2016 Ole Miss Rebels football team

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2016 Ole Miss Rebels football
Ole Miss Rebels logo.svg
Conference Southeastern Conference
Division Western Division
2016 record 5–7 (2–6 SEC)
Head coach Hugh Freeze (5th season)
Co-offensive coordinator Matt Luke (5th season)
Co-offensive coordinator Dan Werner (5th season)
Offensive scheme Tempo
Co-defensive coordinator Dave Wommack (5th season)
Co-defensive coordinator Jason Jones (4th season)
Base defense Multiple
Home stadium Vaught–Hemingway Stadium
(Capacity: 64,038)
Seasons
← 2015
2017 →
2016 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
East Division
No. 14 Florida x   6 2         9 4  
No. 22 Tennessee   4 4         9 4  
Georgia   4 4         8 5  
Kentucky   4 4         7 6  
South Carolina   3 5         6 7  
Vanderbilt   3 5         6 7  
Missouri   2 6         4 8  
West Division
No. 2 Alabama x$^   8 0         14 1  
No. 24 Auburn   5 3         8 5  
No. 13 LSU   5 3         8 4  
Texas A&M   4 4         8 5  
Arkansas   3 5         7 6  
Mississippi State   3 5         6 7  
Ole Miss   2 6         5 7  
Championship: Alabama 54, Florida 16
  • ^ – College Football Playoff participant
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll

The 2016 Ole Miss Rebels football team represented the University of Mississippi in the 2016 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Rebels played their home games at the newly renovated Vaught–Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi and competed in the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). They were led by fifth-year head coach Hugh Freeze in what would turn out to be his final season with the Rebels.[1] They finished the season 5–7, 2–6 in SEC play to finish in last place in the Western Division.

Previous season and offseason[edit]

2015 season[edit]

Ole Miss's 2015 season began with easy victories over FCS foe UT-Martin and the Mountain West's Fresno State, and continued their momentum by defeating then-no.2 Alabama on the road, which would become the signature victory of the Rebels' 2015 campaign. Ole Miss then rose to no.3 in the AP Poll, and although they were heavy favorites in their next matchup against Vanderbilt, they struggled mightily, but ultimately emerged victorious. They Rebels maintained their no.3 ranking before getting blown out by Florida on the road and fell to no.14 before bouncing back against New Mexico State. The Rebels entered their next game with a #13 ranking against rival Memphis, in what was one of the most anticipated in the history of Memphis football. Ole Miss, despite being double digit favorites, lost by 13 points, causing them to fall 11 spots in the rankings to no.24. The Rebels followed with two wins against SEC West opponents Texas A&M and Auburn and climbed to no.18 in the rankings and controlled their own destiny the SEC West, but a heartbreaking loss to Arkansas the following week caused them to fall to second place in the SEC West and to fall out of the rankings for the first time since the 2013 season. However, Ole Miss finished the regular season with double digit wins over ranked SEC Rivals LSU and Mississippi State and rose to no.12 in the College Football Playoff poll, which earned them a Sugar Bowl berth for the first time since 1970, where they defeated no.16 Oklahoma State and ultimately finished ranked no.10 in the AP Poll, their first top-ten finish since 1969.

NCAA investigation[edit]

The offseason was a controversial one for the Rebels, where an ongoing NCAA investigation dominated college football headlines. The investigation began prior to the start of the 2015 season, where Ole Miss star offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil was arrested on charges of domestic violence after allegedly assaulting his stepfather, Lindsey Miller. Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze announced that Tunsil was defending his mother, Desiree Tunsil. A police report that was released days after the incident stated that Miller claimed Tunsil was "riding around with football agents" and that when a deputy arrived at the scene of the incident, "Tunsil and the agents" left in a yellow convertible. Days later, NCAA officials interviewed Miller about allegations of multiple violations of rules by the Ole Miss football program; Hugh Freeze later dismissed the possibility of a violation of rules, saying he's confident his program "always does the right thing". In August 2015, Tunsil and Miller agreed to drop charges against each other and sign dismissal forms. However, Tunsil was suspended from the first seven games of the 2015 season, making his debut against Texas A&M. In October 2015, Ole Miss announced that Tunsil used three loaner vehicles over a six-month period without payment, among other impermissible benefits. Only a few days later, an NCAA investigation of Louisiana Lafayette revealed that former Ole Miss coach David Saunders may have potentially committed violations while at Ole Miss. Saunders allegedly helped five recruits receive fraudulent ACT scores at Wayne County High School, lied to the NCAA about his involvement and failed to cooperate with the subsequent investigation. He also allegedly gave a total of $6,500 to a player over the course of two semesters while at Louisiana Lafayette. In January 2016, after the Rebels' Sugar Bowl victory over Oklahoma State, Ole Miss received a notice of allegations from the NCAA. However, Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork stated that the majority of the violations occurred before his arrival at Ole Miss and before the hiring of Hugh Freeze. In February, Bjork said that the NCAA has completed its investigation of Ole Miss's football program, and also stated that he did not expect a "second letter" from the NCAA concerning additional violations and that Freeze was not named by the NCAA in any wrongdoing. At this point, the investigation was seemingly coming to an end, but on the night of the NFL Draft, Laremy Tunsil's Instagram account was hacked, and a video of him smoking a bong fashioned out of a gas mask is posted, as well as photos of text messages where Tunsil asks for money from an Ole Miss administrator. When asked if he ever received money while at Ole Miss, Tunsil admitted that he did, in fact, receive money. As a result of the investigation, Ole Miss self-imposed an 11-scholarship reduction over the course of four seasons. Along with the reduction of scholarships, the school has also suspended two unnamed assistants from recruiting, fined itself $159,352 and required current staff to go through additional training on NCAA rules and policy. In August 2016, it was announced that NCAA investigators have interviewed players at rival SEC schools about their recruitment by Ole Miss. NCAA Enforcement representatives have visited Auburn and Mississippi State, along with perhaps one other unnamed SEC West school during the summer of 2016. The players were granted immunity from possible NCAA sanctions in exchange for truthful accounts of their recruitment.[2][3]

2016 recruiting class[edit]

The 2016 National Signing Day was Wednesday, February 3, 2016. The Rebels signed a total of 24 prospects to a letter of intent, headlined by 5-star quarterback Shea Patterson and 5-star offensive tackle Gregory Little and 5 star defensive tackle Benito Jones. According to 247Sports.com. The Rebels' 2016 recruiting class is considered to be the best in school history, surpassing the 2013 class.[4]

Coaching staff[edit]

Name Position Year at Ole Miss Alma mater (Year)
Hugh Freeze Head Coach 5th Southern Miss (1992)
Matt Luke Assistant Head Coach/Co-Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line 5th Ole Miss (2000)
Dan Werner Co-Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks 5th Western Michigan (1983)
Maurice Harris Tight Ends/Recruiting Coordinator For Offense 5th Arkansas State (1998)
Grant Heard Wide Receivers 5th Ole Miss (2001)
Derrick Nix Running Backs 9th Southern Miss (2002)
Jason Jones Co-Defensive Coordinator/Cornerbacks 4th Alabama (2001)
Dave Wommack Associate Head Coach for Defense/Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers 5th Missouri Southern State (1978)
Chris Kiffin Defensive Line/Recruiting Coordinator For Defense 5th Colorado State (2005)
Corey Batoon Special Teams Coach/Safeties 2nd Long Beach State (1991)
Paul Jackson Head Strength & Conditioning Coach 5th Montclair State (2006)

Schedule[edit]

Ole Miss announced its 2016 football schedule on October 29, 2015. The 2016 schedule consists of 7 home games, 5 away games and 1 neutral site game in the regular season. The Rebels will host SEC foes Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, and Mississippi State, and will travel to Arkansas, LSU, Texas A&M, and Vanderbilt.[5]

The Rebels hosted three of its four non–conference games against Georgia Southern from the Sun Belt Conference, Memphis from the American Athletic Conference and Wofford from the Southern Conference. Ole Miss started the season at a neutral site in Orlando, Florida on Labor Day against Florida State of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
September 5 7:00 p.m. vs. No. 4 Florida State* No. 11 Camping World StadiumOrlando, Florida (Camping World Kickoff) ESPN L 34–45   63,042
September 10 3:00 p.m. Wofford* No. 19 Vaught–Hemingway StadiumOxford, Mississippi SECN W 38–13   64,232
September 17 2:30 p.m. No. 1 Alabama No. 19 Vaught–Hemingway Stadium • Oxford, Mississippi (Rivalry) CBS L 43–48   66,176‡
September 24 11:00 a.m. No. 12 Georgia No. 23 Vaught–Hemingway Stadium • Oxford, Mississippi ESPN W 45–14   65,843
October 1 6:00 p.m. Memphis*dagger No. 16 Vaught–Hemingway Stadium • Oxford, Mississippi (Rivalry) ESPN2 W 48–28   65,889
October 15 6:00 p.m. at No. 22 Arkansas No. 12 D.W.R. Razorback StadiumFayetteville, Arkansas (Rivalry) ESPN L 30–34   73,786
October 22 8:00 p.m. at No. 25 LSU No. 23 Tiger StadiumBaton Rouge, Louisiana (Magnolia Bowl) ESPN L 21–38   101,720
October 29 6:15 p.m. No. 15 Auburn Vaught–Hemingway Stadium • Oxford, Mississippi SECN L 29–40   65,927
November 5 11:00 a.m. Georgia Southern* Vaught–Hemingway Stadium • Oxford, Mississippi ESPNU W 37–27   60,263
November 12 6:30 p.m. at No. 10 Texas A&M Kyle FieldCollege Station, Texas SECN W 29–28   104,892
November 19 7:00 p.m. at Vanderbilt Vanderbilt StadiumNashville, Tennessee (Rivalry) SECN L 17–38   27,763
November 26 2:30 p.m. Mississippi State Vaught–Hemingway Stadium • Oxford, Mississippi (Egg Bowl) SECN L 20–55   66,038
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll released prior to game. All times are in Central Time.
Schedule Source:[6]
  • ‡ New Vaught–Hemingway Stadium attendance record.

Game summaries[edit]

#4 Florida State[edit]

Ole Miss vs. Florida State
(Camping World Kickoff)
1 234Total
#11 Rebels 7 2106 34
#4 Seminoles 3 10239 45
  • Favorite: Florida State by 4.5
Overall Record Previous Meeting Previous Winner
1–0 October 7, 1961 Ole Miss, 33–0

The 11th ranked Ole Miss Rebels began their first game of the 2016 campaign with a fast start. The rebels' quarterback Chad Kelly drove the explosive Rebel offense to an early score on the first drive of the game, where Kelly found receiver Damorea'ea Stringfellow in the end zone from 3 yards out, taking only one minute and forty-six seconds off the clock. Freshman quarterback Deondre Francois led the Seminoles to the red zone on the first possession of his college career, but the Seminoles settled for a 25-yd field goal as time expired in the first quarter. The Ole Miss offense started off strong in the second quarter as well, when Kelly found freshman receiver D. K. Metcalf for his second touchdown pass of the game from three yards out with 12:42 remaining in the half to take a 14–3 lead. After a stop by the Rebel defense, Ole Miss got the ball back and extended their lead to 21–3 when Kelly found star tight end Evan Engram from 21 yards out with 9:42 remaining in the half. On the ensuing FSU drive, the Seminoles converted multiple first downs and reached the red zone for only the second time of the night. Francois found star running back Dalvin Cook open for what seemed to be a sure touchdown, but Cook dropped the ball out of bounds short of the goal line, causing the Seminoles to settle for a field goal from 21 yards out, cutting the lead to 21–6. Ole Miss wasted little time scoring another touchdown, when running back Akeem Judd found the end zone from 11 yards out to increase the Rebel lead to 28–6 with a little more than three minutes remaining in the first half. On the ensuing drive, Francois gave the Seminoles momentum when he found Travis Rudolph from 16 yards out as time expired at the half, giving the Rebels a 28–13 lead going into the locker room. Following halftime adjustments, Florida State dominated the third quarter, beginning with a Ricky Aguayo field goal from 40 yards out. Following an interception thrown by Kelly, the Seminoles scored their first touchdown of the half with a Freddie Stevenson run from one yard out to cut the deficit to 28–23. On the ensuing Rebel possession, Kelly fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Florida State, and they scored another touchdown on the ensuing drive. Following a failed two point conversion attempt, the Seminoles had a 29–28 lead with 9:17 left in the third quarter. Following another fumble recovery by the Seminoles, FSU had another opportunity to score again, which they did with a Deondre Francois pass to Ryan Izzo from two yards out, giving the Seminoles a 36–28 lead with 4:12 left in the third quarter. After the following Ole Miss drive stalled, Florida State got the ball to begin the fourth quarter. The Seminoles were forced to settle for a field goal, which Aguayo made from 40 yards out, giving FSU a 39–28 lead. Ole Miss finally found some momentum on offense when Kelly led the Rebels to their first touchdown since the first half, when he found Van Jefferson from 20 yards out. Following a failed two point conversion, Florida State's lead remained 39–34. Ole Miss got the ball back following two FSU field goals from Aguayo from 44 and 30 yards out, respectively. With an 11-point deficit and the game on the line, Kelly and the Rebel had one final opportunity to possibly win the game, but the game was sealed by an interception thrown by Kelly with roughly two and a half minutes left in the game, in what was the biggest comeback win in FSU football history.

Wofford[edit]

Wofford @ Ole Miss
1 234Total
Terriers 0 3010 13
#19 Rebels 10 1477 38
  • Favorite: Ole Miss by 43
Overall Record Previous Meeting Previous Winner
First Meeting

Ole Miss entered their home opener against FCS foe Wofford in what was the Rebels' first home game since the renovation of Vaught–Hemingway Stadium. The Rebels, looking to bounce back from a crushing defeat to Florida State a week ago, began with a fast start against the Terriers, going up 10–0 roughly halfway through the first quarter thanks a 40-yd. Gary Wunderlich field goal and a touchdown pass from Chad Kelly to Markell Pack. Wofford, despite running the ball relatively well in the opening quarter, failed to score any points. Ole Miss's momentum continued in the second quarter when Kelly found freshman receiver D.K. Metcalf from ten yards out only one minute and ten seconds into the second quarter. On the ensuing drive, the Terriers finally found some offensive momentum, and drove deep into Ole Miss territory but ultimately settled for a 29-yd. David Marvin field goal with four and a half minutes remaining in the half, cutting Ole Miss's lead to two touchdowns. The final score of the first half came when Kelly found receiver Quincy Adeboyejo from six yards out to put the Rebels up 24–3 at the half. After an extended halftime due to a brief weather delay, the third quarter began with Wofford receiving the ball and despite driving deep into Ole Miss territory, the Terriers came up scoreless after failing to convert a 4th and 2 from the Ole Miss 23 yard line. After a lengthy Ole Miss drive, the Rebels found the end zone again when quarterback Jason Pellerin ran it in from six yards out to increase Ole Miss's lead to 31–3 with 5:07 remaining in the third quarter. After a combined four punts by both teams, Wofford would find the end zone for the first time of the game when quarterback Brad Butler ran it in from 17 yards out, pulling to within three touchdowns with 10 and a half minutes left in the game. After another lengthy drive, Ole Miss would find the end zone for the last touchdown of the game when Pellerin found freshman receiver A.J. Brown from twelve yards out to extend the Rebels' lead to four touchdowns. Wafered would manage to put a field goal on the board from 50 yards out with 2:28 left, but Ole Miss went on to win 38–13.

#1 Alabama[edit]

Alabama @ Ole Miss
(Alabama–Ole Miss football rivalry)
1 234Total
#1 Crimson Tide 3 141714 48
#19 Rebels 7 17316 43
  • Favorite: Alabama by 10
Overall Record Previous Meeting Previous Winner
11–48–2 September 19, 2015 Ole Miss, 43–37

Ole Miss entered their SEC opener against the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide as double digit underdogs, despite having won the previous two meetings. The Ole Miss offense got off to a fast start, with running back Akeem Judd running it in from 23 yards out, taking only 1:53 off the clock. Alabama would get on the board with just under 6 minutes left in the first quarter, when kicker Adam Griffith made a 32-yard field goal. The next three scores would all belong to Ole Miss, starting with a Gary Wunderlich field goal from 23 yards out. Roughly three minutes later, Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly found Evan Engram from 63 yards out to put the Rebels up 17–3 with 4:40 left in the half. The Rebels would get their first defensive score of the season when Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts was sacked, and subsequently fumbled the ball. Ole Miss defensive end John Youngblood recovered and returned it 44 yards for Ole Miss's next touchdown, putting Ole Miss up 24–3. On the ensuing drive, Alabama had its most productive drive of the game to that point, getting in the red zone for only the second time and finding the end zone when Calvin Ridley found the end zone from six yards out with just over two minutes remaining in the half. After the ensuing Ole Miss drive stalled, the Rebels punted the ball and Alabama return man Eddie Jackson returned the punt 85 yards for another Alabama touchdown, in what would be the final score of the half. Ole Miss entered the second half with a 24–17 lead, and the Ole Miss defense stopped Alabama on their opening drive, forcing a punt. On Ole Miss's next possession, Chad Kelly fumbled the ball in his own end zone, and Da'Ron Payne of Alabama recovered, tying the game at 24. After another Ole Miss drive stalled, Alabama managed a field goal from 30 yards out, putting the Tide up 27–24. Ole Miss's next drive would the most productive of the second half, as the reached the red zone for the first time since the first half, but only managed a field goal from Gary Wunderlich, tying the game at 27. Alabama scored the final touchdown of the third quarter with 16 seconds left, when Bo Scarborough ran it in from a yard out, putting Alabama up 34–27 going into the final quarter of the game. Ole Miss started the fourth quarter with another productive offensive drive, but once again settled for a field goal with 13:17 remaining, cutting the Tide's lead to 4. The next two scores would belong to the Tide, however, when running back Damien Harris ran it in from a yard out. The next score happened when Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly was intercepted by Jonathan Allen and returned 75 yards for a score, putting Alabama up 48–30 and seemingly sealing the game with five and a half minutes remaining. Ole Miss scored a touchdown on its ensuing drive, cutting the Tide lead to 11. The Rebels recovered the ensuing onside kick, giving them glimmer of hope. On this possession, Chad Kelly and the Ole Miss offense scored on the first play, when Kelly found A.J. Brown from 37 yards out. The two point conversion failed, but Ole Miss appeared to be back in the game, down only by 5 points with just under three minutes left. However, Alabama was able to run the remaining time out, sealing the victory. Ole Miss lost to Alabama for the first time since 2013 and blew their second 21+ lead in two weeks.[7]

#12 Georgia[edit]

Georgia @ Ole Miss
1 234Total
#12 Bulldogs 0 077 14
#23 Rebels 17 14140 45
  • Sources: Ole Miss by 7
Overall Record Previous Meeting Previous Winner
12–32–1 November 3, 2012 Georgia, 37–10

Ole Miss fell to #23 in the AP Poll following a loss against Alabama, but entered their next game against Georgia very motivated. Georgia received the opening kickoff, and the Ole Miss defense smothered a young, injured Georgia offense on the first drive of the game. On Ole Miss's first possession, Kelly and the Ole Miss offense wasted no time finding the red zone, but had to settle for a 24-yard Gary Wunderlich field goal with 8:54 remaining in the first quarter. On the ensuing Bulldogs' possession, Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason was intercepted by Ole Miss defensive back Derrick Jones who returned it 52 yards for a score, putting Ole Miss up by 10. After another Georgia offensive possession stalled, Ole Miss capitalized with another explosive offensive drive, which ended with a D'Vaughn Pennamon 1 yard touchdown run with 2:14 left in the first quarter. Ole Miss opened up scoring in the second quarter when Chad Kelly found receiver Damarkus Lodge from 55 yards out with just under ten and a half minutes left in the half. Ole Miss ended the first half with yet another score when Kelly found tight end Evan Engram from nine yards out with only 43 seconds remaining, putting the Rebels up 31–0 going into the locker room. Ole Miss opened up scoring in the second half when Ole Miss backup quarterback Jason Pellerin found running back Eugene Brazley from five yards out put increase the Ole Miss lead to 38. After the Ole Miss defense stopped Georgia once again, the Ole Miss offense would put up another score when Kelly ran it in from 45 yards out, and extended the Rebel lead to 45–0. Georgia ended the third quarter with its first score of the game, when Brian Herrien ran it in from 10 yards out. Herrien would score the only touchdown of the fourth quarter with five minutes left, when he ran it in from one yard out, but it was too little too late, as Ole Miss went on to win 45–14, their largest margin of victory ever against Georgia and their first win against the Bulldogs since 1996.

Memphis[edit]

Memphis @ Ole Miss
(Memphis–Ole Miss football rivalry)
1 234Total
Tigers 0 7147 28
#16 Rebels 14 101014 48
  • Favorite: Ole Miss by 15.5
Overall Record Previous Meeting Previous Winner
48–11–2 October 17, 2015 Memphis, 37–24

Ole Miss entered their homecoming game against Memphis with a #16 ranking and as sixteen point favorites, and also hoping to avenge their 2015 loss to the Tigers. After a lackluster first 8 minutes, Ole Miss put the first points on the board when backup quarterback Jason Pellerin ran it in from a yard out, giving the Rebels an early touchdown lead. Ole Miss would score again in the waning seconds of the first quarter, when Zedrick Woods intercepted Memphis quarterback Riley Ferguson and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown, giving Ole Miss a two touchdown lead heading into the second quarter. Memphis's offense would find the end zone for the first time of the game when Anthony Miller ran it in from seven yards out only four seconds into the second quarter, cutting the deficit to one score. Ole Miss's offense would put together another productive drive, but stalled in the red zone and settled for 32 yard Gary Wunderlich field goal with 12:22 left in the half, extending their lead to 10. After nearly eleven straight minutes with no scoring, Ole Miss found the end zone with 1:25 left in the half when Pellerin ran it in from three yards out, which was the last score of the first half. Ole Miss entered the second half with a 24–7 lead, and would be the first team to score in the third quarter when yet another Ole Miss offensive possession stalled, and the Rebels were forced to settle for another Gary Wunderlich field goal, this one from 23 yards out, giving the Rebels a 20-point lead. Memphis would answer with a Doroland Dorceus 11 yard touchdown run, cutting the Ole Miss lead to 13. Roughly six and a half minutes would pass before the next score, when Tigers further reduced the deficit when quarterback Riley Ferguson ran it in from a yard out. Ole Miss answered with a touchdown of their own, when Kelly found tight end Evan Engram from 12 yards out with just under two minutes left in the third quarter. Ole Miss's lead extended their lead to 20 at the start of the third quarter when running back Eugene Brazley found the end zone from six yards out, putting the Rebels up 41–21. Memphis would get their final score of the game when Ferguson collected his second rushing touchdown of the game with 8:41 left from two yards out. Ole Miss would score the game's final touchdown when Brazley ran it in from 32 yards out, sealing the Ole Miss victory 48–28.

#22 Arkansas[edit]

Ole Miss @ Arkansas
(Arkansas–Ole Miss football rivalry)
1 234Total
#12 Rebels 6 14010 30
#22 Razorbacks 14 677 34
  • Favorite: Ole Miss by 10
Overall Record Previous Meeting Previous Winner
28–33–1 November 7, 2015 Arkansas, 53–52 OT

Ole Miss entered their first game off the bye week as 8 point favorites on the road against Arkansas, a team they had not beaten since 2013. Arkansas's fast-paced, uptempo offense struck first when wide receiver Dominique Reed caught a 51-yard pass from quarterback Austin Allen with only four and half minutes into the game. Ole Miss's responded with a score of their own, when Chad Kelly found tight end Evan Engram from 13 yards out only three minutes and seven seconds later, but kicker Gary Wunderlich missed the PAT, keeping Arkansas in front with a 7–6 lead. Arkansas's offense would very quickly find the end zone again, when Allen found Drew Morgan from 13 yards out with 6:08 remaining in the first quarter. The next score would come in the second quarter, when an Arkansas offensive drive stalled and the Razorbacks settled for a 43-yard Adam McFain field goal 47 seconds into the second quarter. Ole Miss would respond when Akeem Judd ran it in from two yards out with 11:50 remaining in the first half, cutting the Razorbacks' lead to four. Arkansas would settle for a field goal for a second consecutive drive with 5:21 left in the second quarter, from 36 yards out. Ole Miss closed the half with a Chad Kelly rushing touchdown from 8 yards out, tying the game 20–20 at the half. The third quarter's only score would come when Austin Allen found Rawleigh Williams III from two yards out, putting Arkansas up 27–20 heading into the final phase of the game. Early in the fourth quarter, an Ole Miss drive stalled in the red zone, forcing the Rebels to settle for a 33-yard field goal with 14:49 remaining in the game. Ole Miss would score their last touchdown of the game when Kelly ran it in from 17 yards out after an Ole Miss defensive stop, giving Ole Miss their first lead of the game. Arkansas would score the game-winning touchdown with 2:20 left when Jared Cornelius ran it in from 6 yards out. Ole Miss had an opportunity to put together a game-winning drive, but failed to get a first down, sealing Arkansas's third straight victory over the Rebels.

#25 LSU[edit]

Ole Miss @ LSU
(Magnolia Bowl)
1 234Total
#23 Rebels 10 1100 21
#25 Tigers 7 14107 38
  • Favorite: LSU by 8.5
Overall Record Previous Meeting Previous Winner
41–59–4 November 21, 2015 Ole Miss, 38–17

Ole Miss entered the 105th edition of the Magnolia Bowl as 8.5 point underdogs, looking to get their third win in four years over the Tigers. The Rebels' offense got off to a fast start, as quarterback Chad Kelly found receiver Van Jefferson from 15 yards out with 10:52 left in the first quarter, putting the Rebels up 7–0. After just over six straight minutes of no scoring, Ole Miss extended their lead to 10–0 when kicker Gary Wunderlich made a 46-yard field goal with 4:48 left in the first quarter. Ole Miss's weak run defense was exposed when LSU running back Leonard Fournette exploded for a 59-yard touchdown run 3:26 left in quarter, reducing the Rebels' lead to 10–7. LSU would take the lead early in the second quarter when quarterback Danny Etling would find D.J. Chark from 40 yards out, putting the Tigers up 14–10. Ole Miss's ensuing possession would stall in the red zone, forcing them to settle for another Gary Wunderlich field goal, this time from 22 yards out with 7:11 left in the first half. On LSU's next drive, Fournette once again took advantage of Ole Miss's ineffective run defense, this time exploding for a 76-yard score with 6:11 left in the half, giving the Tigers an 8-point lead. Ole Miss closed the gap when running back Akeem Judd ran it in from two yards out. The subsequent two point congestion attempt would be successful, tying the game at 21 with only 11 seconds left in the second quarter, all but ending the first half. LSU opened up scoring in the second half when Leonard Fournette, had yet another big run, this time from 78 yards out, giving the Tigers a 28–21 lead with roughly eight and a half minutes left in the third quarter. Ole Miss failed to get any offsenvie momentum on their ensuing drive, as the LSU defense forced a punt. The Tigers got the ball back, but settled for a field goal from 44 yards out with just under eight and a half minutes remaining in the third quarter to extend their lead to 10, the last score of the third quarter. The fourth quarter's only score would come when LSU running back Derrius Guice ran it in from six yards out with 7:26 left in the game, all but securing an LSU victory over the Rebels, their first double digit home win against Ole Miss since 1995.

#15 Auburn[edit]

Auburn @ Ole Miss
1 234Total
#15 Tigers 10 10713 40
Rebels 13 970 29
  • Favorite: Auburn by 4.5
Overall Record Previous Meeting Previous Winner
11–29 October 31, 2015 Ole Miss, 27–19

Ole Miss, like in many games throughout the 2016 campaign, got off to a fast start. Less than four minutes into the game, quarterback Chad Kelly found Evan Engram, the tight end from 15 yards out to put the Rebels on the board first. The PAT was blocked, however, so the Rebels' lead remained 6–0. On the ensuing Auburn possession, Kamryn Pettway became the next running back to take advantage of the weaknesses of Ole Miss's run defense, exploding for a 41-yard run with roughly seven and a half minutes remaining in the opening quarter of the game. The Rebels fast-paced, uptempo offense responded with a scoring drive of their own when Kelly found receiver Damarkus Lodge from 26 yards out, giving Ole Miss the six point lead with 5:36 left in the first quarter. Auburn would score next, putting up a 45-yard Daniel Carlson field goal, giving the Rebels a 13–10 lead heading into the second quarter, which they opened with a field goal of their after an offensive possession stalled in the red zone, from 20 yards out shortly after the quarter started. Auburn retook the lead when Kerryon Johnson found the end zone from one yard out, giving the Tigers the 17–16 lead with about twelve and a half minutes left in the half. Ole Miss kicker Gary Wunderlich would put up the next points of the game, when he made a 49-yard field goal with 7:10 left, putting the Rebels back in front by 2. On the Auburn possession that followed, the Tigers' offense failed to score a touchdown after reaching the red zone, settling for another field goal, from 32 yards out with 2:50 left in the half. Ole Miss's offense would once again make it to the red zone on the following drive, but stalled once and settled for another field, from 26 yards out with only five seconds remaining, all but ending the half. After an Auburn punt on the first drive of the half, Ole Miss's offense failed to convert a fourth down in the red zone on the ensuing drive, leaving the Rebels with only a 22–20 lead. Auburn would be the next team to score after a punt by each team, when quarterback Sean White found Jalen Harris from 15 yards out with 3:11 left in the third quarter, giving Auburn a five-point lead. Ole Miss responded on the possession that followed, when Kelly found receiver Damore'ea Stringfellow from ten yards with a minute and a half left in the quarter. Ole Miss's two point lead quickly evaporated at the start of the fourth quarter, when Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson made a 30-yard field goal with 12:25 left in the game. After Ole Miss's next drive stalled, Auburn put up another field goal, this time from 47 yards out with 8:33 left in the game. After a Chad Kelly interception on the next drive, Auburn scored with 5:58 remaining when Kerryon Johnson ran it in from 3 yards out, all but sealing a win for the Tigers. Ole Miss's losing streak grew to three in a row, and this was their first double digit home loss since late 2013.

Georgia Southern[edit]

Georgia Southern @ Ole Miss
1 234Total
Eagles 14 733 27
Rebels 3 2833 37
  • Favorite: Ole Miss by 28
Overall Record Previous Meeting Previous Winner
First Meeting

Ole Miss entered their matchup against Georgia Southern looking to snap their three-game losing streak and to get back on track. The Rebels opened up scoring with a 35-yard Gary Wunderlich field goal with 9:01 left in the first quarter, to take the early 3–0 lead. The Eagles would be the ones who scored the game's first touchdown, when quarterback Kevin Ellison found Myles Campbell from 29 yards out with 5:08 remaining in the first quarter, to give the Eagles a four-point lead. Following an Ole Miss punt on the ensuing drive, Georgia Southern got the ball back and extended their lead to 14–3 when quarterback Kevin Ellison ran it in from 9 yards out with 59 seconds left in the quarter, which would be the last score of the game's opening quarter. Ole Miss reduced the 11 point deficit to 3 when quarterback Chad Kelly found the end zone from 3 yards out with 11:38 remaining in the half. The Eagles quickly responded with a score of their own when Matt Breida exploded for a 68-yard touchdown run with 10:13 left in the second quarter, pushing their lead to 21–10. On the ensuing drive, Chad Kelly found the end zone from 5 yards out, his second rushing touchdown of the game to pull the Rebels to within four once again. The Ole Miss defense forced a punt on the Eagles' following possession, giving Ole Miss an opportunity to retake the lead, which they did when running back Akeem Judd ran it in from 9 yards out with 3:36 remaining in the half. Ole Miss got the ball back again when the defense forced a second consecutive punt, and further extended their lead when Kelly found tight end Evan Engram from 38 yards out with just over two minutes remaining in the half, which would be the final score before halftime. Each team opened the second half with a punt, and it was the Eagles who struck first in the second half when kicker Younghoe Koo made a 41-yard field goal with about 3 minutes left in the quarter. After Ole Miss's offense stalled in the red zone on the following possession, kicker Gary Wunderlich responded with a field goal of his own from 29 yards out, with only 13 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Despite a relatively productive offensive performance on the following drive, the Eagles settled for yet another field goal with 12:09 left in the game, from 38 yards out, reducing the deficit to a touchdown. Ole Miss extended the lead to 10 once again with 7:14 left in the game, which would be the game's final points scored. Ole Miss snapped its three games losing streak with a double digit win in their first ever meeting with Georgia Southern.

#10 Texas A&M[edit]

Ole Miss @ Texas A&M
1 234Total
Rebels 3 3023 29
#10 Aggies 7 1407 28
  • Favorite: Texas A&M by 7
Overall Record Previous Meeting Previous Winner
2–6 October 24, 2015 Ole Miss, 23–3

Ole Miss freshman quarterback Shea Patterson made his debut as the Rebels' starting quarterback after getting the redshirt pulled following a season-ending injury suffered by Chad Kelly. Each team's first drive stalled, with Ole Miss being forced to punt after a three-and-out on the game's opening drive and with Texas A&M being stopped on the 4th down and 4 at the Ole Miss 34 yard line. Ole Miss struck first on the ensuing drive with a 25-yard Gary Wunderlich field goal, giving the Rebels a 3–0 lead with 5:23 left in the first quarter. On the Aggies' drive that followed, Texas A&M quarterback Jake Hubenak found a wide open Christian Kirk for a gain of 69 yards, which eventually led to the game's first touchdown when Texas A&M running back Keith Ford ran it in from six yards out, giving the Aggies a 7–3 lead with 4:49 left in opening quarter. The Aggies got the ball back again after the ensuing Ole Miss possession stalled and resulted in a punt, and scored once again when Keith Ford found the end zone a yard out, shortly after the second quarter began. Ole Miss's next drive stalled in the red zone for the second time of the night, and the Rebels settled for a 24-yard Gary Wunderlich field goal, cutting the deficit to 14–6 with 7:46 left in the first half. The Aggies extended their lead to 15 on the following drive, which was set up a 90-yard kickoff return to the Ole Miss 6 yard line and capped off with a 1-yard pass from Hubenak to Speedy Noil with 6:43 left in the second quarter, which would be the final score of the half. The Aggies got the ball with great field position to open the second half after an unsuccessful onside kick attempt by the Rebels, with the ball on the Aggies' 48 yard line. The Aggies failed to take advantage of the good field position, when the Ole Miss defense stopped the Texas A&M offense on 4th and 1. The Aggies got the ball back following a Shea Patterson interception on the next drive, but couldn't get any offensive production going, as they were forced to punt the ball back to the Rebels, but got the ball back once again following a fumble by Jason Pellerin the red zone. The remainder of the third quarter featured three punts, which preserved a 21–6 score heading into the game's final quarter. Ole Miss quickly opened scoring in the fourth quarter, however, when Patterson found receiver Damore'ea Stringfellow for a 6-yard touchdown strike with 14:50 left in the game. Ole Miss got the ball after the Aggies' drive that followed stalled, and converted the opportunity to points when running back Akeem Judd found the end zone from 21 yards out with 12:12 left in the game. The Rebels reduced the deficit to 21–19 after an unsuccessful two point conversion attempt. The Aggies responded with a score of their own when Hubenak found receiver Josh Reynolds from 13 yards out with 6:41 left in the game, extending the Aggie lead to 9. Ole Miss responded on the following drive with a 32-yard Van Jefferson touchdown reception with 5:17 left. The Aggies were forced to punt on the following possession, giving Ole Miss the ball with an opportunity to take the lead with, which they did so with a 39-yard Gary Wunderlich field goal with just 37 seconds left in the game, giving the Rebels a 1-point lead. On the Texas A&M possession that followed, Jake Hubenak was intercepted by Deontay Anderson, sealing the upset victory for the Rebels, their first win of the season against an SEC West opponent and their third consecutive win over the Aggies.

Vanderbilt[edit]

Ole Miss @ Vanderbilt
(Vanderbilt–Ole Miss football rivalry)
1 234Total
Rebels 10 007 17
Commodores 7 7177 38
  • Favorite: Ole Miss by 9.5
  • Sources:
Overall Record Previous Meeting Previous Winner
50–38–2 September 26, 2015 Ole Miss, 27–16

The Rebels will enter their rivalry matchup against the Commodores looking to get their fourth consecutive win over Vanderbilt and their third straight road win against the Commodores. Vanderbilt will be hoping to get their first home win against the Rebels since 2009.

Mississippi State[edit]

Mississippi State @ Ole Miss
(Egg Bowl)
1 234Total
Bulldogs 13 141414 55
Rebels 10 1000 20
  • Sources:
Overall Record Previous Meeting Previous Winner
63–43–6 November 28, 2015 Ole Miss, 38–27

Ole Miss will be hosting their biggest rivals, Mississippi State on senior day in Oxford having won seven of their last eight home games against the Bulldogs. Mississippi State will be looking to win in Oxford for the first time since 2010.

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 11 19 19 23 16 14 12 23 NR NR NR RV NR NR NR NR 
Coaches 12 18 17 22 17 14 13 22 RV RV NR NR NR NR NR NR 
CFP Not released NR NR NR NR NR NR Not released

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/07/20/hugh-freeze-ole-miss-resigns-matt-luke-interim-head-coach
  2. ^ Forde, Pat (August 25, 2016). "Sources: NCAA's Ole Miss Investigation expands beyone Laremy Tunsil". Yahoo! Sports. 
  3. ^ Klement, Kim (May 27, 2016). "Timeline: NCAA and Ole Miss". The Clarion Ledger. Retrieved August 25, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Ole Miss lands top quarterback, offensive lineman". Associated Press. February 3, 2016. 
  5. ^ "2016 Ole Miss Football Schedule Announced" (Press release). University of Mississippi Department of Athletics. October 29, 2015. Retrieved October 30, 2015. 
  6. ^ "2016 Ole Miss Rebels Football Schedule". FB Schedules. Retrieved October 30, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Alabama rallies, then holds on to end skid against Ole Miss". September 17, 2016. Retrieved September 24, 2016.