (4th season)
Co-offensive coordinator Dan Werner (4th season)
Offensive scheme Multiple
Co-defensive coordinator Dave Wommack (4th season)
Co-defensive coordinator Jason Jones (3rd season)
Base defense 4–2–5
Captain Justin Bell
Evan Engram
Mike Hilton
C.J. Johnson
Home stadium Vaught–Hemingway Stadium
(Capacity: 64,038)
Seasons
← 2014
2016 →
2015 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
East Division
No. 25 Florida x   7 1         10 4  
No. 22 Tennessee   5 3         9 4  
Georgia   5 3         10 3  
Vanderbilt   2 6         4 8  
Kentucky   2 6         5 7  
Missouri   1 7         5 7  
South Carolina   1 7         3 9  
West Division
No. 1 Alabama x$#^   7 1         14 1  
No. 10 Ole Miss   6 2         10 3  
Arkansas   5 3         8 5  
No. 16 LSU   5 3         9 3  
Texas A&M   4 4         8 5  
Mississippi State   4 4         9 4  
Auburn   2 6         7 6  
Championship: Alabama 29, Florida 15
  • # – College Football Playoff champion
  • ^ – College Football Playoff participant
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll

The 2015 Ole Miss Rebels football team represented the University of Mississippi in the 2015 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Rebels played their home games at Vaught–Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi and competed in the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). They were led by fourth-year head coach Hugh Freeze.

Previous season[edit]

The 2014 Ole Miss Rebels football team finished the regular season 9-3, with their only losses to Arkansas, Auburn, and LSU. Ole Miss knocked out two top 5 teams during the season, #3 Alabama and #4 Mississippi State. The Rebels were ranked as high at #3 in the AP Poll and were in the mix to be a part of the all-new College Football Playoff until their back-to-back losses to LSU and Auburn. At the end of the regular season the Rebels were ranked #9 in the College Football Playoff Rankings after defeating Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl. The Rebels were invited to play in the 2014 Peach Bowl against the #6 TCU Horned Frogs of the Big 12 Conference. Ole Miss fell short to the Horned Frogs in Atlanta, Georgia with a loss of 3-42.

2015 recruiting class[edit]

The 2015 Ole Miss recruiting class finished with 23 total commits, and finished in the top 20 recruiting classes of 2015 according to 247 sports. The Rebels signed seven four star recruits and fifteen three star recruits, but the only five star recruit they signed was wide receiver Damarkus Lodge.

Coaching staff[edit]

Name Position Year at Ole Miss Alma mater (Year)
Hugh Freeze Head Coach 4th Southern Miss (1992)
Matt Luke Assistant Head Coach/Co-Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line 4th Ole Miss (2000)
Dan Werner Co-Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks 4th Western Michigan (1983)
Maurice Harris Tight Ends/Recruiting Coordinator For Offense 4th Arkansas State (1998)
Grant Heard Wide Receivers 4th Ole Miss (2001)
Derrick Nix Running Backs 8th Southern Miss (2002)
Jason Jones Co-Defensive Coordinator/Cornerbacks 3rd Alabama (2001)
Dave Wommack Associate Head Coach for Defense/Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers 4th Missouri Southern State (1978)
Chris Kiffin Defensive Line/Recruiting Coordinator For Defense 4th Colorado State (2005)
Corey Batoon Special Teams Coach/Safeties 1st Long Beach State (1991)
Paul Jackson Head Strength & Conditioning Coach 4th Montclair State (2006)
Source:[1]

Schedule[edit]

Ole Miss announced its 2015 football schedule on October 14, 2014. The 2015 schedule consists of 7 home games and 5 away games in the regular season and is considered to be the 10th toughest schedule in the FBS for the 2015 season.[2] The Rebels will host SEC foes Arkansas, LSU, Texas A&M, and Vanderbilt, and will travel to Alabama, Auburn, Florida, and Mississippi State.[3]

Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
September 5 11:00 a.m. Tennessee–Martin* No. 17 Vaught–Hemingway StadiumOxford, MS SECN W 76–3   60,186
September 12 2:30 p.m. Fresno State* No. 17 Vaught–Hemingway Stadium • Oxford, MS ESPN2 W 73–21   60,302
September 19 8:15 p.m. at No. 2 Alabama No. 15 Bryant–Denny StadiumTuscaloosa, AL (Rivalry) ESPN W 43–37   101,821
September 26 6:00 p.m. Vanderbilt No. 3 Vaught–Hemingway Stadium • Oxford, MS (Rivalry) ESPNU W 27–16   60,654
October 3 6:00 p.m. at No. 25 Florida No. 3 Ben Hill Griffin StadiumGainesville, FL ESPN L 10–38   90,585
October 10 11:00 a.m. New Mexico State*dagger No. 14 Vaught–Hemingway Stadium • Oxford, MS SECN W 52–3   60,154
October 17 11:00 a.m. at Memphis* No. 13 Liberty Bowl Memorial StadiumMemphis, TN (Rivalry) ABC/ESPN2 L 24–37   60,241
October 24 6:00 p.m. No. 15 Texas A&M No. 24 Vaught–Hemingway Stadium • Oxford, MS ESPN W 23–3   60,674
October 31 11:00 a.m. at Auburn No. 19 Jordan–Hare StadiumAuburn, AL ESPN W 27–19   87,451
November 7 2:30 p.m. Arkansas No. 18 Vaught–Hemingway Stadium • Oxford, MS (Rivalry) CBS L 52–53 OT  60,680
November 21 2:30 p.m. No. 15 LSU No. 22 Vaught–Hemingway Stadium • Oxford, MS (Magnolia Bowl) CBS W 38–17   60,705
November 28 6:15 p.m. at No. 21 Mississippi State No. 18 Davis Wade StadiumStarkville, MS (Egg Bowl) ESPN2 W 38–27   62,265
January 1, 2016 7:30 p.m. vs. No. 16 Oklahoma State* No. 12 Mercedes-Benz SuperdomeNew Orleans, LA (Sugar Bowl) ESPN W 48–20   72,117
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll and College Football Playoff poll beginning Nov. 3 released prior to game. All times are in Central Time.
Schedule Source:[4]

Game summaries[edit]

Tennessee–Martin[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Tennessee−Martin 0 0 3 0 3
#17 Ole Miss 27 14 14 21 76
Overall record Last meeting Result Favorite ESPN Recap
First meeting Ole Miss by 39 Recap

Ole Miss began the 2015 campaign with a non conference game against an FCS opponent, Tennessee−Martin. The Rebels entered the season with a #17 ranking in the AP Poll and as 39.5 point favorites in their season opener. The Rebels dominated the Skyhawks in the opener from the very beginning, when running back Jaylen Walton scored Ole Miss's first points of the year on a 60-yd touchdown run only four minutes into the game. The Rebels only led 6–0, however, after a failed two point conversion. Walton would get his second touchdown of the game after he found the end zone four yards out which put the Rebels up 13–0 with 6:42 left in the first quarter. Ole Miss's first passing touchdown would occur when new Junior quarterback Chad Kelly would find Markell Pack for a 56-yd touchdown strike with 5:28 remaining, which put Ole Miss up 20–0 with one third of the first quarter left. The Rebels' final score of the first quarter would come when quarterback Ryan Buchanan would find wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo for a 15-yd touchdown strike, putting the Rebels up 27–0 at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter would feature two more passing touchdowns by the Rebels, the first of which was a surprising 31-yd touchdown pass from Ryan Buchanan to defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche with 12:35 left in the half. Second one would come when Chad Kelly would find Cody Core for a 57-yd touchdown pass to put Rebels up 41–0 going into halftime. The first points of the second half would happen when defensive back Trae Elston would intercept the Skyhawks when they were in the red zone and he would return it 93 yards for another Ole Miss score with 9:09 left in the third quarter. The next points would come when Chad Kelly would run in it from 20 yards out to put the Rebels up 55–0 with 4:56 left in the third quarter. Tennessee−Martin's first and only points of the game would come when kicker Jackson Redditt would make it 29 yards out. The Rebels led 55–3 heading into the fourth quarter. Quarterback Devante Kincade would score for the first time of the game when he found receiver DaMarkus Lodge 12 yards out to put Ole Miss up 62–3 only four and a half minutes into the fourth quarter. Ole Miss's last two touchdowns of the game would come on the ground, when Eugene Brazley would run in it from 70 yards out and D.K. Buford would find the end zone from 20 yards out. Ole Miss won the game by a final score of 76–3, which was the most points Ole Miss scored in any game since 1935.

Fresno State[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Fresno State 0 14 7 0 21
#17 Ole Miss 28 7 21 17 73
Overall record Last meeting Result Favorite ESPN Recap
2–0 2011 Ole Miss, 38–28 Ole Miss by 32½ Recap

Coming off of a strong performance in their season opener, the Rebels entered their second game of the 2015 campaign as 32.5 point favorites against Fresno State. The Rebels put up 28 points in the first quarter, which was the most points scored in a single quarter in Ole Miss history. Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly was responsible for all four of Ole Miss's touchdowns, the first one coming only three minutes into the game when Kelly found Cody Core in the end zone for a fourteen-yard touchdown strike. Kelly's next touchdown would come on the ground, when he would run it in from four yards out. The Rebels had a 14–0 with 8:26 remaining in the first quarter. Kelly's first of three touchdown passes to Quincy Adeboyejo would come from 16 yards out with 4:30 left, and the second one would soon follow when Kelly found him from 50 yards out. Ole Miss entered the second quarter with 28–0 lead. The first points of the second quarter would come when Ole Miss quarterback Ryan Buchanan would be intercepted by Shannon Edwards, and that interception would be returned for a touchdown to give the Bulldogs their first points. Kelly would come back in the game, and hit Adeboyejo once more for a 44-yard touchdown pass to put Ole Miss up 35–7 with 4:15 remaining in the half. The half's final points would be scored by the Bulldogs as time expired, when Fresno State quarterback Chason Virgil would find Josiah Blandin from nine yards out to pull to within 21 points at the break. Robert Nkemdiche would open the second half with an offensive score, after he ran the ball in from a yard out. The Ole Miss defense would score its first points when Trae Elston would intercept Virgil and return it for a 38-yard touchdown, to put Ole Miss up 49–14. Ole Miss would get its second rushing touchdown of the game when Akeem Judd ran it in from 27 yards out to put Ole Miss up 56–14. The Bulldogs, however, would score the quarter's final points when Virgil would find Marteze Waller from seven yards out to trim the lead to 56–21 heading into the final quarter of play. Ole Miss would get its only field of the game when kicker Gary Wunderlich would split the uprights to put the Rebels up 59–21, and it wouldn't be much longer before the Rebels scored once again, when running back Eugene Brazley would find the end zone from six yards out to put Ole Miss up 66–21. And it would the landshark defense of Ole Miss who would score the game's final points, when Ford Childress would intercept Virgil and return it 22 yards to win the game, 73–21. Ole Miss would become the first SEC team to ever score 70 points in back to back games.[5]

#2 Alabama[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
#15 Ole Miss 3 14 13 13 43
#2 Alabama 0 10 7 20 37
Overall record Last meeting Result Favorite ESPN Recap
10–48–2 2014 Ole Miss, 23–17 Alabama by 9 Recap

Ole Miss entered their rematch against Alabama as heavy underdogs, as the Tide were nine point favorites. However, Ole Miss would be the team who never trailed in the entire game. On the opening kickoff, Alabama fumbled the ball which led to an early Ole Miss field goal only about thirty seconds in, but that would be the only score of the first quarter. The Tide knotted the game up at 3 when Adam Griffith hit a field from twenty yards out with 12:20 left in the second quarter. The Rebels would be responsible for the game's first two touchdowns, when Jordan Wilkins ran it in from one yard on fourth and goal with 7:30 remaining in the first half. Chad Kelly would run it in next, this time from four yards out to put Ole Miss up 17–3 with 6:43 left in the half. Alabama managed to put one touchdown on the board before the half, as Ole Miss led at the half, 17–10. The first points of the second half would come on an outrageous pass from Chad Kelly to Quincy Adeboyejo from 66 yards out, to put Ole Miss up 24–10 with 12:53 left in the third quarter. Ole Miss would then tack on two Gary Wunderlich field goals, one from 34 yards out and one from 45 yards out, which put the Rebels up 30–10 with four minutes left in the third quarter. The Tide would score the quarter's final points, when quarterback Jake Coker would run it in with 1:33 left. Alabama would pull to within six points when Coker would find ArDarius Stewart from eight yards out with 12:30 left in the game. Ole Miss's next big play would come when Chad Kelly would find a wide open Cody Core for a 73-yd touchdown strike less than a minute after Alabama pulled to within six. After a failed two point conversion, The Rebels led 36–24. Ole Miss would score again when Chad Kelly found Laquon Treadwell from 24 yards out following an Alabama interception to put the Rebels up 43–24. The Tide would score with 6:36 left in the game when running back Derrick Henry would find the end zone from two yards out to bring the Tide to within 13. Alabama would also fail on a two-point conversion try, so the score remained 43–30. Alabama surprisingly recovered the onside kick that followed, and capitalized with a touchdown from Coker to Richard Mullaney with four and half minutes left. Ole Miss led 43–37. After the next Ole Miss drive stalled, Alabama got the ball back down by six points with three minutes left. Their game-winning drive, however, would be terminated by an interception from Coker. Alabama got one final chance with 31 seconds left at their own 30 yard line, but failed to get a first down. Ole Miss beat Alabama in back to back seasons for the first time ever and won in Tuscaloosa for the second time ever. Following Ole Miss's upset win, the Rebels rose to #3 in the rankings, which was the first time since 1963–64 that Ole Miss was ranked in the top 3 in back to back seasons.

Vanderbilt[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Vanderbilt 3 0 10 3 16
#3 Ole Miss 7 6 7 7 27
Overall record Last meeting Result Favorite ESPN Recap
49–38–2 2014 Ole Miss, 41–3 Ole Miss by 27 Recap

Fresh off of an upset of then No. 2 Alabama, Ole Miss entered their SEC home opener against Vanderbilt as 27 point favorites. However, the game itself was much closer than the experts, the team and the fans anticipated. Ole Miss came in with the highest offensive efficiency in country, but struggled to move the ball against a greatly improved Vanderbilt defense. Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly threw an interception on the Rebels' first drive of the game, and the team that had scored 192 points through the first three games had failed to put up any points at all through the first twelve minutes of the first quarter. The Commodores moved the ball well on their final drive of the first quarter, but settled for a field goal, as Vanderbilt went up 3–0 with 3:25 left in the opening quarter. This would become the first time all season that Ole Miss trailed in a game. However, the game's first touchdown would come from Chad Kelly to wide receiver Damore'ea Stringfellow with roughly two minutes left in the first quarter. Ole Miss would return to the red zone following a Vanderbilt punt, but because of a 10-yard holding penalty on third down, the Rebels were forced to settle for a field goal, as Gary Wunderlich scored his first points for Ole Miss of the night from 19 yards out with five and a half minutes left of the half. Vanderbilt would once again fail to consistently move the ball on their next possession, which resulted in another punt. On the ensuing drive, Ole Miss would be the team with red zone offensive difficulties, as the Rebels could not put the ball in the end zone, and settled for a field goal. That would be the final score of the half, and Ole Miss went to the locker room with a 13–3 lead. Vanderbilt opened the second half with one of their most productive drives of the game, with big passes from quarterback Johnny McCrary, as the Commodores managed a field goal from 41 yards out. Ole Miss would soon return to the red zone not much longer after, thanks to a moderately effective running game and some big plays through the air. However, the Rebels once again would fail to find the end zone, as they were forced to settle for what was seemingly a guaranteed 29 yard Gary Wunderlich field goal. However, what would've been another three points for the Rebels didn't happen due to a Nifae Lealao block on the kick. The score stalled at 13–6. Vanderbilt would produce another highly productive drive thanks to an efficient running game, this time resulting in a touchdown pass from Johnny McCrary to Ralph Webb from seven yards out with eight and half minutes left in the third quarter. With the score tied at 13–13, Ole Miss fans at the game were visibly starting to get restless as the 26.5 point underdog Vanderbilt Commodores were proving to be a worthy opponent. After Ole Miss punted on the following drive, Vanderbilt's next drive would also result in a punt. However, the Commodores' punt was blocked, which would lead to Ole Miss's second of three touchdowns in the game with 1:30 left in the third quarter. Ole Miss entered the final phase of the game with a narrow one touchdown lead. Despite many chances to force a Vanderbilt punt on third down, the Commodores managed to produce another effective drive and got deep into Ole Miss territory. Although they failed to tie the game at 20, the Commodores tightened the game by pulling to within four points with 12:25 left in the fourth quarter. After another Ole Miss drive stalled, the Commodores got the ball back and again, moved the ball very well. They once again reached the red zone, but couldn't get past the goal line. The settled for what should've been an easy field goal, but Tommy Openshaw, the Commodores' kicker, missed from 32 yards out. On Ole Miss's ensuing drive, they finally managed to move the ball much more productively than they had before. The Rebels found the end zone for a third and final time in the game, increasing their lead to 27–16 with about seven minutes left in the game. Vanderbilt's final drive, although they moved the ball decently, ended after failing to convert on fourth down. Ole Miss would get a small handful of first downs on the ensuing drive then kneel the rest of the game to seal the victory. Ole Miss improved to 4–0 on the year and 2–0 in conference play.

#25 Florida[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
#3 Ole Miss 0 0 3 7 10
#25 Florida 13 12 0 13 38
Overall record Last meeting Result Favorite ESPN Recap
12–10–1 2008 Ole Miss, 31–30 Ole Miss by 7½ Recap

Following a scare against Vanderbilt, The Rebels looked to bounce back on the road against a Florida team that had just escaped Tennessee one week earlier. Ole Miss entered the game as 7.5 point favorites, but never had the lead at any point in the game. Florida opened the scoring with 9:09 remaining in the first quarter on 36 yard touchdown pass from Will Grier to Demarcus Robinson, which would be the first passing play of 20+ yards that the Rebels have given up all year. On Ole Miss's ensuing possession, it would only a take a small handful of plays by the Florida defense to force a Jaylen Walton fumble, which would lead to Florida's second touchdown of the game and the final points of the first quarter. The extra point was no good, however, so the score remained 13–0 heading into the second phase of the game. After failing to score once again, Florida would get the ball back and would yet again find the end zone on a deep pass from Will Grier (77 yards out) to Brandon Powell in a drive that lasted less than a minute. Florida would attempt the two point conversion to make up for the missed PAT, but failed on the try, so Florida led 19–0. The Rebels would once again fail to productively move the ball on offense, so Florida regained possession once again before the half, and managed another touchdown before heading into the locker room with 20 seconds left on a pass from Grier to Antonio Callaway from fifteen yards out. Florida, once again, would attempt and fail on the two point conversion, so the score was 25–0 at halftime. After multiple miscues, failed opportunities, (a missed 29 yard field goal among them) and red zone failures, The Rebels opened up the second half in an effort to correct those mistakes. The Ole Miss defense was successful in shutting out the Florida offense in the third quarter, but the Rebels' offense would only manage a field goal with 5:25 left in the third quarter. Florida opened up the fourth quarter with a pair of field goals of the own, from 31 and 22 yards out, respectively. Florida would find the end zone once again on a Jordan Cronkrite run from one yard out, to extend Florida's lead to 38–3. Ole Miss would score their first and only touchdown on a seven-yard Markell Pack pass from Chad Kelly with 4:04 left in the game, but it was too little too late. Ole Miss would lose their first game of the year in the Swamp by four touchdowns.

New Mexico State[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
New Mexico State 3 0 0 0 3
#14 Ole Miss 17 14 14 7 52
Overall record Last meeting Result Favorite ESPN Recap
First meeting Ole Miss by 46 Recap

Following a blowout road loss in the swamp against Florida, Ole Miss saw their homecoming game against New Mexico State as an opportunity to correct the mistakes that resulted in such a lopsided loss. Ole Miss received the ball first and moved the ball very well on their opening drive, but similar to what happened multiple times in the previous two games against Florida and Vanderbilt, failed to get in the end zone and settled for an early Gary Wunderlich field goal from 21 yards out with 11:25 left in the opening quarter. On the Aggies' ensuing possession, they were able to match Ole Miss's field goal with a Parker Davidson kick of their own, from 39 yards out with 4:24 left. With the score tied 3–3, Ole Miss got the ball back and found the end zone for a second time on a Jordan Wilkins touchdown run from eleven yards out with roughly three minutes remaining in the first quarter. Ole Miss would get the ball back again in the first quarter, and found the end zone once again on a three-yard Akeem Judd as time expired. The second quarter didn't see as much scoring, as the first points of the second quarter of play didn't come until there was slightly less than six minutes left in the half, when Chad Kelly would complete his first touchdown strike to Markell Pack from 66 yards out. The Rebels managed to increase their lead to 31–3 with under two minutes remaining in the half when Chad Kelly would get his first rushing touchdown of the game from four yards out, and the Rebels took their 31–3 lead to the locker room. After another slow start by the offenses in the third quarter, the Rebels got to the end zone after nine and half minutes expired Chad Kelly found Laquon Treadwell from twenty yards out to put the Rebels up 38–3. It wouldn't be long before Ole Miss found the end zone once again, when Kelly would once again hook up with Treadwell from 37 yards out to increase their lead 45–3. The fourth quarter would only feature one score, which was by the Ole Miss offense when running back Eugene Brazley would run it in from 78 yards out. Ole Miss rebounded nicely from a very poor performance against Florida with a 52–3 victory against New Mexico State.

Memphis[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
#13 Ole Miss 14 0 10 0 24
Memphis 7 17 7 6 37
Overall record Last meeting Result Favorite ESPN Recap
48–10–2 2014 Ole Miss, 24–3 Ole Miss by 10 Recap

Ole Miss entered arguably the most anticipated game in Memphis football history as 10 point favorites and with a no. 13 ranking in the AP Poll. It didn't take long for Ole Miss's high powered offense to find the end zone, when wide receiver Laquon Treadwell threw it on a bootleg to Quincy Adeboyejo only twenty seconds into the game from 68 yards out to give the rebels the early 7–0 lead. After the ensuing Memphis drive stalled, Ole Miss received the ball again, and once again, the Rebels found the end zone thanks to their explosive offense. This time, quarterback Chad Kelly found Damore'ea Stringfellow from 23 yards out with 9:44 left in the first quarter to put the rebels up 14–0, in a game that was seemingly turning into a blowout. However, Memphis's quarterback Paxton Lynch demonstrated why he was regarded as one of the best quarterbacks in the country when he led the Tigers' offense on 65 yard drive that resulted in a touchdown on a one-yard pass from Lynch to Alan Cross with 2:12 left in the first quarter. After several drives stalled in the second quarter, Memphis managed to reach the red zone again, but settled for a 23-yard Jake Elliot field goal with 4:20 to go in the half, to pull the tigers to within four. Memphis soon regained possession following a Chad Kelly interception, and effectively moved the ball once again. Memphis found the end zone with 2:52 remaining in the half when Sam Craft ran it in from four yards out. On Ole Miss's next drive, Hugh Freeze boldly decided to go for it on their own 34 yard line, but was unsuccessful. This resulted in Memphis's final touchdown of the half when Paxton Lynch found Anthony Miller from six yards out to put the tigers up 24–14 heading into the locker room. Memphis received the ball to start the second half, and it didn't take much for Lynch to put up more points for Memphis when he found Mose Frazier from 31 yards out for another score to put Memphis up 31–14. Ole Miss, desperately needing a score, got the ball back and was finally able to move it the ball efficiently. Chad Kelly found Laquon Treadwell from six yards out to pull the rebels to within ten. Ole Miss soon received the ball once again following a Memphis punt and, with 21 seconds remaining, managed a 24-yard Gary Wunderlich field goal to pull to within seven heading into the final quarter. The fourth quarter didn't see as much action, as both offenses were inconsistent. Memphis managed to field goal from 42 yards out to make go up two possessions again, and after another Ole Miss drive stalled, got the ball back and tacked on another three point, this time from 27 yards out with 58 seconds left in the game. Ole Miss lost to Memphis for the first time since 2004 and lost to an unranked non SEC opponent for the first time since 1979. Memphis, on the other hand, beat a ranked team for the first time since 1996.

#15 Texas A&M[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
#15 Texas A&M 0 3 0 0 3
#24 Ole Miss 7 9 7 0 23
Overall record Last meeting Result Favorite ESPN Recap
1–6 2014 Ole Miss, 35–20 Ole Miss by 6 Recap

Ole Miss came into their game against Texas A&M having lost two of their last three games by 6+ points, and looked to bounce back against a high powered Texas A&M offense. Ole Miss was six point favorites despite the loss against Memphis the week before. Texas A&M received the ball first, and despite a few first downs, the aggies were forced to punt. Ole Miss's first drive of the evening featured multiple big runs and big completions, but came up empty handed when kicker Gary Wunderlich missed a 44-yard field goal. After a quick three and out by the aggie offense, Ole Miss got the ball back and capitalized on a Chad Kelly touchdown pass to tight end Evan Engram from seven yards out with 2:33 remaining in the first quarter. Texas A&M once again failed to move the ball effectively resulting in another punt, so Ole Miss got the ball back once again. Despite moving the ball relatively well, the rebels settled for a 41-yard Wunderlich field goal and went up 10–0. On Texas A&M's ensuing possession, running back Tra Carson fumbled and the rebels recovered, giving Ole Miss good field position at the Texas A&M 33 yard line. This led to another Gary Wunderlich field goal, this time from 30 yards out, to put Ole Miss up 13–0. Each team's next drive stalled and Texas A&M received the ball again with four minutes left in the half, and managed a Taylor Bertolet field goal from 44 yards out to pull to within 16–3, which would be the halftime score. Each team's first two drives resulted in punts, which ran off the first five minutes of the half. Ole Miss got the ball with ten minutes left, and Chad Kelly completed a deep pass to receiver Laquon Treadwell from 58 yards out which resulted in a touchdown, putting Ole Miss up 23–3. The rest of the third quarter featured multiple punts by both teams and a Chad Kelly interception, but no scores. Texas A&M had the ball to open up the final quarter, but following one Kyle Allen completion for –2 yards and two other incompletions, the aggies were forced to punt. Ole Miss's opening drive of the fourth quarter nearly mirrored Texas A&M's, as it also resulted in a punt. On Texas A&M's next drive, despite moving the ball relatively well, failed to convert on fourth down, and Ole Miss got the ball back. The rebels' ensuing possession would end very quickly when Donovan Wilson would intercept Chad Kelly with 6:51 left in the game. Texas A&M, once again, failed to convert on fourth down, and Ole Miss was able to kneel the rest of the game, giving the rebels their second consecutive win and their first ever home win against the aggies.

Auburn[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
#19 Ole Miss 3 7 10 7 27
Auburn 3 7 3 6 19
Overall record Last meeting Result Favorite ESPN Recap
10–29 2014 Auburn, 35–31 Ole Miss by 8½ Recap

Following a 23–3 drubbing of Texas A&M, Ole Miss looked to keep its SEC West title hopes alive with a road win against Auburn. The Rebels received the ball to open the game and despite making it to the red zone, the Rebels were forced to settle for a 27-yard Gary Wunderlich field goal to open up the scoring with a 3–0 lead. The next score would come from the Tigers who received the ball with very good field position, but failed to get a first down. The Tigers would still be able to attempt a field goal from 52 yards out despite not getting a first down thanks to where they started on the field. Kicker Daniel Carlson made it from 52 yards out, tying the game at with 3 with four minutes remaining in the first quarter. It wouldn't take much time in the second quarter for the Tigers to get their next score, as quarterback Sean White hit Ricardo Louis from 47 yards out for a score, which was White's first touchdown pass of the year. The Rebels were able to tie the game at 10, however, when running back Akeem Judd ran it in from 25 yards out with four minutes remaining in the first half. The Rebels went to the locker room tied 10–10 with the Tigers. Ole Miss received the ball to begin the second half, and offensive red zone struggles continued when the Rebels had to settle for a field from 37 yards out from Wunderlich, giving the Rebels a 13–10 lead. On Auburn's next possession, they would experience the same difficulties, when kicker Carlson would tie the game up at 13 with a 23-yard kick with just under four minutes remaining in the third quarter. Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly would get his first touchdown pass of the day when he found Derrick Jones from 45 yards out to put Ole Miss up 20–13 with just under two minutes remaining in the third. A pair of Carlson field goals would soon follow, from 33 and 26 yards out respectively with twelve minutes left in the game. Kelly would find receiver Laquon Treadwell from 21 yards out to put Ole Miss up by eight with ten minutes remaining. Throughout the rest of the game, Auburn would fail to find the end zone, giving the Rebels the 27–19 victory.

Arkansas[edit]

1 2 3 4OT Total
Arkansas 7 10 14 148 53
#18 Ole Miss 7 10 14 147 52
Overall record Last meeting Result Favorite ESPN Recap
28–32–1 2014 Arkansas, 30–0 Ole Miss by 7½ Recap

Ole Miss entered their matchup against Arkansas as seven and a half point favorites in a game that would end up being a shootout. Arkansas received the ball first and quarterback Brandon Allen found receiver Drew Morgan from 31 yards out to give the Razorbacks the early 7–0 lead with 4:46 remaining in the first quarter. On Ole Miss's ensuing possession, running back Jaylen Walton found the end zone from three yards out, tying the game at 7, which would be the quarter's last points. The next score would come near the midway point in the second quarter, when Allen would find Dominique Reed from fifteen yards out to put the Razorbacks back up by a touchdown. On Ole Miss's ensuing possession, quarterback Chad Kelly would run the ball in the end zone from eleven yards out to tie the game at fourteen. Arkansas kicker Cole Hedlund would get in on the action on the Razorbacks' ensuing possession, when he made his longest kick of the season from 45 yards out. The Rebels were able to do just enough on their final drive of the half when kicker Gary Wunderlich made a 37-yard field goal as time expired. Chad Kelly would get his first passing touchdown of the game when he would find receiver Damore'ea Stringfellow from 23 yards out with 13:09 left in the third quarter. The Razorbacks would respond receiver Jared Cornelius would catch a touchdown pass from Allen from 30 yards out to tie the game once again at 24. Kelly would lead another successful Rebels' drive and would end it himself when he ran it in from three yards out to put the Rebels up 31–24 with seven and a half minutes left. The Razorbacks would soon tie it up again, this time at 31 with running back Kody Walker would find the end zone from three yards out. Arkansas would regain the lead when Drew Morgan would catch a pass from Brandon Allen from ten yards out, to put Arkansas up 38–31 shortly after the fourth quarter began. Ole Miss receiver Laquon Treadwell would catch a pass from seventeen yards out to tie it at 38, and the Rebels would finally get a defensive stop which led to another Ole Miss touchdown, this time it would Kelly finding Quincy Adeboyejo from eighteen yards out with roughly five minutes remaining. Arkansas, however, would score the game-tying touchdown when Allen would find Reed from seventeen yards out with 53 seconds left, and the game went to overtime. Ole Miss received the ball to start, and Chad Kelly would find the end zone on an eight-yard run to put Ole Miss up 52–45. On Arkansas's ensuing possession, the Razorbacks were faced with a 4th and 25, and the game was seemingly over. However, following a lateral pass, running back Alex Collins found a hole in the Ole Miss defense and was able to convert. This was followed by an Arkansas touchdown and a successful two point conversion, which gave Arkansas the 53–52 OT win, stunning a sellout crowd in Vaught–Hemingway Stadium.

#15 LSU[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
#15 LSU 0 7 10 0 17
#22 Ole Miss 3 21 14 0 38
Overall record Last meeting Result Favorite ESPN Recap
40–59–4 2014 LSU, 10–7 Ole Miss by 7 Recap

Following a bye week, Ole Miss looked to rebound following a devastating home loss to Arkansas which set a rift in Ole Miss's chances at winning the SEC West. The Rebels entered the Magnolia Bowl having lost ten of their last thirteen games against the Tigers, but won two of their last three home games in this series. The Rebels opened with a 32-yard field goal by Gary Wunderlich two minutes into the game, and following solid defensive play in the remainder of the first quarter the Rebels brought their 3-point lead into the second phase of the game, where running back Jaylen Walton ran it in from two yards out with 12:30 to go in the half. The next score would come from quarterback Chad Kelly, who also would run it in, this time from six yards out. This put Ole Miss up 17–0. The Tigers once again failed to productively move the ball offensively, and when the Rebels got the ball back, they would once again score to take a commanding 17–0 lead. The Ole Miss defense would once again keep the Tigers from scoring, which ultimately led to yet another Ole Miss touchdown, putting the Rebels up 24–0. Brandon Harris, the LSU quarterback made one big play right before the half, finding Tyon Johnson from 39 yards out to pull to within 24–7 going into the locker room. LSU opened scoring in the second half only two minutes in, when kicker Trent Domingue hit a 43-yard field goal to pull the Tigers to within two touchdowns. The ensuing kickoff would be fumbled by Ole Miss return man Jaylen Walton, which set the Tigers up deep in Ole Miss territory. With roughly ten minutes remaining the quarter, LSU running back Leonard Fournette fumbled the ball on the way to a score, but William Clapp of LSU recovered the ball in the end zone to secure the touchdown, which put LSU down only by one touchdown. The Rebels would pull away once again, however, when quarterback Chad Kelly led a very productive drive which resulted in the quarterback running the ball in the end zone for a second time to put Ole Miss back up by two touchdowns, 31–17 with seven and a half minutes remaining. Ole Miss seemingly secured the victory when Kelly found tight end Evan Engram on a 3rd & 14 from 36 yards out for a score, putting Ole Miss up 38–17 at the end of the third quarter. The fourth quarter would feature no scoring, and Ole Miss went on to win by that score.

#21 Mississippi State[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
#18 Ole Miss 21 7 3 7 38
#21 Mississippi State 0 3 10 14 27
Overall record Last meeting Result Favorite ESPN Recap
62–43–6 2014 Ole Miss, 31–17 Ole Miss by 2 Recap

Following a blowout victory over rival LSU, Ole Miss looked to make it two in a row again Mississippi State, who they had lost to four of the six times. They were also looking to get their first win in Starkville since 2003, and hoping to beat the Bulldogs twice in a row for the first time since 2003–04. Following a fumble by Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott, Ole Miss went up first when quarterback Chad Kelly ran the ball in from 27 yards out to go up 7–0. The Ole Miss defense kept the Bulldogs from scoring and provided its offense with another opportunity to score, which they did when Kelly found receiver Damore'ea Stringfellow from two yards out to go up 14–0. The defense of Ole Miss would put up its first points when defensive back Tony Bridges intercepted Prescott and took ran it back for a touchdown to give the Rebels a commanding 21–0 lead. On the Bulldogs' first productive possession (which was also the first drive of the second quarter) they found the red zone but ultimately settled for a field goal to pull to within 18 points. On Ole Miss's next drive, Kelly once again found Stringfellow, with just under 11 minutes to go in the half from 36 yards out. Ole Miss would take their 28–3 lead into the locker room. Mississippi State found the end zone on the first drive of the second half on a one-yard Prescott run to cut the lead to 28–10, on kept an explosive Ole Miss offense out of the end zone the ensuing drive. Mississippi State found the red zone again, but had to settle for a field goal, cutting the lead to 28–13. The Rebels followed with a Gary Wunderlich 48 yard field goal to close out the third quarter, which gave the Rebels a 31–13 lead entering the final phase of the game, where they struck first when running back Jordan Wilkins ran it in from 39 yards out. Mississippi State responded when Prescott found Malik Dear from 13 yards out, and once again found Dear nearly eight minutes later to cut the lead to only 11 points. But, with less than two minutes left, it was too little too late, as Ole Miss secured a 38–27 victory, their first win in Starkville since 2003 and the first time they beat LSU and Mississippi State in the same season since 2008. This win catapulted Ole Miss 6 spots in the College Football Playoff rankings to #12, and ultimately got them a Sugar Bowl birth.

#16 Oklahoma State[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
#16 Oklahoma State 3 3 7 7 20
#12 Ole Miss 10 24 7 7 48
Overall record Last meeting Result Favorite ESPN Recap
2–0 2010 Ole Miss, 21–7 Ole Miss by 7½ Recap

Ole Miss ended the regular season on a high note, beating rivals LSU and Mississippi State both in the same season since 2008. The late season victories got them a second consecutive New Year's Six bowl berth, this time playing the Allstate Sugar Bowl for the first time since 1970 and with a #12 ranking in the College Football Playoff. The Rebels were seven and a half point favorites entering the game over #16 Oklahoma State. Ole Miss got the ball to start, and the Cowboys' defense intercepted Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly on the first Rebel possession, which led to a Ben Grogan 26–yard field goal to put the Cowboys up 3–0 with roughly five minutes left in the first quarter. Ole Miss got the board with 2:20 remaining in the first quarter with a field goal of their own from kicker Gary Wunderlich, from 34 yards out. The Rebels would wrap up scoring in the first quarter when Kelly found a wide open Cody Core from 31 yards out to give Ole Miss the 10–3 lead at the end of the quarter. It wouldn't be much longer before the explosive Ole Miss offense found the end zone again, when Kelly found top receiver Laquon Treadwell from 34 yards out with 11 and a half minutes left in the half to put the Rebels up 17–3. Kelly would soon find Treadwell again, this time from 10 yards out with just under seven minutes remaining to put Ole Miss up 24–3. Kicker Gary Wunderlich would be the next scorer for the Rebels, making a 38 yards field goal with 3:44 left in the half. The Cowboys would score next with a field goal of their own, form 31 yards out with a minute and a half remaining. Ole Miss would end the first half with a surprising touchdown pass from Kelly to offensive lineman, Laremy Tunsil as time expired, putting Ole Miss up 34–6 at the half. The Rebels would open up scoring in the second when running back Jordan Wilkins ran it in from 36 yards out with roughly four and half minutes left in the third quarter, putting Ole Miss up 41–6. Oklahoma State scored its first touchdown of the game when quarterback J.W. Walsh ran it in from two yards out with 1:11 left in the quarter. Kelly, for a third time in the game, would find Treadwell. This time from 14 yards out with 13:04 left in the game. The Cowboys ended scoring in the game when J.W. Walsh ran it in from eight yards out with three minutes left, giving the Rebels the 48–20 victory. Ole Miss finished ranked at #10 in the final AP Poll, their first top–ten finish since 1969 in what was arguably Ole Miss's best season since the Johnny Vaught era.

Rankings[edit]

Ranking movements
Legend: ██ Increase in ranking. ██ Decrease in ranking.
NR = Not ranked. RV = Received votes. ( ) = First place votes.
Week
Poll Pre 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Final 
AP 17 17 15 3 (11) 3 (10) 14 13 24 19 19 RV 25 19 16 16 10 
Coaches 15 14 11 5 5 (1) 13 12 23 21 19 RV 25 19 17 15 9 
CFP Not released 18 NR 22 18 13 12 Not released

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Football Coaching Staff". Ole Miss Athletics. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  2. ^ Wallace, David (February 18, 2015). "Ranking College Football's 25 Hardest Schedules for 2015". Bleacher Report. Retrieved September 28, 2015. 
  3. ^ "2015 Ole Miss Football Schedule Unveiled" (Press release). University of Mississippi Department of Athletics. October 14, 2014. Retrieved October 18, 2014. 
  4. ^ "2015 Ole Miss Rebels Football Schedule". FB Schedules. Retrieved October 18, 2014. 
  5. ^ https://www.si.com/game/9963961/box-score