Sandroni.jpgBy Steven Oubre, Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations

This weekend, the School of Pharmacy at the University of Mississippi will name former Rebel football player Todd Sandroni their 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award.

From 1987-1990, Todd Sandroni stalked the football field as a free safety for head coach Billy Brewer, helping lead the Rebels to back-to-back bowl appearances his junior and senior seasons. In 1989 the Rebels defeated Air Force in the Liberty Bowl to post an 8-4 record, while the 1990 Rebels took on Michigan in the Gator Bowl to end a 9-3 year.        

A second team All-SEC selection as a freshman in 1987 by the Associated Press, Sandroni was named to the first team as a sophomore in 1988 by vote of the league's coaches. The free safety was also selected as a member of the Ole Miss Team of the Century.        

Sandroni, a Shaw, Miss.,native, excelled in the classroom as well as on the football field. Selected as an Academic All-SEC honoree all four years of his career, Sandroni earned first team Academic All-America honors as a senior. He was also awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and was named as the recipient of the CBS/Toyota Leadership Award and the National Association of Collegiate Athletics Director's Award/Disney Scholar Athlete Award.

Join alumni and friends of the pharmacy school as they celebrate this achievement with Todd and his family at the Pharmacy Weekend Awards Banquet April 16 at 6:00 p.m. at The Inn at Ole Miss Ballroom. Reserve your seat by registering online or call Faith in the alumni office at (662) 915-2322 to register over the phone.

The Journey to this Point...2016 Ole Miss Baseball

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By Tate Hawkins, Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations

In case you missed it, or you've been focused on the winter sports, Ole Miss Baseball is already five weeks into the 2016 season. After an 8-2 win over UT Martin on Tuesday, the Diamond Rebels are 20-2, tying its best 22-game start in program history.

The Rebels roll into the second weekend of SEC play and the first at Swayze after winning nine of their last 10 ballgames. Ole Miss sits in the top 10 of all six major college baseball rankings across the country, sitting as high as sixth in the Collegiate Baseball national poll and making them one of four SEC teams in the top 10.

Ole Miss got off to its hot start early by winning seven of the first eight games in Oxford, including a sweep over Florida International, taking two-of-three against then-No. 2 Louisville, as well as midweek wins against Arkansas State and Memphis. Then, the Rebels went to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to participate in the 2016 Chanticleer Classic, winning all 3 of their games. Ole Miss posted victories over Ball State, then-No. 18 Coastal Carolina, and Cincinnati outscoring the three opponents a combined 22-6.

Following the weekend road trip, it was back home to Swayze where the Rebs would continue their winning ways by picking up sweeps over Southeast Missouri and Grambling State, taking a 12-game win streak into the first weekend of SEC play.

Ole Miss opened conference play by taking two-of-three from the Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville, winning on Saturday and Sunday and bringing their record to 19-2. The Rebels followed the victorious weekend with a midweek win over UT Martin. 

The impressive start has been accredited to masterful pitching and hot hitting. The Ole Miss pitching staff boasts a club ERA of 2.42 led by weekend starters Brady Bramlett (2.03), Chad Smith (3.91), and Sean Johnson (1.96). The bullpen features relievers David Parkinson (1.35), Dallas Woolfolk (0.00) and Andy Pagnozzi (2.42), and closer Wyatt Short (0.87) who has five saves. The Rebel hitters are led by Tate Blackman (.347, 2 HR, 21 RBI), Henri Lartigue (.339, 1 HR, 9 RBI), Colby Bortles (.329, 3 HR, 19 RBI) and J.B. Woodman (.325, 4 HR, 21 RBI). The Rebels have put 20 baseballs over the walls for homers, led by J.B. Woodman and Cameron Dishon who both have hit four dingers of their own.

This weekend, the Rebels host the 20-2 South Carolina Gamecocks, who are ranked as high as No. 10, for their first home SEC series of the year. The three-game slate is set for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in observance of the Easter Sunday holiday. So dye your Easter Eggs fast and postpone the egg hunt to Sunday because the baseball needs the support of Rebel Nation for this weekend's big top-10 matchup. Pack Swayze and be ready for the bottom of the fifth...

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Break Out the Powder Blue

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By Tate Hawkins, Student Assistant, Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations

You've seen it all over athletics and campus. From jerseys, hats, helmets, and even to T-shirts that get tossed into the crowd. Fans have clung to this over the past few years with their attire. Now, what are you thinking about? If you're thinking of a color, then you are absolutely correct. Over the past few years, the Rebels' alternate color of powder blue has become a fan favorite. Now, the beloved color will be featured by the Ole Miss baseball team throughout the 2016 season.

Powder blue was first donned by an Ole Miss sports team during the 1948 football season when the color was on the football helmet. Worn up until 1977, then again from 1983-1994 the powder blue was beloved by Rebel fans. The color made a surprise comeback in 2014 when the Ole Miss football team wore powder blue helmets identical to the ones worn in 1989 to honor the late Chucky Mullins who lost his life after battling being paralyzed from a hit in a game against the Vanderbilt Commodores on October 28, 1989. Mullins received a wide outpouring of support from the Oxford community and Rebel fans nationwide, symbolizing the family aspect that Rebels of all ages love to this day.

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The powder blue helmets were worn four times during the 2015 football season. They were featured when the Rebels went to Tuscaloosa to beat Alabama, followed by games against Vanderbilt, Memphis, and in the Sugar Bowl victory against Oklahoma State. Then in last week's series finale against FIU, a 16-5 win, the Rebel baseball team warmed up in its traditional white with navy pinstripes before making the switch into all powder blues before taking the field. Coach Mike Bianco said that the jerseys "were something we've been planning for a while, and we're glad to see that they turned out well." Players loved them as well. J.B. Woodman described them as "the coolest uniforms in college baseball," while Wyatt Short said that he didn't "have words to describe my feelings," when the jerseys were unveiled. The powder blues were broken out again in the rubber game against No. 2 Louisville, who wore a red uniform combination that resembled the Houston Astros' jerseys during the Nolan Ryan era. Now, fans have had their own opinions of the jerseys: some love the idea, and some are not so fond of it. However, the history and tradition behind the color means more to Rebel fans than the idea of just having a cool uniform.

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If you haven't seen the jerseys I'm talking about, you have a few options to get a look for yourself. You can come out to a home game this season; the powder blues have been worn on Sunday of the first two weekend series. You can check out the pictures on the Ole Miss Baseball's social media accounts (Twitter: @OleMissBSB, Facebook: Ole Miss Baseball and Instagram: olemissbsb.). If neither of those are your forte, think Stan Musial-era St. Louis Cardinals.


Watch Six Rebels at NFL Combine on NFL Network

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Who doesn't enjoy seeing their favorite Rebels suit up on Sundays and represent Ole Miss in the National Football League?

Well, there are about to be a few more NFL Rebels to watch on TV this fall.

The Path to the Draft for six recently departed Ole Miss players begins in earnest this weekend at the 2016 NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Seniors Fahn Cooper, Cody Core and C.J. Johnson will be joined at the combine by early draft entrants and projected top picks in Robert Nkemdiche (highlight video), Laquon Treadwell (highlight video) and Laremy Tunsil (highlight video).

For those unfamiliar, the combine is where the top draft-eligible college players are invited to show off their skills in a variety of strength, conditioning and football-related drills. NFL scouts and team personnel also gather the top prospects' official measurements like height, weight, wingspan and hand size, as well as conduct interviews.

The combine takes place Friday-Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts. It will air live exclusively on the NFL Network each day.

The 2016 NFL Draft will take place April 28-30 at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago.

Tunsil, a junior left tackle, is widely considered a candidate for the Tennessee Titans' No. 1 overall selection. If that happened, he would make Ole Miss the 17th school to produce multiple No. 1 overall NFL Draft picks. Eli Manning was the top choice in 2003. Fellow juniors Nkemdiche (defensive tackle) and Treadwell (wide receiver) are also strong candidates to be selected in the first round.

Here is a breakdown of when to watch each Rebel work out on the NFL Network:

Day

Player

Jersey #

Group start time

Group #

Friday

Fahn Cooper

12 OL

8:10 a.m. CT

1

Friday

Laremy Tunsil

48 OL

10 a.m. CT

2

Saturday

Cody Core

11 WR

8:10 a.m. CT

4

Saturday

Laquon Treadwell

41 WR

10 a.m. CT

5

Sunday

Robert Nkemdiche

42 DL

10 a.m. CT

8

Sunday

C.J. Johnson

16 LB

12 p.m. CT

9


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Welcome Back to Baseball

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By Tate Hawkins, Student Assistant, Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome back to one of the best times of the year. After a wonderful fall for Ole Miss sports it's time to grab your gloves, caps, and your lawn chairs (if you're heading to the outfield). The grass has been cut, and the dirt has been dragged, oh and 10,000 of your closest friends are going to be with you: it's baseball season in Oxford!

Baseball can only begin with one of the most memorable days of the season, Opening Day. The gates of Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field opened for it's 28th Opening Day and saw its beloved Rebels get a 9-2 win over the Florida International University Panthers. Besides the play on the field, Opening Day comes with its own special set of emotions and events. This year, Opening Day fell on February 19, marking exactly 28 years to the day that the first baseball game was played at O-U Stadium. 

Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field became the host of Ole Miss Baseball February 19 1989 when the Rebels swept a doubleheader against Cumberland University in front of a crowd of 1,016 fans who braved the bitter cold weather conditions. On that day, George H.W. Bush was President, a gallon of gas cost $1.12, Darrell Waltrip won his only Daytona 500 while racing on gas fumes, and you could get a hot dog at the ballpark for under a dollar (don't forget $1 hot dog nights during midweek games this season). For this year's opener, scenarios were a little different. The first pitch of the season was thrown on a sunny 70-degree day, and there were 3,000 students in right field to accompany the total attendance of 10,129, the largest Opening Day crowd in school history. Donald Trump's running for President, we race solo cups in the fourth inning, a gallon of gas will cost you $1.53, and a hot dog will cost you $5 (excluding Dollar Dog nights of course). Buy hey, it's still Opening Day.

However, some things are better left unchanged. David Kellum is still the voice of Ole Miss Baseball on the radio after 37 seasons and describes the event as "one of the best days of the year." He and his wife Mary spend their weekends in the ballpark broadcast booth together and "love it." The Kellums love Opening Day because it's the chance to "get back in the saddle" after a long offseason.

Junior Brady Bramlett described being the Opening Day starter as "an awesome experience, especially with the crowd today - you felt the energy as soon as you stepped on the field." Head coach Mike Bianco said he was "proud and excited" of the team's play on Opening Day due to the "heightened excitement" behind the day. That excitement can be accredited to the chance to see new talent, see the veterans show their experience, have the for Rebel greats return, and even possibly the fact that 10,000 people were in attendance. "That number's crazy," said Bianco regarding the attendance. 

Aside from all the excitement, we can be hopeful from last year. The Rebels finished last season after being eliminated from postseason play in the Regional round and hope to return to Omaha and College World Series glory just like they did in 2014. With a lot of those team members being in the junior/senior years of eligibility, and a 3-game sweep over FIU on opening weekend, the season looks bright. So clear your schedules, rally the family, order your tickets and get to Swayze a few times this season. Here's to Rebel Baseball being back, and here's to 2016.





Ole Miss Baseball 2016 Walk Out Music

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With the 2016 Ole Miss Baseball season beginning today at Swayze Field (4 p.m. CT vs. FIU), check out the always much-anticipated walk out music list. Which song is your favorite?

#1 DJ Miller: "Go DJ" by Lil Wayne
#2 Ryan Olenek: "My Kinda Party" by Jason Aldean (Batting), "Bring Em Out" by T.I. (Pitching)
#3 Chad Smith: "Welcome To Yhe Jungle" by Guns N' Roses
#4 Tate Blackman: "Out Here" by Mike Stud
#6 Errol Robinson: "The Sweet Escape" by Gwen Stefani
#7 Nick Fortes: "Gasolina" by Daddy Yankee
#8 Will Golsan: "The Show Goes On" by Lupe FIasco
#9 Kyle Watson: "Buy Me A Boat" by Chris Jansen
#10 David Parkinson: When The Levee Breaks" by Led Zeppelin
#11 Nic Perkins: "Slow Loud and Banging" by Chamillionaire
#12 J.B. Woodman: "Traveller" by Chris Stapleton
#14 Cameron Dishon: "Sorry" by Justin Bieber
#16 Matt Denny: "My House" by Flo Rida
#17 Will Stokes: "Hell Of A Night" by Dustin Lynch
#18 Connor Green: "Hell On Wheels" by Brantley Gilbert
#19 Andy Pagnozzi: "Peanut Butter Jelly" by Galantis
#21 Brady Bramlett: "Plush" by Stone Temple Pilots
#22 Henri Lartigue: "Jesus And Jones" by Trace Adkins
#24 Dallas Woolfolk: "Hells Bells" by AC/DC
#25 Colby Bortles: "Bad Blood" by Taylor Swift
#26 James McArthur: Confession" by Florida Georgia Line
#27 Connor Cloyd: "Keep Their Heads Ringin" Dr. Dre
#28 Ray Alejo: "Let The Drummer Kick" by Citizen Cope
#29 Andrew Lowe: "Bad To The Bone" by George Thorogood
#32 Michael Fitzsimmons: "Number One Spot" by Ludacris
#33 Sean Johnson: "The Hum" by Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike vs. Ummet Ozcan
#34 Brian Browning: "Lean On" by Major Lazer and DJ Snake
#35 Micah McHugh: "Great I Am" by Phillips, Craig & Dean
#38 Wyatt Short: "Slow Down" by Clyde Carson
#39 Brady Feigl: "Roots" by Imagine Dragons
#40 John Creel: "Seven Nation Army" by White Stripes
#42 Holt Perdzock: "Ms. Jackson" by Outkast
#43 Carson Klepzig: "Lift Your Head Weary Sinner" by Crowder
#65 Parker Caracci: "Pickin' Wildflowers" by Keith Anderson
 
The Southeastern Conference today announced Kickoff '16, its annual football media days, will be held July 11-14 at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham - Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Alabama.

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and selected players (TBA) will visit with the regional and national media audience on the final day in Hoover - Thursday, July 14. The Rebels will be in a rotation with LSU and South Carolina.

A more detailed daily schedule with full television information, rotational breakdown and student-athletes attending will be available later this summer.

The SEC Network and ESPN will once again be on site to bring SEC Media Days to a national audience.

SEC Football Media Days has drawn over 1,200 attendees each of the last three years. Only five times since 1992 has the SEC Media Days predicted champion proceeded to win the SEC Championship, with Alabama being the last in 2014.

The 2015 season was a historic one for the SEC, as the league not only won its eighth national championship in the last 10 years, but also went 9-2 in the postseason to become the first league in college football history to win nine postseason games.

Ole Miss played a large part in the SEC's success, winning the Allstate Sugar Bowl 48-20 over Oklahoma State in the first "Champions" edition of the Sugar Bowl between the SEC and Big 12.

2016 SEC FOOTBALL MEDIA DAYS SCHEDULE

MONDAY, July 11
Auburn - Gus Malzahn
Florida - Jim McElwain
Vanderbilt - Derek Mason

TUESDAY, July 12
Georgia - Kirby Smart
Mississippi State - Dan Mullen
Tennessee - Butch Jones
Texas A&M - Kevin Sumlin

WEDNESDAY, July 13
Alabama - Nick Saban
Arkansas - Bret Bielema
Kentucky - Mark Stoops
Missouri - Barry Odom

THURSDAY, July 14
LSU - Les Miles
Ole Miss - Hugh Freeze
South Carolina - Will Muschamp

Rebels Rule NCAA Stats, SEC History

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Last week, I wrote this story about the 64 school records and numerous program firsts that Hugh Freeze's Ole Miss football team accomplished in 2015.

Today let's take a closer look at where the Rebels' season stacked up in the national statistical rankings and the all-time Southeastern Conference record books.

Ole Miss had one of the nation's most dynamic offensive attacks in 2015, ranking top 10 in scoring (40.8 ppg), total offense (517.8 ypg) and passing (334.7 ypg).

The Rebels produced the fourth-most passing yards (4,351) and fifth-most total yards (6,731) in a season in SEC history. That goes back to 1933!

QB Chad Kelly ranked top 10 nationally in six statistical categories, most notably total offense (349.4 ypg), points responsible for (246), passing yards (4,042) and passing touchdowns (31). Kelly's 4,042 passing yards are third-most in a season in SEC history, while his 4,542 total yards are also third-most. He passed Tim Tebow, Cam Newton, Dak Prescott, Eli Manning, and others on his way to those lofty totals. Only Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel has ever had more total yards in a season than Kelly, among SEC players.

Kelly's favorite target, Laquon Treadwell, also had a fantastic season in the stat books. Treadwell tied for 12th nationally with his 11 touchdown catches and ranked 21st in receiving yards per game (88.7) and receptions (6.3). He was the SEC leader in touchdown catches and receiving yards.

Remarkably, Treadwell finished his three-year career with the all-time Ole Miss record in catches for a game, season and career. He ranks top 15 in SEC history for catches in a game and top 10 for catches in a season and career.

See the full breakdown below.

Ole Miss Statistical Ranks in 2015

Offensive Category Stat NCAA Rank SEC Rank
Scoring Offense 40.8 8 1
Total Offense 517.8 10 1
First Downs 341 10 1
Passing Offense 334.7 10 1
Passing Efficiency 157.7 14 2
Passing Yards per Comp. 13.68 30 3




Defensive Category Stat NCAA Rank SEC Rank
Tackles for Loss 8.1 7 3
Defensive Touchdowns 4 t8 t1
4th Down Conversion Defense 30.4 8 3
Passes Intercepted 15 t23 2
Rushing Defense 127.1 23 4
Punt Return Defense 5.94 32 2
Sacks Allowed 1.46 33 4
Turnovers Gained 23 t38 3




Offensive Player, Category Stat NCAA Rank SEC Rank
Kelly, total offense 349.4 7 1
Kelly, points responsible for 246 t7 1
Kelly, points resp. for per game 18.9 8 1
Kelly, passing touchdowns 31 t9 1
Kelly, passing yards 4,042 10 1
Kelly, passing yards per game 310.9 10 1
Kelly, passing efficiency 155.9 13 2
Kelly, yards per pass attempt 8.83 13 2
Kelly, completions per game 22.9 17 2
Kelly, completion percentage 65.1 19 4
Kelly, yards per completion 13.56 30 5
Treadwell, receiving TDs 11 t12 1
Treadwell, receiving yards 1,153 21 1
Treadwell, rec. yards per game 88.7 21 1
Treadwell, receptions per game 6.3 21 2
Core, yards per reception 17.4 33 5
Wunderlich, scoring 9.2 t19 t3
Wunderlich, FGs per game 1.46 28 6




Defensive Player, Category Stat NCAA Rank SEC Rank
Haynes, sacks 0.77 t19 t3
Haynes, tackles for loss 1.3 32 4
Elston, interceptions 4 t35 t4
Elston, passes defended 1.4 t18 t1
Hilton, passes defended 1.2 t28 3
A.J. Moore, fumbles recovered 2 t26 t3

Ole Miss in the SEC Record Books

Total Offense, Season (6,731) - 5th
Total Offense per Game, Season (517.8) - 6th
Passing Yards, Season (4,351) - 4th
Passing Yards per Game, Season (334.7) - 10th
Pass Completions, Season (318) - 10th
First Downs, Season (341) - 4th
First Downs by Passing, Season (182) - t5th
Most PATs, Season (66) - t8th
Interception Returns for TD, Season (4) - t8th
Most Points, Game (76 vs. UT Martin) - t12th
Most Points, Game (73 vs. Fresno State) - t16th
Most Points, Two Teams in OT Game (105 - Ole Miss vs. Arkansas) - t3rd

Chad Kelly, Total Offense, Season (4,542) - 3rd
Chad Kelly, Total Offense per Game, Season (349.4) - 5th
Chad Kelly, Total Offense per Play, Game (10.6 vs. Arkansas) - 7th
Chad Kelly, Touchdowns Responsible for, Season (41) - t7th
Chad Kelly, Pass Attempts, Season (458) - 15th
Chad Kelly, Pass Completions, Season (298) - 9th
Chad Kelly, Passing Yards, Season (4,042) - 3rd
Chad Kelly, Touchdown Passes, Season (31) - t13th
Laquon Treadwell, Receptions, Game (14 vs. Memphis) - t13th
Laquon Treadwell, Receptions, Season (88) - t9th
Laquon Treadwell, Receptions, Career (202) - 7th
Laquon Treadwell, Receiving Yards, Season (1,153) - 20th

What They're Saying in 2015

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Ole Miss Football is one of five programs in the nation to make back-to-back New Year's Six bowl games and will play in the Allstate Sugar Bowl (Jan. 1, 2016) for the first time since 1970. The Rebels are the only team to defeat Alabama in the regular season each of the last two years.

With such success comes a bevy of media coverage from the Southeastern region and the nation.

Here are some snippets of the top comments on Ole Miss Football by a variety of media members, coaches and personalities in 2015.

What They're Saying about the Ole Miss Rebels in 2015

"It's already going to be exciting just because it's New Year's Eve, and New Year's is always great in New Orleans. But now to have my Rebels playing for the Sugar Bowl makes it even more special. I think that we'll see a heavy amount of red in that stadium. You're probably talking about 80 percent of Ole Miss fans just from the ticket sales and the people that plan on coming down."
-Deuce McAllister, Ole Miss legend (Dec. 12)

"We've been waiting 46 years so Livvy, and I and Cooper, all the Mannings, Eli ... well, I haven't asked Peyton yet, but we're all pretty doggone excited ... I'm so happy for the Ole Miss family. A lot of my teammates, we're kind of feeling old when people say it's been 46 years since Ole Miss was in the Sugar Bowl."
-Archie Manning, Ole Miss legend (Dec. 10)

"I'm proud of Chad (Kelly) for the way he's handled everything bouncing back from a hiccup or two. He's done it right. He's become a better football player and a better person, a good leader. He's provided a lot of inspiration, especially late in the year."
-Archie Manning, Ole Miss legend (Dec. 10)

"He's gotten better as the year has gone on. He's one of those players you want to watch at quarterback because he's not one of those that's just an athletic lift, he's an emotional lift to the team as well. The way that he plays the game, the ferocity he plays the game with, you see him diving for end zones and making great throws. He has excellent wide receivers on the outside and Oklahoma State's defense hasn't been as good as advertised."
-Robert Smith, ESPN - on Chad Kelly (Dec. 6)

"I like the way they played this year. They had their ups and downs, but they're very physical at the point of attack. I want to see how that Big 12 offense goes against the SEC defense."
-Mark May, ESPN - on Ole Miss' front seven (Dec. 6)

"The people I talked to said Ole Miss' players were as good as any in the SEC. The question was if (Chad) Kelly was going to be able to step up and play - he did, and he answered the bell."
-Mack Brown, ESPN (Dec. 6)

"I think what (Chad Kelly) does outside of their offense is where he presents problems. He brings improvisational skills."
-Dan Mullen, Mississippi State Head Coach (Nov. 23)

"They're a good team. They're a good defense. They play hard. They have some big guys. They've got some NFL prospects on that defense."
-Dak Prescott, Mississippi State Quarterback (Nov. 23)

"Chad Kelly is an NFL quarterback and one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation."
-Booger McFarland, SEC Network (Nov. 22)

"(Chad Kelly) might have the best arm in this conference. He can attack any part of the field."
-Gary Danielson, CBS Sports (Nov. 21)

"I think he's one of the best offensive linemen in the country. He's excellent at protecting the passer, and I think he's been very good in the run game. All the qualities you look for in an offensive lineman, he certainly shows those characteristics."
-Arkansas Defensive Coordinator Robb Smith - on Laremy Tunsil (Nov. 3)

"You can tell they're a veteran football team by the way they've handled their composure this season. To be 7-2 and control your own destiny in this league says something about who they are."
-Bret Bielema, Arkansas Head Coach (Nov. 2)

"Ole Miss is playing really, really well. They're quarterback plays extremely well, when he's hot they're hot."
-Bret Bielema, Arkansas Head Coach (Nov. 2)

"In the Auburn game last year, Laquon Treadwell suffered that horrific injury. On Saturday, he caught the game-clinching touchdown pass against the Tigers. Karma, baby. The Rebels SEC title dream is still alive."
-Dennis Dodd, CBS Sports (Nov. 2)

"You wondered if Treadwell, who broke his leg and dislocated his ankle, would ever be the same and he's not. He may be even better."
-John Saunders, ESPN Sports Reporters (Nov. 1)

"He might be the best player in college football."
-Dave Pasch, ESPN - on Laremy Tunsil (Oct. 31)

"Offensively they have weapons and a quarterback that can get them all over the field in many different ways. Been putting up lots of points and you can see why on tape."
-Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M Head Coach (Oct. 20)

"Obviously Treadwell is healthy and a big playmaker for them. He's very explosive. They have plenty of guys on the outside that can exploit you if you're not in the right spot."
-Justin Fuente, Memphis Head Coach (Oct. 12)

"Hugh Freeze knew he was taking a chance with (Chad) Kelly, but so far everything is coming up aces for both of them in Oxford. He's a very confident quarterback. He has confidence in his arm and arguably the best wide receiver group in all of college football."
-Todd Blackledge, ESPN (Oct. 3)

"Robert Nkemdiche is the best player in the SEC. He looks like Ndamukong Suh."
-Mike Greenberg, ESPN (Sept. 21)

"It's almost like this is an expectation. There's a different vibe from Ole Miss with Hugh Freeze now that he's been here and been able to establish himself with some recruiting classes. They came in here expecting to win ... This isn't just 'wow they just beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa,' this kind of win brings this football team together and they become a serious contender in the west of the SEC."
-Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN (Sept. 19)

"Chad Kelly was playing in his first SEC game, but it was hard to tell. The nephew of Hall of Famer Jim Kelly showcased a powerful arm and no fear in throwing for 341 yards and three touchdowns - with zero interceptions."
Pat Forde, Yahoo! Sports (Sept. 19)

"I thought they played a really good game and have a really good team. I think they deserved to win this game, and they outplayed us."
-Nick Saban, Alabama Head Coach (Sept. 19)

"This kid (Robert) Nkemdiche for Ole Miss is a beast. Alabama can't do anything with him. Don't know for sure, but he's looking like a Top-2 pick"
-Stephen A. Smith, ESPN (Sept. 19)

"To me all eyes are on the most intriguing player this week in college football, Chad Kelly, the Ole Miss quarterback. He has a huge arm and he's got moxie to him, but we know he had some off the field issues. This is a road start in a really tough place to play against arguably the deepest and most talented defensive line in the country, and that's a tall order. We'll see how he manages things."
-Bruce Feldman, Fox Sports (Sept. 15)

"Last year everybody got over the fact that (Ole Miss) beat Alabama, but if they do it again this year the conversation needs to start about where Hugh Freeze is taking this program."
-Marcus Spears, SEC Network (Sept. 14)

"Kelly has been great for Ole Miss. They have looked better than anyone in the SEC so far as a total team. Here comes 'Bama."
-Booger McFarland, SEC Network (Sept. 13)

"You see All-Americans all over the field. They have excellent players who are very well coached and they're very explosive. Both sides of the ball have tremendous speed."
-Tim DeRuyter, Fresno State Head Coach (Sept. 7)

"Ole Miss just threw a TD to Robert Nkemdiche which should be banned for the sake of opposing defenses. My goodness that was frightening."
-Peter Burns, SEC Network (Sept. 5)

"Lack of confidence is not in Chad Kelly's profile. Kid is slinging it early for Ole Miss."
-Peter Burns, SEC Network (Sept. 5)

"When Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche scores, it's not really fair to call it a "fat-guy" touchdown. The 296-pound junior is mostly muscle, which was evident on his 31-yard touchdown on a swing pass in the No. 17 Rebels' 76-3 blowout of FCS opponent Tennessee-Martin."
-Mark Schlabach, ESPN (Sept. 5)

Ole Miss Football: 2015 Offensive Juggernaut

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Rebel Offense Shatters School Records in Hugh Freeze's Fourth Season

By Adam Kuffner, Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations

When Hugh Freeze was hired as the 37th head coach in Ole Miss football history Dec. 5, 2011, then-Chancellor Dan Jones along with coaching search committee co-chairs Archie Manning and Mike Glenn knew they were getting one of the best offensive minds in football. Just four years into the Freeze era in Oxford, the Rebels have built a new normal of expectations for Ole Miss Football.

Last year, it was the Landshark defense that led the Rebels to an inaugural New Year's Six Bowl with the nation's best scoring defense. Fast forward to 2015, it's the offense that has reached record-breaking heights to pace the Rebels through another nine-win season (back-to-back 9+ regular-season wins for the first time since 1961-62).

Ole Miss started off 2015 on a torrid pace, becoming the first SEC team to score 73 or more points in back-to-back games. The 76-3 win over UT Martin in the season opener was the most points in a game since 1935. With that hot start to the season, it was evident that the 12 year-old school scoring record (442 in 2003) was going to be broken. That vision came to fruition in the 11th game of the season as the Rebels dominated rival LSU, 38-17, in the Magnolia Bowl. One week later, Ole Miss scored 38 points in Starkville for the first time in 34 years to win the Egg Bowl and enter the postseason scoring a school-record 483 points.

Ole Miss is averaging 40.3 points per game, which leads the SEC and ranks 13th in the nation. The Rebels eclipsed the 50-point plateau four times this season; in the previous 122 years of Ole Miss Football prior to 2015, just five times the Rebels managed to score 50+ points more than once throughout a season.

To score points, you need to find the end zone. The Rebels did that plenty of times throughout the 2015 campaign, scoring a program-record 62 touchdowns. In order to get to the end zone, you need to accumulate yards and drive down the field. How does 6,177 total yards sound? That's how many Ole Miss racked up through 12 games this season, the most in the SEC and 11th-most nationally. Again, the Rebels have themselves another school record.  

Freeze likes to spread the ball out, and the passing game has become the Rebels' bread and butter since his arrival. Senior quarterback Bo Wallace was the starting signal caller for Freeze's first three years at Ole Miss. In 2014, Wallace, along with multiple offensive weapons around him, helped Ole Miss earn a bid to the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. This year, junior Chad Kelly took the reins of Freeze's playbook and added his name to the list of great quarterbacks at Ole Miss.

After a position battle throughout fall camp, Freeze decided to give Kelly the start in the first two games, although Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade saw playing time as well. It was in that second contest that Kelly emerged as the clear starter due to his strong, accurate arm accompanied with moving the offense down the field like a well-oiled machine. The Buffalo, New York, native continued to do that the following week, leading the Rebels to another victory over No. 2 Alabama in the first road test of his Ole Miss career. Beating Alabama in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history, Ole Miss made noise throughout the country, once again becoming relevant.

Kelly continued to impress throughout the rest of the season, putting up better numbers than any other quarterback in Ole Miss history, including Archie and Eli Manning. He's tallied 3,740 yards through the air and is responsible for 37 touchdowns, both school records that were once held by the two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli. Kelly's seven 300-yard passing games is also the most by a Rebel quarterback. Speaking of Manning, Kelly was named a finalist for the Manning Award, which is presented annually to the nation's best quarterback. His statistics that lead all SEC quarterbacks and rank among the nation's elite have earned Kelly that recognition.

Along with his school-record passing mark, Kelly has also rushed for 427 yards on the ground. His program-best 4,167 total yards of offense is the sixth-most for an individual's season in SEC history. It's all impressive for someone who is a first-year Rebel.

Of course, Kelly's individual records and the team's offensive records would not have been reached without a plethora of talent around the quarterback. Let's start with Laquon Treadwell, who bounced back from his devastating injury last season. This year, he's been better than ever as a Biletnikoff Award finalist. Treadwell has caught 76 passes for 1,082 yards and eight touchdowns, including six 100-yard receiving games which is another school record. The Crete, Illinois, native went through a stretch where he was nearly impossible to stop, catching a touchdown pass in six straight games and going over 100 yards receiving in five of them; both achievements had never been accomplished before at Ole Miss.

Alongside Treadwell, Kelly distributes the ball at an incredible rate. Ole Miss is one of four teams in the nation with seven or more players who have caught at least 20 passes this season. Quincy Adeboyejo and Damore'ea Stringfellow have combined for 12 touchdown receptions, while Cody Core has added 553 receiving yards in his final season as a Rebel. Kelly is one of the leading rushers on the team, but the running back trio of Jaylen Walton, Akeem Judd and Jordan Wilkins has produced 1,433 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Of course, the skill players wouldn't have success without the help of the offensive line. Providing protection for Kelly has been a veteran group led by Preseason All-America left tackle Laremy Tunsil and Kent Hull Trophy winner Fahn Cooper. Seniors Justin Bell, Aaron Morris and Ben Still are the elder lettermen that are spending their final year at Ole Miss as part of the most prolific offense in school history. Even freshmen Jordan Sims, Javon Patterson and Sean Rawlings have provided plenty of playing time, including starts, to assist in the effort.

Football is certainly a team game. The defense and special teams unit need to play well; however, as Ole Miss awaits its bowl fate, the high-powered offense paved the way for a possible berth to the Sugar Bowl. If the season ended today, New Orleans would be the Rebels' bowl destination. Ole Miss hasn't played in the Sugar Bowl since 1970, spanning almost half a century. But with Alabama in position to make the College Football Playoff, the Rebels would earn the bid as the second-highest ranked SEC team.

Wouldn't that be sweet?

Record-Breaking Rebels_Dec.jpg

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    Jamie laverty said:

    Bulmer I love you and ole Miss

    in post Fast Runner From Down Under

    Sharon Hamlin said:

    Hi! Really Bulmer is very fantastic & dedicated in his job. Really outstanding & well done... :-)

    in post Fast Runner From Down Under

    Sharon Hamlin said:

    Hi! Really motivating post & outstanding job did Bulmer .Loved it... :-)

    in post Fast Runner From Down Under

    Jack1492 said:

    Great year. I am proud of you all.
    Jack

    in post Drama Rules The Day at Vaught-Hemingway

    Hunter Comstock said:

    Strange things happen to Ole Miss football teams in games played on Halloween. I don't know if I can bear to watch this one or not.

    in post Rebels Dominate In Prime-Time Spotlight

    Hunter Comstock said:

    Boy, I surely hope the Rebels don't have anymore nail biters like the Bama game. My nerves won't take it.

    in post Rebels Pass First Test in Search of Playoff Berth

    Joe Snaidauf said:

    Rebs stay healthy, they can win it all!!!

    in post Eleven Rebels Garner Phil Steele Preseason Honors

    Rhonda said:

    Coach Freeze is a genuine coach and our players and fans adore him!!

    in post Vote Freeze For Coach Of The Year

    Gary Vaughn said:

    It's great to be a Rebel fan. Coach Freeze
    Has brought back the excitement
    Competitiveness we all so desire. The
    fan base and even our doubters are
    Paying attention. Even the whole country
    Sport tLk shows ect. Are taking notice.
    After we upset Alabama this weekend
    38-27 we will bolt to a top 12 or better
    Ranking. Go Rebels

    in post Vote Freeze For Coach Of The Year

    Tom said:

    I am not and never have been an Ole Miss fan. I am however a Coach Freeze fan. I like what he represents in today's world of big time sports and what he stands for in leading young men of today into a more responsible role. He is everything that Ole Miss has never had. I am on his band wagon winning or losing.

    in post Vote Freeze For Coach Of The Year