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Ole Miss begins a new segment of its season on Sunday and arguably its most important one as South Carolina comes to The Pavilion to tip off SEC play.
It was an up-and-down non-conference season for the Rebels who lost three games at home, all of which came in overtime. Andy Kennedy has seen flashes of what he thinks this team can be, but the consistency has not been there at times. He's implored his group to play with a sense of urgency and not dig itself in difficult holes to climb out of early in games.
"I'm certainly not pleased with the fact that we lost three home games," Kennedy said. "I have said since 2006 when I got this job, that those are just no-no's. You can't do that because it is so difficult to win on the road."
There is reason to believe things could trend upward for Ole Miss in SEC play. It won its final two games before Christmas, concluding with the Rebels' most complete performance of the season in an 82-59 thrashing of a Bradley team that came into the game 10-2. The Rebels have shot the basketball better in their recent stretch of games. The team has made 26 three-pointers in its last two games and are shooting 45 percent from deep during that stretch.
Offense hasn't been the issue for the Rebels. Kennedy has said multiple times this team shares the ball better than any team he's been a part of in his tenure here. Ole Miss has 214 assists on 344 made baskets through 12 games. Decision making from the guards troubled the team early on. Kennedy saw signs of that improving of late.
"Deandre (Burnett) and Breein (Tyree) are making better decisions with the ball," Kennedy said. "Those are things we are going to have to do to win SEC games."
The majority of the team's struggles have stemmed from the defensive end, but even that appeared to be getting better during the final two games before the Christmas break. Bradley shot a pedestrian 32 percent from the field and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi shot 42 percent.
"I am encouraged that the guys are understanding who we are and that we have to be blue-collar," Kennedy said. "Sometimes it is hard to be blue-collar because it is hard. It is not easy. That is just the way we have to play. I think offensively we are finding a rhythm."
The SEC is deeper than it has been in a decade and has three teams in the top 25 and seven KenPom top 50 teams. The road will not be easy, and the team knows that but thinks they are beginning to play better basketball.
"We have a lot of things we need to work on," Terence Davis said. "But I think our mindset is now where it needs to be as a whole."
A deeper league means a tougher path, but also one with more opportunities to notch resumé-building wins. Ole Miss will have a number of chances to strengthen its postseason case. The non-conference season brought some tough moments, but the Rebels are feeling better about themselves heading into their SEC schedule.
"I do think we are beginning to understand the thin line between winning and misery," Kennedy said. "Unfortunately for us, I think we have been on the wrong side of that too many times to this point in the season. It really is a thin line, a play here or there. As we approach the holiday break, which is needed, we will come back and it is now SEC play. These guys will be excited about the opportunities."
Ole Miss sports information director, Langston Rogers is not just an Ole Miss
historian, he's a College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA)
historian as well.
29 years serving as Ole Miss' sports information director and belongs to eight
Halls of Fame, including being inducted into the CoSIDA Hall of Fame in 1990. He's
received CoSIDA's Arch Award, Trailblazer award and is the namesake of the
Langston Rogers postgraduate scholarship presented annually to a minority or
female media relations professional.
retired as Ole Miss sports information director in 2010, will be attending his
52nd CoSIDA convention this summer and has seen the organization change, and in
some ways stay the same, in its 60 years and shared his thoughts in the latest
edition of CoSIDA 360 magazine.
to read article.
Ole Miss is going on year five of locking the Vaught pregame. It still gives chills when the music hits with the team walking to the field.
When the entire crowd of 60,000+ become silent to listen to a celebrity give the cue for Hotty Toddy, it's awesome and always will be. Sports and its traditions have that ability to get under your skin. It means more at Ole Miss and in the SEC.
As the Ole Miss women's golf team tees it up
this weekend at the 2016 SEC Championships at Greystone Golf and Country Club
in Birmingham, OleMissSports.com tagged along to record some of the
behind-the-scenes action and each day will bring five observations from the
Round Three - Sunday, April 17, 2016
1. How About Those Rebels
posted its best finish at the SEC Championship in six years with a three-round score of 894
(301-300-293 - 894) good for a seventh-place finish, which is the best finish
since 2010 and is tied for the third-best finish at the SEC Championship in
program history. Ole Miss' best finish was in 1999 when the Rebels took third
place. Additionally, senior Alison
Hovatter (Meridianville, Ala.) tied for ninth place, which is the highest
individual finish since former Ole Miss women's golfer Sara Grantham tied for
fifth in 2010.
2. First Year of Henkes Era In The Books
head coach Kory Henkes has been on
the job for exactly 300 days and in that time span the Ole Miss women's golf
team has posted six top-10 finishes, taken runner up honors at the 2016 Rebel
Intercollegiate and posted a seventh-place finish - tied for third best finish
in program history - at the always tough SEC Championship and set 10 new team and/or individual records. Not too shabby for your first 300 days on the job coach, not too shabby.
3. Throw The Rankings Out The Window
Ole Miss came into the championships ranked No. 107 and the lowest ranked team
in the SEC, but when it was all said and done Ole Miss finished ahead of top 50
programs Tennessee (26), Missouri (31), Vanderbilt (35) and LSU (58).
Additionally, the Rebels seventh-place finish was 20 strokes ahead of instate
rival Mississippi State who closed the championships in 12th place.
4. Flori Saves Best For SEC Championship
The future is quite bright if the play of freshman Martina Flori (Montecatini Terme, Italy) this
weekend is any indication. She posted her three-best rounds of collegiate golf
this weekend with a new career low for 18 holes on Friday with a 73 and a
career-best 54-hole score of 222. Flori, along with her teammates, saved their
very best for last as Ole Miss posted its two best tournaments of the spring at
the Rebel Intercollegiate (2nd
Place - 888) and SEC Championship (7th place - 894).
5. Final Round Attire
Ole Miss wore white skirts and navy tops for today's final round with red
pullovers and red hats to round out the outfits. Ole Miss definitely had the
outfits on lock this weekend in pure Ole Miss fashion #WAOM
TV Time: The Ole Miss women's golf team likes television whether it's a
three hour dancing show from her native Italy for Martina Flori or numerous episodes of Vampire Diaries for Maria Toennessen and Abby Newton, these gals like their
End of One Chapter, Beginning of Another: The SEC Championships marked the end of the
Ole Miss careers of Abby Newton
(Katy, Texas), Alison Hovatter
(Meridianville, Ala.) and Katie Voll
(Alpharetta, Ga.). This group of young women have been stellar student-athletes
both on and off the course and have left Ole Miss women's golf in a much better
place! Additionally senior Ole Miss senior media relations employee Connor Hennessey, who has served as the
women's golf contact for the last three year, also worked his final event this
Birdie Machine: Junior Maria
Toennessen (Grimstad, Norway) was a birdie machine during the final round.
She posted a team-best six birdies on the round and had eight on the weekend to
lead the Rebels but no worries no birds were hurt during this weekend's
Flori Loves Rory: If you ask Martina Flori who her favorite golfer is, it's Rory
McIlroy. In fact, she knows his girlfriend, siblings and numerous other tidbits
about his life. She's not a stalker though (just in case you are reading this Rory) just a super fan!
As the Ole Miss women's golf team tees it up
this weekend at the 2016 SEC Championships at Greystone Golf and Country Club
in Birmingham, OleMissSports.com tagged along to record some of the
behind-the-scenes action and each day will bring five observations from the
Round Two - Saturday, April 16, 2016
1. Senior Hovatter Goes Low on Day Two
Alabama native Alison Hovatter
(Meridianville, Ala.) fired a 1-under par 71 in second day action at the 2016
SEC Championship. Hovatter, who is playing in her fourth SEC championship,
carded her first round of under par on the second day and her 71 is the lowest
round she's registered in postseason action. Prior to today's 71, Hovatter's
postseason best was a 73 at the 2013-14 SEC Championship on the Greystone
Founders Course. In fact, Hovatter's round of 71 is the best round for an Ole
Miss player in the SEC Championship since former Ole Miss women's golfer Sara
Grantham recorded two rounds under par en route to a fifth place finish in
2010. Hovatter entered the SEC Championship with a team-best 74.97 stoke
average and has been Ole Miss' top finisher in the last five tournaments.
2. Words From Assistant Coach Drew Belt
head coach Kory Henkes and assistant
coach Drew Belt combine to make a
great coaching tandem for the Rebels and Belt gave OleMissSports.com a few of
his thoughts from today's round:
excited about Martina (Flori). This is her best tournament of the year so far
and it's her first SEC Championship as a freshman so it's really awesome to see
her perform. Alison (Hovatter) also struck the ball really well today. She hit
15 greens and the green's she missed she chipped in. She has really performed
well. As a team its lots of fun to see some smiles and play well and compete
with some of these better players."
Club of the Day
you have a club that just gets you out of a jam or one that has been making
some shots for you. As Alison Hovatter put it "My driver just kept me in play
all day" Today, the Ole Miss women's golf team shared their "Club of the Day"
Maria Toennessen - 8 Iron
Martina Flori - Putter
Madisen Bentley - Driver
Alison Hovatter - Driver
Abby Newton - Sand wedge
4. Looking at the Leaderboard
Ole Miss enters
championship Sunday sitting in eighth place, moving up a spot after carding a
300 in the second round. Something interesting to look at is the squad's the
Rebels are ahead of in the standings. Ole Miss entered the SEC Championship
ranked No. 107 according to the Golfstat ranking but right now sits ahead of
No. 26 Tennessee, No. 35 Vanderbilt and No. 48 LSU.
5. Saturday Attire
donned a more traditional outfit for the second round of action. Ole Miss wore
white sleeveless tops with light gray polka-dotted shorts. The outfit was
topped off with a gray long sleeve top and navy hat.
Dinner Options: The Rebels have
dinned at Kobe Japanese Hibachi and Steakhouse and Carrabba's after rounds while
I Know You: The Rebels will be paired with Tennessee and South Carolina on
championship Sunday. Head coach Kory Henkes knows a thing or two about the
Gamecocks as she is a Columbia native and played for the Gamecocks from 2001-04.
Early To Bed: On this trip freshman Martina Flori is hitting the hay pretty early. She enjoys her
shuteye and needs 8-10 to function so her 8:45 pm bedtime on Friday night was
on the late end of things.
Looking Ahead: Ole Miss is sitting in eighth place entering
the final round and should they finish in that same position it would be the
best finish for the Rebels at the SEC Championship since a eighth place finish
in 2010. Ole Miss' best finishes were in 1999 (Third) and 1998 (Sixth).
As the Ole Miss women's golf team tees it up
this weekend at the 2016 SEC Championships at Greystone Golf and Country Club
in Birmingham, OleMissSports.com tagged along to record some of the
behind-the-scenes action and each day will bring five observations from the
Round One - Friday, April 15, 2016
Martina Flori Likes Big Tournaments
Freshman Martina Flori (Montecatini
Terme, Italy) had a great first round of the SEC Tournament. The Italian, who
is making her SEC Championship debut, fired a career-best 1-over par 73 to lead
the Rebels on the round. The 73 was Flori's best round since her collegiate
debut in the first round at the Memphis Intercollegiate where she fired a 75.
When being congratulated by her coaches on her round, Flori commented, "It was
a tough and stressful round, but I like big tournaments" Here's hoping that
Flori can keep that momentum rolling through the rest of the tournament.
2. Sweet Home Alabama
Senior Alison Hovatter (Meridianville, Ala.)
is playing in her final SEC Championship and with the championship being held
in Alabama, Hovatter had an entourage with her during Friday's round. Her
parent's Lou and Freddie were in attendance as were numerous family friends
including some members from her home course back in Meridianville.
3. Strong Start For the Rebels
Ole Miss fired a 301 in the opening round of the 2016 SEC Championships, which
places them in ninth place entering Saturday's second round. It's a tight race
at the top with just six strokes separating third through ninth places. Ole
Miss' round of 301 is nine strokes better than its opening round last season
and is the lowest first round score for Ole Miss since a 291 at the CSU Fall
Invitational in October. Additionally, Ole Miss' 301 is the lowest first round
score at the SEC Championships since a 284 in the 2010 championship.
4. Family Affair
For Ole Miss head coach Kory Henkes golf is a family affair. She joined her
brother Kyle Thompson, who currently plays on the Web.com Tour, and her sister
Kacy Thompson in playing collegiate golf at South Carolina and throughout her
coaching career her husband Kenneth and her Caryl and Steve can be seen with
the team at many tournaments. This week Henkes' parents and husband Kenneth
have joined the Rebels in Birmingham.
5. Rebs Rocked The Powder Blues on Friday
Attire is a big deal in the golf world and today Ole Miss sported powder blue
tops and red skirts. The Rebels topped off their outfits with white hats and
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
April 28-May 4, 2015
- The Rebels started the week defeating the Bulldogs, 11-1 in the annual Governor's Cup. The 10-run win for the Rebels marked the largest margin of victory in the 36-year history of the Mayor's Trophy/Governor's Cup between the two archrivals. Ole Miss re-claimed the Governor's Cup for the first time since 2012 behind a veteran arm out of the Rebels' bullpen.
- In the first start of his four-year career, senior Scott Weathersby was brilliant, tossing seven scoreless innings. The senior right-hander allowed just six hits and walked one, while striking out three. For his outstanding performance, Weathersby was named the Governor's Cup Most Valuable Player.
- Ole Miss recorded 15 hits paced once again by leadoff hitter Connor Cloyd. The junior went 3-for-6 with a career-high four RBI. Cloyd also produced his seventh-straight multi-hit game. Four more Rebels provided multi-hit games as Colby Bortles, Cameron Dishon, Austin Knight and Sikes Orvis all recorded two hits apiece.
- Kicking off the weekend at nationally ranked Missouri, the Rebels fell 4-2 to the Tigers. Junior Christian Trent tossed a complete game, allowing four runs on nine hits. The southpaw struck out six Tigers without surrendering a walk as he pitched 8.0 innings for the second consecutive game.
- After a loss on Saturday afternoon, Ole Miss bounced back on Sunday for a 4-3 victory. With the win over the nationally-ranked Tigers, the Rebels now have eight wins against ranked opponents.
- Orvis blasted a pair of solo home runs to help lead Ole Miss to the win. The multi-homer game was the second of Orvis' career. The two home runs gave Orvis a team-leading 11 for the season and 29 for his career.
- Cloyd went 3-for-3, reaching base all four times he stepped to the plate and recording his eighth multi-hit game in the past 10 contests.
- In his first career start and playing in his home state, freshman Nic Perkins recorded his second straight multi-hit game with a pair of singles. Perkins, a St. Charles, Mo. native, finished the weekend going 4-for-4 in his return to his home state.
- Working on a pitch count due to throwing seven innings in Tuesday's victory over Mississippi State, Weathersby lasted 3.2 innings, allowing one run on four hits and two walks to earn his second victory in as many appearances. Jacob Waguespack tossed 3.1 innings of relief, and sophomore Wyatt Short pitched the final two innings to earn his seventh save of the season.
- Behind the bullpen, Ole Miss is now 20-0 when leading after the eighth inning.
- In both of the Rebels' victories throughout the week, Weathersby earned the win and Cloyd recorded a three-hit game. Cloyd now has eight multi-hit games over the past 10 contests. Weathersby has allowed just two runs over the past 20.1 innings
Track & Field
- In its final weekend of the regular season, Ole Miss was phenomenal with a number of elite national marks and a pair of school records at the LSU Invitational and Stanford's Payton Jordan Invitational.
- The 4x100-meter relay squad of freshman Nicole Henderson, freshman Shannon Ray, junior Khadijah Suleman and senior Jhorden Hunter shattered their own school record with a scintillating 43.80 to place third behind top NCAA squads Florida and LSU. They broke their previous record of 44.11 from the Virginia Challenge and rank eighth in the nation this year.
- Freshman Brooke Feldmeier took her own 800-meter school record to another level Saturday, running 2:03.86 to break her own mark of 2:05.29 from Virginia. She placed second in the race and moved up to No. 12 in the nation this year with her sensational time.
- Sophomore Craig Engels stole the show in the men's 800 meters, running a time of 1:46.13 that is second in school history and No. 4 in the nation this year. He also ranks ninth nationally in the 1500.
- Sophomore Jalen Miller had a sensational day in three events against the star-studded field of sprinters. He won the 100 meters with a season-best 10.24 (19th in NCAA), clocked a season-best 21.01 in the 200 and anchored the 4x100 relay to a season-best time of 39.82 (17th in NCAA, 5th in school history).
- Senior Phillip Young won the triple jump (tied season best of 52-8.75 that ranks 11th in NCAA) and finished runner-up in the long jump (personal-best 25-0.75, 23rd in NCAA).
- With the SEC Championships next (May 14-16 in Starkville), Ole Miss men who rank among the league's top eight in their event include Miller in the 100 (5th, 10.24), Engels in the 800 (2nd, 1:46.13) and 1500 (1st, 3:40.28), Sean Tobin in the 1500 (2nd, 3:42.17), Robert Domanic in the 1500 (5th, 3:43.75), Trevor Gilley in the 5000 (6th, 14:03.49), the 4x100 relay (7th, 39.82), Branden Greene in the high jump (2nd, 7-1), Adam Aguirre in the high jump (6th, 6-11.75), Young in the long jump (4th, 25-0.75) and triple jump (6th, 52-8.75), Dempsey McGuigan in the hammer (4th, 215-1), Nathan Loe in the hammer (8th, 206-5) and Peyton Moss in the decathlon (8th, 6311).
- Ole Miss women who rank top eight in the SEC are Ray in the 100 (8th, 11.41), Feldmeier in the 800 (4th, 2:03.86), the 4x100 relay (5th, 43.80) and Fabia McDonald in the heptathlon (5th, 5736).
- Ole Miss grabbed its 30th win of the season at Mississippi Valley State, tying the school record for wins in a season. The 9-0 win tied the mark of 30 wins set in the 2005 season.
- Ole Miss finished in 11th place in the SEC standings and will open SEC Tournament play Wednesday against No. 6 seed Georgia. It's the Rebels' first appearance in the SEC Tournament since the 2008 season.
- Ole Miss has set new records for offense this season with runs (298), triples (13), home runs (46), walks (164) and steals (88).
Six men with ties to Ole Miss were part of the inaugural class of 25 athletes and coaches inducted into the Scott County Hall of Fame this past Saturday at Roosevelt State Park in Morton. It is believed that this was the creation of the first county-wide sports hall of fame in the state of Mississippi.
Forest's James (Jim) B. Harvey and Tom Stewart Lee, Jr., Lake's Freeman Horton and Morton's Andre Hollis, Deuce McAllister and Fred Roberts, all Ole Miss Rebels, whether they attended school or served as an assistant coach, were introduced and presented with plaques at the induction.
"We are proud and blessed for the opportunity to make this new Scott County Sports Hall of Fame a reality," said Frank Edmondson, President of the Scott County Sports of Hall of Fame.
"It is a means for the inductees to be honored and recognized in their home county for their hard work and success that made them eligible and worthy of this recognition. The selection of the first class was not an easy task as there are so many worthy individuals who are qualified and will be considered for future classes."
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
April 21-27, 2015
- During the five-game homestand, Ole Miss went 3-2 with a midweek win over Central Arkansas as well as claiming a weekend series over Alabama.
- The Rebels recorded 68 hits throughout the week, improving their season batting average by 15 points. Three Rebels hit over .500 for the week, led by junior Connor Cloyd, who recorded five multi-hit games for a .565 week (13-for-23).
- Sophomore Colby Bortles and senior Austin Knight smacked hits in half of their at bats; Bortles was 9-for-18 this week, while Knight went 8-for-16 that included the first two home runs of his career.
- Scoring 14 runs in the first two innings, Ole Miss busted out the bats in a convincing 18-4 victory over Central Arkansas. The 18 runs were a season high for Ole Miss and every Rebel in the starting lineup recorded at least one hit, one run and one RBI, a feat accomplished for the first time in Ole Miss history.
- In a loss to Memphis, sophomore Colby Bortles had another big night at the dish, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, two RBI and one run. Bortles' three hits tied his career high total for a single game.
- The Rebels got back on the winning track by sweeping Alabama in a doubleheader on Saturday, outscoring the Crimson Tide a combined 14-2.
- In game one, the Rebels turned in a complete performance with 17 hits, eight innings from starting pitcher Christian Trent, and multiple outstanding defensive plays in a 10-2 victory.
- Junior right fielder Cameron Dishon went 4-for-5, setting a career high for hits, and Bortles tied a career high with five RBI. In addition to a career high for hits, Dishon also set a career high with three stolen bases, giving him 15 for the season, to go along with two runs scored.
- Bortles went 3-for-4 with a double and a home run, a three-run shot in the fourth for his seventh of the season.
- Trent worked a season-long 8.0 innings, giving up two runs -- one earned -- and scattering six hits with a walk and five strikeouts.
- In front of 10,119 fans, the largest crowd of the season and sixth-most in Swayze Field history, sophomore Brady Bramlett and senior Scott Weathersby out-dueled Alabama, 4-0, to complete doubleheader sweep.
- Bramlett went a career-long 7.1 innings, shutting out Alabama and limiting the Crimson Tide to just four hits. Bramlett also struck out nine batters with no walks, and he was one strikeout shy of recording his third double-digit strikeout game of the season.
- Weathersby worked a perfect 1.2 innings of relief with two strikeouts to pick up the save. As a team, the Rebels struck out 11 batters compared to zero walks.
- Cloyd (2-for-3) and Knight (2-for-4) each tallied a multi-hit game. Cloyd drove in what proved to be the game-winning run in the contest, while Knight and senior first baseman Sikes Orvis provided some insurance with a pair of home runs in the eighth.
- After 183 career at-bats without a home run, Knight belted two homers in back-to-back at-bats as the senior left the yard in his first plate appearance of Sunday's series finale.
Track & Field
- Ole Miss continued its rich tradition at the Drake Relays, which celebrated its 106th year of existence this week, with four event titles and two runner-up finishes in Des Moines, Iowa.
- The Rebels have now won at least one event title in 10 straight years and 25 overall dating back to 1983. The four titles this year are the most since they racked up five in 2010 and tied for second-most in school history.
- Despite cold temperatures and some less-than-ideal wind and rain for a track meet, Ole Miss strung together four titles, which included sophomore Jalen Miller in the men's 100 meters (season-best 10.29), senior Phillip Young in the men's triple jump (season-best 52-8.75), the women's 4x100-meter relay squad (44.80) and freshman Brooke Feldmeier in the women's 800 meters (2:05.96).
- The women's 4x100-meter relay squad of Nicole Henderson, Shannon Ray, Khadijah Suleman and Jhorden Hunter remained undefeated against college competition, placing first among college teams at all six meets this season and ranking seventh in the nation with a season-best time of 44.11.
- Runners-up in Iowa included redshirt-freshman Dempsey McGuigan in the men's hammer throw (214-0) and the women's 4x200-meter relay of Mercedes Mattix, Kiannah Alexander, Breanna Tate and Deanna Tate (1:36.80).
- Ole Miss locked up a berth in the SEC Tournament over the weekend with a win over South Carolina in the weekend series. The Rebels can finish the year as high as ninth in the SEC standings and no lower than 12th.
- The Rebels picked up the 29th win over the season, tying the mark for second most wins in a season and one shy of tying the school record for wins in a season with four games left in the regular season.
- Ole Miss has set new records for offense this season with runs (282), triples (13), home runs (43), walks (156) and steals (82).
Hugh Freeze and Ross Bjork embarked on the Rebel Road Trip, the baseball team claimed their weekend series over Alabama that featured the largest crowd of the season and the football program's NFL presence is expected to grow with the NFL Draft next weekend. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:
- Headlined by Ole Miss football head coach Hugh Freeze and athletics director Ross Bjork headlined the fourth annual BancorpSouth Rebel Road Trip that featured 13 fan meetings over six days. Both Freeze and Bjork noted the same energy but a different belief and optimism than their first Rebel Road Trip together in 2012.
- Here's what Freeze had to say about his fourth Rebel Road Trip, speaking to reporters after the event: "I enjoy the meetings and seeing the Rebel people," Freeze said. "We ask them to come to our campus so much that the least we can do is to get out and be with them. The most difficult part for me is just being so out of touch with our players with exam time coming up and academic issues. It's just a long week, but it's so much fun being with the Rebel people and the passion that they have."
- And here's Bjork: "It's hard to believe, but it's still the same energy. What's been cool is that just about every place has been packed, really with the exception of one place, and the energy that's out there as far as away as Baton Rouge. Everybody's fired up about Ole Miss. That's what makes this worthwhile to do it. People get excited to see you. Winning makes people believe and gives them confidence and puts what we've been talking about into perspective that we can do it."
- Bjork, who recently agreed in principle to a contract extension that will keep him at Ole Miss through 2019, spoke about many of the same talking points on the tour in a question and answer earlier this month. In case you missed it, here's the State of the Program from April 14.
- The Ole Miss baseball team completed a 3-2 week, highlighted by a Saturday doubleheader sweep and home series win over Alabama, to improve to 23-22 overall and 10-11 in SEC play entering the final 11 games of the regular season, including weekend series at Missouri and then home series against Mississippi State and Texas A&M.
- Barring any rainouts, Ole Miss needs to go 6-5 over the final 11 games to finish two games over .500 and head to the SEC Tournament with a cushion. Ole Miss is currently tied with Auburn for eighth place in the SEC standings, 3.0 games ahead of Tennessee/Mississippi State, both at 7-14, for the 12th and final place in the SEC Tournament.
"You keep everything in perspective, and obviously today was disappointing," said Austin Knight after their loss Sunday. "But getting two of three and playing as well as we did Saturday was a good sign for us."
- On the mound, Brady Bramlett and Scott Weathersby combined for the Rebels' first shutout of the season, while Christian Trent also turned in a brilliant start to lift Ole Miss to a doubleheader sweep on Saturday. On the other side, head coach Mike Bianco said they will weigh other options for the third spot in the weekend rotation going forward.
- Interesting stat: In the Rebels' 4-0 shutout win over Alabama on Saturday night, Bramlett and Weatherby combined for 11 strikeouts compared to zero walks.
- As a team, Ole Miss swung it better this week, breaking double digits for runs in two of the five games and hitting at a .368 clip for the week, raising the team batting average 15 points to .262 for the season. Connor Cloyd tallied a multi-hit game in each of the five games, hitting .565 (13-for-23) with six runs scored and six RBI.
- Interesting stat II: After not hitting a home run in his first 183 career at-bats, Austin Knight hit home runs in back-to-back at-bats, the last at-bat of Saturday night's game and the first at-bat of Sunday afternoon's game.
- The Ole Miss men's and women's tennis teams will learn their NCAA Tournament destinations when the women's field is announced on Tuesday at 4 p.m., followed by the men's field at 4:30 p.m.
- The men, ranked No. 13 in the nation, are in good position to host the NCAA first and second rounds. The women, ranked No. 20 in the nation, are likely on the road for the NCAA first and second rounds, but perhaps because of their higher ranking, they will avoid one of the higher national seeds in the field.
- Senior Nik Scholtz, already the first Rebel to be named SEC Freshman and Player of the Year in a career, made some more history this past week. He was named to the All-SEC first team, becoming the first Rebel to be named to the All-SEC first team all four years.
- With three wins, two over Alcorn State and another over South Carolina, the Ole Miss softball team is one win shy of the most in school history, set during the 2005 season. The Rebels have four regular season games remaining, a midweek game at Mississippi Valley State and then a three-game series at Texas A&M, before starting play in the Southeastern Conference.
- Looking ahead to the 2015 football season, Freeze also spoke to reporters about the offseason strength and conditioning program for his team, headed by head football strength and conditioning coach Paul Jackson: "He'll have them ready. I have great trust in Paul and his staff, and he knows what he has to done for them to get into fall camp ready to roll."
- Also, in case you missed it, check out the Ole Miss football season tickets promo. Great work from Ole Miss Sports Productions.
- The Ole Miss football program is expected to add to its NFL presence with the 2015 NFL Draft next weekend, held Thursday through Saturday in Chicago and televised on ESPN and NFL Network. Cody Prewitt (No. 4 free safety, No. 124 overall player) and Senquez Golson (No. 16 cornerback, No. 129 overall players) are both projected fourth-round picks according to CBS Sports' latest NFL Draft prospect rankings.
- Prewitt and Golson would become the second and third players drafted during the Hugh Freeze era, joining Donte Moncrief, who was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the third round of last year's NFL Draft.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
April 14-20, 2015
- Ole Miss downed No. 22 Vanderbilt 4-1 to advance to the SEC Tournament semifinals for the 16th time in program history.
- The Rebels rallied to take the doubles point and then got straight set wins from Stefan Lindmark, Gustav Hansson and the clincher from William Kallberg.
- Lindmark won his seventh in a row and ninth SEC match of the year in the Vanderbilt win.
- The Rebels lost a tight 4-1 decision to No. 5 Georgia in the semifinals. The Bulldogs clinched the win at No. 5 singles winning a three-setter. When play was stopped, the Rebels were up in both remaining matches at three and six.
- Junior Stefan Lindmark was named to the SEC All-Tournament Team. He won both his singles and doubles matches on Friday to help the Rebels advance to the semifinals.
- Ole Miss shut out No. 20 Kentucky 4-0 in the second round of the SEC Championship to advance to the quarterfinals.
- The win over Kentucky avenged an earlier 4-3 loss to the Wildcats in the regular season.
- In the quarterfinals, the Rebels lost to No. 3 Florida 4-0 and are now 15-10 overall on the season.
- Senior Julia Jones won her 28th match in the win over Kentucky and needs just two more to become the 10th player in school history to post 30 wins in a season.
- Ole Miss finished 9th at the SEC Championship, its best finish at the event since 2012
- Junior Forrest Gamble finished tied for 11th, his best finish of the season
- The Rebels await a potential NCAA Championships bid, which would be the program's first since 2011
- Madi Osias was named SEC Pitcher of the Week after going 3-0 with an 0.82 ERA last week in an undefeated week for the Rebels.
- Ole Miss has set new program marks for home runs (38), triples (12) and stolen bases (80) with the performance of the past week.
- The Rebels have hit 26 wins on the year, marking the third most wins in a season in program history - four shy of the school record.
Track & Field
- Five school records and two meet records highlighted the Ole Miss Rebels' best weekend of the 2015 outdoor season to date at the Virginia Challenge in Charlottesville.
- Ole Miss athletes produced a total of 19 new marks that rank among the top 10 in school history, including several of those that place Rebel athletes among the top 20 or 25 in the nation this year. Ole Miss won two events and placed runners-up in four more on the weekend.
- The two men's school records were Craig Engels in the 1500m (3:40.28) and Dempsey McGuigan in the hammer throw (215-1).
- The three women's school records were Brooke Feldmeier in the 800m (2:05.29), the 4x100m relay squad of Nicole Henderson, Shannon Ray, Khadijah Suleman and Jhorden hunter (44.11) and Fabia McDonald in the heptathlon (5,736).
- Branden Greene set a meet record in his men's high jump victory (7-1), while the women's 4x100m relay also established a meet record in its triumph.
- The Rebels finished the week with a 2-2 mark to remain a .500 overall record for the season (20-20) as well as 8-10 in SEC play. To begin the week, sophomore Colby Bortles hit two home runs, including a grand slam, and senior Sikes Orvis added another as Ole Miss soared past UT Martin on Wednesday afternoon.
- With his grand slam and solo home run, Bortles became the first Rebel to record a multi-homer game since his teammate Orvis accomplished the feat against Missouri, March 22, 2014. The Oviedo, Fla. native hit his second grand slam over a three-game stretch, increasing his season home run total to six.
- Orvis completed the back-to-back homers with his eighth of the season. The senior first baseman reached base four times on the afternoon by also drawing three walks at the dish.
- Senior Sam Smith earned the victory on the mound, going six innings and allowing just one run on four hits. The start was Smith's 50th of his career, tying Kenny Carlyle for second in Ole Miss history.
- After waiting out a two-hour rain delay, the Rebels dropped a 3-1 decision to Auburn in the first game of the weekend series Friday night.
- Closing out the series, the Rebels split a Saturday afternoon doubleheader with Auburn. Ole Miss got three hits apiece from sophomores J.B. Woodman and Errol Robinson, while senior Austin Knight knocked in a career-high four runs in a 7-2 victory in game one.
- The Rebel sluggers smacked 13 hits, and the Ole Miss arms limited Auburn to just two runs, leaving 13 Tigers stranded on the base path. Bortles and Golsan added multi-hit games, combining for three RBI. Bortles increased his hitting streak to eight games, while also reaching base for the 17th-straight contest.
- The reigning SEC Co-Pitcher of the Week, senior Scott Weathersby (2-1) tossed 2.1 innings of relief and gave up one run while striking out three Tigers to earn his second win in as many appearances. The one run given up ended the Ole Miss bullpen's scoreless streak at 25.1 innings.
- Sophomore Wyatt Short pitched the final 2.2 innings to shut the door on Auburn and earn his team-leading sixth save of the season. Short has now allowed just one run in his last 12 appearances, spanning 21.2 innings. The southpaw has an impressive 0.67 ERA this season.
- The Ole Miss golf team closed out the 2014-15 campaign at the SEC Championship. Ole Miss closed the weather-plagued tournament in 14th place with a three-day score of 925.
- Freshman Sofia Idoyaga (Buenos Aires, Argentina) led the Rebels throughout the weekend finishing tied for 33rd place with a score of 225 (74-76-74), which is a new 54-hole low for the freshman.
- The SEC Championship marked the final collegiate tournaments for seniors Taelor Rubin and Stani Schiavone.
- Highlights from the 2014-15 season include winning the Memphis and Samford Intercollegiates, two top-5 finishes and two top-10 finishes.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
April 7-13, 2015
- Ole Miss finished the week with a 2-2 mark to remain a .500 overall record for the season (18-18) as well as 7-8 in SEC play. After dropping a midweek game to Southern Miss in Pearl, Miss., the Rebels bounced back to claim a SEC road series over No. 1 Vanderbilt. Ole Miss dropped the first game before taking the final two games from the top-ranked Commodores.
- Against Southern Miss, Connor Cloyd batted in the leadoff spot for the first time in his Ole Miss career, going 3-for-5 with two runs for a new career high in hits. Sophomore Colby Bortles added a pair of hits and two RBI, while senior Sikes Orvis drove in his team-leading 28th and 29th runs of the season with his eighth double of the 2015 campaign.
- Bortles continued his hot hitting into the weekend. With Ole Miss trailing by four in the top of the ninth on Friday night, Bortles tied the game by belting the second grand slam of his career. The third baseman was also the last Rebel to hit a grand slam before tonight, going deep against Arkansas State, May 13, 2014.
- After Ole Miss tied the game in the ninth, a two-out double by Henri Lartigue in the top of the 16th brought in the game-winning run.
- The bullpen trio of Jacob Waguespack, Wyatt Short and Scott Weathersby combined to pitch 11 shutout innings. Add in starter Brady Bramlett, and the Ole Miss pitching staff kept the No. 1 team in the country off the scoreboard for 14 of the 16 innings.
- Waguespack pitched three scoreless innings before Short added a pair of shutdown innings.
- Weathersby was named SEC Co-Pitcher of the Week, the conference office announced Monday. Weathersby finished the game by lasting a career-long six innings and striking out a career-high 10 hitters. Weathersby retired 18 of the 21 batters he faced, including getting out of a bases-loaded jam with nobody out in the bottom of the 11th.
- The 16-inning game was the second extra-inning game of the year for Ole Miss. The Rebels defeated then-No. 1 LSU in 14 innings earlier this season, rallying to tie the game in the ninth inning of that contest as well. The two games mark the first time in Ole Miss history that the Diamond Rebels have played two 14-plus inning games in one season. The 16-inning game also was the third-longest in program history.
- One night after rallying behind four runs in the ninth and coming back to win a 16-inning thriller, the Ole Miss baseball team maintained the momentum by taking down No. 1 Vanderbilt for the second-straight game, 5-4, to claim a big SEC series on the road. With a victory over the Commodores, the Rebels improved to an impressive 5-4 against No. 1 teams in 2015.
- Sophomore Errol Robinson provided the game-winning hit, a 2-RBI bases-loaded single in the top of the seventh, and the Ole Miss bullpen kept the Commodores off the board for the second-consecutive contest.
- Senior Sam Smith came out of the bullpen to pitch two scoreless innings of relief, and Waguespack closed out the ninth to earn his first career save. For the entire series, the Rebels' bullpen did not allow a run to score in 15.2 innings of work.
- Nine different Rebels recorded base hits throughout the afternoon as the team tallied 10 of them. Senior Austin Knight went 2-for-3 and added a walk to reach base three times. Holt Perdzock had a RBI double in his only plate appearance, and Cameron Dishon knocked in a run as well.
- In his fourth career start, facing a No. 1 team for the second time in his career, freshman Will Stokes put together a career outing. The right-hander went a career-long six innings, surrendering four runs on seven hits to earn the first victory of his young Ole Miss career.
- Ole Miss has won two-of-three series against No. 1 teams this season (Florida, Vanderbilt).
- In front of a crowd of approximately 15,000 fans, Ole Miss closed out spring practice with the annual Regions Bank Grove Bowl on Saturday. The Blue team defeated the Red team 17-7, behind a pair of long touchdown passes, one by junior quarterback Chad Kelly and another by senior running back Jaylen Walton on a halfback pass.
- Kelly finished 9-of-19 for 104 yards with a touchdown and an interception. DeVante Kincade was 9-of-18 for 93 yards and also led the Blue team with 50 rushing yards on 10 carries, while Ryan Buchanan was 5-of-16 for 49 yards with an interception.
- Jordan Wilkins led all players with 62 rushing yards on six carries, while Eugene Brazley rushed for 44 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown.
- Damore'ea Stringfellow led all receivers with three catches for 98 yards and a TD, while Derrick Jones was the Red team's top receiver with three catches for 35 yards.
- Defensively, Fadol Brown, Issac Gross and Channing Ward led all players with 2.0 tackles for loss apiece, while both of Gross' TFLs were sacks. Cornerback Kendarius Webster finished with three pass break-ups, and linebackers DeMarquis Gates and Terry Caldwell totaled five tackles each.
- No. 25 Ole Miss won twice this past week, shutting out Arkansas-Pine Bluff 6-0 and then rallying to top Mississippi State 4-3. The Rebels earned the No. 9 seed in the SEC Championship and will face the No. 8 seed, Kentucky, in the second round Friday at 9 a.m. CT.
- The Rebels have now won 26 straight against Mississippi State.
- Sophomore Zalina Khairudinova clinched the win, rallying from an 0-3 deficit in the final set. It marked the SEC match for her to clinch this year, as she also clinched the 4-3 win over Auburn.
- Senior Julia Jones became the seventh member of the 100-club, winning her 100th match against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. At 27-7 this year, she needs three wins to become the 10th player to record 30 in a season.
- The Rebels finished the regular season 8-3 at home.
- No. 14 Ole Miss split its last regular season matches, defeating South Carolina 4-2 in Columbia, before falling to No. 8 Georgia 4-0 in Athens. The Rebels earned the No. 4 seed in the SEC Championship and will face the winner of the No. 5 Vanderbilt vs. No. 12 Auburn/No. 13 Arkansas winner in the quarterfinals Friday at 4 p.m.
- This marks the 17th time for the Rebels to finish in the top third of the SEC and receive a first round bye in the tournament.
- The Rebels defeated South Carolina for the second time this season after dropping the doubles point. It marked the second SEC opponent the Rebels have beaten twice this year, including Florida.
- Junior Stefan Lindmark became the fifth player in program history to go undefeated in the SEC at 8-0. He owns a 12-3 record at No. 2 singles and has won six in a row. His win at South Carolina was also his 20th of the year.
- Senior Nik Scholtz clinched the win over South Carolina, his fourth clinch in the SEC and second on the road.
- In the latest ITA Attendance Race Standings, the Rebels are ranked fourth in average attendance (290) for the season. They finished the month of March third in total attendance and second in average attendance (336).
Track & Field
- Ole Miss had a very productive Friday in Starkville at the 2015 Border Clash, as Rebel athletes claimed four event titles, produced 11 new marks that rank top 10 in school history, and had six results that moved them into the top 40 nationally this season.
- The Border Clash, which pitted four schools from Mississippi against four schools from Alabama, saw the Mississippi men prevail 98-93 and the Alabama women win 108-61.
- For the men, Jalen Miller won the 100m (10.34), Robert Semien won the 110m hurdles (13.98) and Dempsey McGuigan claimed the hammer throw title (210-1).
- Craig Engels and Holland Sherrer went 2-3 in the 800m with times of 1:48.27 and 1:48.63 that rank them top six in school history and top 30 in the nation this year.
- The women were led once again by the quartet of Nicole Henderson, Shannon Ray, Khadijah Suleman and Jhorden Hunter, who won the 4x100m relay in 44.55 that ranks them third in school history and No. 8 in the NCAA this year.
- Racquel Moses was runner-up in the 400m hurdles (59.55) and Britt Ummels was runner-up in the 1500m (4:28.61).
- Ole Miss men who rank top 50 in the NCAA are Phillip Young in the triple jump (12th, 52-2.75), Miller in the 100m (17th, 10.34), McGuigan in the hammer (17th, 212-7), Engels in the 800m (19th, 1:48.27), Sherrer in the 800m (26th, 1:48.63), Semien in the 110m hurdles (28th, 13.98), Trevor Gilley in the 1500m (41st, 3:56.60), Adam Aguirre in the high jump (45th, 6-10.75), Branden Greene in the high jump (45th, 6-10.75) and Nathan Loe in the hammer (46th, 202-3).
- Ole Miss women who rank top 50 in the NCAA are Ray in the 100m (8th, 11.41), the 4x100m relay (8th, 44.55), Kierra White in the long jump (30th, 20-1), Hunter in the 100m (36th, 11.58), Moses in the 400m hurdles (37th, 59.55) and Fabia McDonald in the long jump (47th, 19-8.25).
- The Rebels continue to show improvement in the first year under the direction of head coach Mike Smith, improving in the win column and in statistical categories upon recent previous seasons.
- The Rebels have 35 home runs on the season after hitting only 31 home runs a year ago. Freshman 1B Alex Schneider leads the Rebels with eight home runs on the year, while 10 different players have home runs - including eight with multiple home runs.
- Ole Miss has also successfully stolen 76 bases on the year after only attempting 60 steals in 2014.
- The Rebels hit the 23-win mark last week, defeating Samford in a midweek contest to pass the win total from a year ago and with five wins in SEC play surpassed the win total from last season as well. It also is one win away from totaling the number of SEC wins over the previous two seasons combined by the Rebels.
The baseball team claimed claimed their second series of the second over the nation's top-ranked team in dramatic fashion. The football team wrapped up spring practice. And the men's and women's tennis teams closed out their respective regular seasons and will compete in their respective SEC Tournaments this week. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:
- For the baseball team, the weekend turned on one swing of a bat, a grand slam off the bat of Colby Bortles to tie Vanderbilt 5-5 in the top of the ninth Friday night. The Rebels later won the game in the 16th inning and carried the momentum and claimed the series with a 5-4 win in the series finale Saturday.
"Over the years, we have played really well against the No. 1 team, and we have come out on the right side of a lot of those games," said head coach Mike Bianco. "But I don't know if I have ever been more proud of a team to come on the road against the No. 1 team, after losing a midweek game, and face a team this talented; we just played great all weekend long."
- In case you missed it, check out the highlights of the Rebels' 6-5 win Friday night, including the game-tying grand slam by Bortles and the go-ahead RBI double by Henri Lartigue in the top of the 16th.
- It was the Rebels' second series win over a No. 1 team, improving to 5-4 against the nation's top ranked team with a 2-1 mark against Florida and Vanderbilt and a 1-2 mark against LSU. And as Chase Parham of Rebel Grove/Rivals.com noted, it was the first time Ole Miss back-ended an SEC series win since 2011 against South Carolina. The Rebels also back-ended a series win over Louisiana-Lafayette in the Super Regionals last year.
- Tip of the hat to the Ole Miss bullpen, which threw 15.2 scoreless innings this weekend, highlighted by senior Scott Weathersby, who went a career-long 6.0 innings and allowed just two hits with one walk and a career-high 10 strikeouts. He came into the game with the bases loaded and nobody out in the 11th inning and struck out the first two batters he faced and then got the third batter to fly out to end the threat.
- Freshman Will Stokes, making his fourth career start, put together a career outing and earned his first career win. He went a career-long six innings, giving four runs and scattering seven hits with a walk and four strikeouts.
- With the series win, Ole Miss back to .500 overall (18-18) with a 7-8 mark in league play at the halfway mark of the Southeastern Conference series. The Rebels have 20 regular season games remaining, including SEC home series against Alabama, Mississippi State and Texas A&M and SEC road series at Auburn and Missouri.
- Aaron Fitt of D1Baseball puts the Rebels "in solid at-large position despite their .500," due in part to their No. 1 strength of schedule in the nation entering Saturday and two marquee series wins over top-ranked foes.
- The football team wrapped up spring practice with the Grove Bowl on Saturday. The Blue team, quarterbacked by Chad Kelly, got the better of the Red team, quarterback by Ryan Buchanan, by a score of 17-7. The game featured big plays for both teams, including a 66-yard touchdown pass from running back Jaylen Walton to wide receiver Damore'ea Stringfellow on a halfback pass. Check out the recap, final stats and more here.
- Head coach Hugh Freeze said he would have given Buchanan a slight lead at quarterback going into the Grove Bowl, adding that even if he says that he had the lead, it was so minute and so small and so far from being over, and he may feel differently after watching the film from Saturday. Freeze also entertained the possibility that the competition might continue a couple of games into the season.
- Other than Freeze saying that Buchanan held a small lead entering the Grove Bowl, the most interesting thing to come out of the post-Grove Bowl media opportunity was co-offensive Dan Werner, who said they tweaked a few things in the running game, specifically that they got some ideas from some other teams that run similar offenses. The running game, based on what coaches have said and what we have seen in open scrimmages, appears to have taken a step forward.
- Someone asked me who would be my MVP of the Grove Bowl. I would say probably either Jordan Wilkins, who finished with 62 yards rushing on just six carries, including a 28-yard run, or Stringfellow, who hauled in three receptions for 98 yards, including that 66-yard touchdown reception.
- Perhaps the play of the Grove Bowl was cornerback Tony Bridges, who appeared to have gotten beat by the receiver, then recovered and broke up a deep pass down the sideline. Both him and fellow cornerback Tee Shepard impressed throughout the spring.
- The men's tennis team earned a split on the final weekend of Southeastern Conference play, including a key 4-2 win on the road at South Carolina that helped the Rebels earn the No. 4 seed and a double-bye in the SEC Tournament this week. Ranked No. 14 in the nation, Ole Miss can likely play their way into hosting for the NCAA first and second rounds.
- Junior Stefan Lindmark finished the season undefeated in the SEC (8-0), becoming the fifth player in school history and the first since 2009 to go undefeated.
- The women's tennis team won both its matches this past week, sweeping Arkansas-Pine Bluff 7-0 and defeating Mississippi State 4-3. With a win over UAPB, senior Julia Jones became the seventh player in program history to win 100 singles matches. With the win over Mississippi State, the Rebels have now won 26 straight against the Lady Bulldogs.
- Check out Josh McCoy's photo galleries from this past week. He was all over Grove Bowl week, from the Chucky Mullins Courage Award ceremony, to the Grove Bowl, to the other activities on campus.
- Check out Ole Miss Sports Productions' season recap videos for your Ole Miss men's basketball and women's basketball teams. Great work as always by their talented team.
- The major league baseball season began this past Sunday, and six former Ole Miss players began the season on opening-day rosters. That number has now grown to seven with the recent call-up of Matt Tracy, giving the program an SEC-best seven former players on major league baseball rosters.
- I sat down with Director of Athletics Ross Bjork to discuss the state of Ole Miss Athletics. Look for the full question and answer with him on the official website early this week . We discussed a wide range of topics that will be of interest for fans.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
March 31-April 6, 2015
- Ole Miss finished the week with a 2-2 mark to remain a .500 overall record for the season (16-16).
- The Rebels claimed a midweek victory over Memphis before dropping its first home weekend series of the year by losing two-of-three to Tennessee. In the two victories, Ole Miss rallied from three-run deficits due to clutch hitting.
- Against Memphis, the Rebels went 6-for-17 at the dish with runners on base for a .353 clip. With two outs, Ole Miss went 7-for-15 (.467) throughout the game.
- The trend continued to the next game, a Friday night win over Tennessee. As a team, the Rebels were 6-for-14 with two outs, 7-for-20 with runners on and 4-for-11 with runners in scoring position, scoring five of their 10 runs with two outs in the inning. Ole Miss also finished with a season high for runs (10) and hits (13) in a Southeastern Conference game this season.
- Freshman leadoff hitter Will Golsan recorded three hits, tying his career high, in both of the wins to lead the Rebels, including a career-high four RBI in Friday's victory over Tennessee.
- Junior left-hander Christian Trent earned the win over UT to improve to 5-2 on the season. He went 6.0 innings strong, giving up three runs and scattering seven hits with two walks and five. Senior Sikes Orvis homered in the win, the seventh of the season and 25th of his career.
- Golsan ended the week with a .412 average at the plate. Sophomore J.B. Woodman also had a solid week by batting .467. Woodman scored six of the Rebels' 22 runs, including a solo homer in the top of the ninth at Memphis to give the Rebels an important insurance run. Woodman tied Golsan for the team lead in hits throughout the week.
- Junior Connor Cloyd also produced at the dish when called upon to fill in as the team's designated hitter. In two games, Cloyd smacked multiple hits in each contests for the first two multi-hit games of his Ole Miss career. Cloyd scored three runs on Friday night to match his season total.
- On Saturday, junior Mitchel Babb pitched a career-high 3.1 innings without allowing a run and striking out four to surpass his season strikeout total in one game.
- Sophomore Wyatt Short appeared out of the bullpen in three of the four games and did not allow a run. Short saved both of the Rebels' wins before pitching the retiring all four batters he faced in the final game of the week on Sunday.
- Short allowed just one hit, limiting opposing hitters to a .083 average at the plate. Short now has a 3-1 record, five saves and an impressive 0.81 ERA as well as 27 strikeouts, only seven walks and just two earned runs over 22.1 innings (13 appearances).
- Ole Miss won both its matches last week, shutting out Tennessee and Kentucky to close out the regular season home schedule at 10-1. The Rebels improved to 15-6 overall and 7-3 in the SEC.
- The Rebels have now won six straight against Tennessee, while snapping a six-match losing streak to Kentucky.
- Senior Nik Scholtz went 3-0 in singles and doubles in his last regular season homestand, including team with Zvonimir Babic to clinch the doubles point against Tennessee with a win over the No. 2 team in the nation. Scholtz has now won 21 of his last 22 home matches.
- Stefan Lindmark clinched the win over Tennessee to improve to 12-3 at No. 2 singles and remain undefeated in the SEC at 7-0.
- Freshman Grey Hamilton made his SEC singles debut against Kentucky and won in straight sets to give the Rebels a 2-0 lead.
- Ole Miss split a pair of matches on the road, losing to No. 5 Georgia 4-0 and then shutting out Tennessee 4-0 to improve to 12-9 overall and 4-8 in the SEC.
- Senior Julia Jones clinched the win over Tennessee and picked up her 99th career victory. She needs just one more to become the seventh player in school history to join the 100-club.
- The Rebels have now won two straight and three of four against Tennessee.
- The Rebels have now posted three shutouts in SEC play this year.
Track & Field
- Ole Miss had a great weekend at the Tiger Track Classic in Auburn in a performance that head coach Brian O'Neal called a "complete meet."
- Overall, the Rebels earned three event titles, set one school record and posted several marks that rank among the NCAA's best this outdoor season.
- Phillip Young won the triple jump and long jump on the Plains. His triple jump of 52-2.75 ranks him No. 9 in the NCAA this year. His wind-assisted long jump of 25-4.75 (+5.3 wind) would have ranked him fourth nationally if not for the wind reading over the allowable +4.0.
- Dameon Morgan claimed the 800-meter title in 1:51.04.
- True freshman Shannon Ray had a breakout performance in the 100 meters, running 11.41 (first among collegians) to rank No. 2 in school history and sixth in the nation this season. She also helped the 4x100-meter relay team to a runner-up finish in 44.8, just off their season best of 44.73 that ranks them top 10 in the nation.
- Redshirt-freshman Dempsey McGuigan set a school record in the men's hammer throw in his first official outdoor competition as a Rebel, heaving the hammer 212 feet and 7 inches. That ranks him 14th nationally this year.
- Jalen Miller placed third overall and first among collegians in the men's 100 meters with a season-best time of 10.38 that ranks him 19th in the country this year.
- Kierra White placed fourth in the women's long jump with a season-best leap of 20-1 that ranks her 20th in the country.
- The Ole Miss women's golf team hosted the seventh annual Rebel Intercollegiate April 3-5. Ole Miss placed ninth with a three-day score of 896 (298-295-303--896) in its annual tournament which closed the regular season for the Rebels.
- Sophomore Maria Toennessen had a great weekend, posting a 54-hole career low of 216 and in opening round action carded a 70 for her 18-hole career low. Toennesssen competed as an individual but was the Rebels top finisher on the weekend, placing eighth for her first top 10 finish.
- Freshman Sofia Idoyaga also had a great weekend. The Argentine carded back-to-back rounds of 73 in the second and third rounds, which tied her career low for 18 holes. Additionally, her 54-hole score of 225 is a new career low for the freshman.
- Ole Miss' Allison Brown continued to play well for the Rebels in the weekend series at No. 2 LSU, hitting her fifth home run of the season and bringing the season total to 32 for the squad.
- Ole Miss has passed several marks from the 2014 season with 19 games left in the season. The Rebels have hit 32 home runs, passing last season's total of 30 home runs on the year.
- Ole Miss has also broken the mark for steals a year ago, successfully nabbing 69 bases in 2015 after only attempting 60 steals a year ago.
- The Rebels have posted 22 wins, matching last year's win total and the five wins in SEC play bests last year's three-game win total in conference play and is one shy of totaling the win mark in SEC play over the previous two seasons.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
March 24-30, 2015
-The Ole Miss women's basketball team saw its record setting season some to a close with a loss to Middle Tennessee in the third round of the WNIT. The Rebels closed the season with a 19-14 mark, the best record since 2006-07 and reached the postseason for the first time since 2009-10.
-Ole Miss' Tia Faleru concluded her decorated career with 1440 career points and 851 career rebounds. She ranks No 13 on Ole Miss' all-time scorers list. She also closed her career with 34 career double-doubles which ranks fifth all-time.
- Ole Miss improved to 21-13 on the year and 5-7 in the Southeastern Conference this past week, going undefeated in four games to run its current active win streak to six consecutive games.
- The Rebels posted a series sweep of the Arkansas Razorbacks, moving to five-straight wins in SEC play after the series win over No. 24 Mississippi State last weekend.
- The series sweep at Arkansas was the first of a three-game series in SEC play for the Rebels since the 2012 season when Ole Miss closed the year with three-game sweep of South Carolina at home.
- The sweep of the Razorbacks also marked the first three-game series sweep on the road in SEC play for the Rebels since the 2005 season when Ole Miss closed the season with a three-game sweep of Arkansas on the road.
- Senior 3B Allison Brown was named SEC Player of the Week after leading the Rebels to a three-game series sweep at Arkansas. Brown paced the Rebels at the plate, batting at a .778 clip against the Razorbacks and did not strike out through four games on the week while posting an .800 on base percentage on the week. She also hit a three-run home run in a game-one win and drove in the game-tying run to set up an extra-inning win in game two against the Razorbacks.
- Junior RHP Madi Osias picked up all three wins on the weekend - two of them in relief - to improve her season record to 6-7 in the circle.
- Freshman 1B Alex Schneider moved into the team lead in home runs as she notched her seventh of the season.
- Ole Miss has now hit 31 home runs on the year, passing last year's home run total in only 34 games played. Ole Miss has also stolen more bases this year (67) than the squad attempted all season in 2014.
- After claiming a series against No. 1 Florida, Ole Miss did not continue the momentum, going 1-4 last week.
- Along with their services behind the plate, catchers Austin Knight and Henri Lartigue led the Ole Miss bats throughout the week as the duo combined to hit .444. Knight had a weekly batting average of .455 with the help of tying his career high in hits versus Arkansas in the series finale. The senior went 3-for-4 at the plate with one double and a RBI. Lartigue posted an average of .429 throughout the week
- Speaking of personal bests, Cameron Dishon had a career night at the plate in the Rebels' win over Arkansas. Dishon led Ole Miss with a career-high three hits, including a solo home run for his second of the season. The Ole Miss right fielder crossed the plate twice and recorded a pair of RBI, knocking in the game's first run as well as his own on his blast to left field.
- Brady Bramlett allowed two runs on seven hits and a pair of walks, while also striking out five Razorbacks, to earn the victory on the mound. Sophomore Colby Bortles also contributed to the win, hitting his third homer of 2015 in what ended up being the game-winning run.
- In the series finale, junior college transfer Connor Cloyd recorded the first RBI base hit of his Ole Miss career.
- One night after earning the save and sealing a Rebels' victory, sophomore Wyatt Short pitched 2.2 innings and allowed one run on two hits in relief. The solo home run surrendered by Short ended an impressive stretch for the southpaw as it was the first time he gave up a run over 13.1 innings in seven appearances.
- Throughout the series against Arkansas, freshman Kyle Watson was the Rebels' first baserunner in all three games by drawing a walk in the second inning of each contest.
-Ole Miss claimed its first tournament title since wining the Johnie Imes Invitational in 2008 by winning the 2015 Samford Invitational with a three-roud score of 907. Ole Miss was led by senior Stani Schiavone who claimed her first career tournament title with a 7-under par 65 in the final round. Alison Hovatter took runner-up honors.
-Schiavone become the second Ole Miss player to take medalist honors a the Samford Invitational joining teammate Abby Newton who won the Memphis FedEx Intercollegiate in the fall. Schiavone's final round 65 was a new 18-hole career low and was the lowest round for a Rebel this season.
-For her efforts Schiavone was named SEC Women's Golfer of the Week. It as her first career accolade and the first SEC honor for Ole Miss since Abby Newton was named SEC Freshman of the Week in 2013.
Track & Field
- Ole Miss won five event victories at the Yellow Jacket Invitational in Atlanta this past weekend, the second meet of the 2015 outdoor season.
- The Rebel men were led by victories from Jalen Miller in the 100 meters, Robert Semien in the 110-meter hurdles and Adam Aguirre in the high jump. The women added titles from Brooke Feldmeier in the 1500 meters and the 4x100-meter relay team.
- Despite resting several normal contributors, the Rebels added a few more veteran players to the mix than they had in the season opener in Tuscaloosa. The results were favorable, as Ole Miss posted 10 more top-three event finishes in addition to the five victories.
- Rebel men who rank among the NCAA's top 30 are Miller in the 100m (26th, 10.50), Semien in the 110m hurdles (20th, 14.21), Aguirre in the high jump (T-28th, 6-10.75), Branden Greene in the high jump (T-28th, 6-10.75) and Nathan Loe in the hammer throw (25th, 202-3).
- Rebel women who rank among the NCAA's top 30 are Jhorden Hunter in the 100m (19th, 11.69), Shannon Ray in the 100m (30th, 11.74), the 4x100m relay (7th, 44.73), Kierra White in the long jump (16th, 19-10.25) and Fabia McDonald in the long jump (20th, 19-8.25).
- The Rebels went 1-2 last week, losing a close match at Mississippi State and then rallying to beat No. 24 LSU 4-3 before dropping the final match of the road trip to No. 9 Texas A&M. The Rebels enter the final two weeks of SEC regular season play at 13-6 overall and 5-3 in the SEC.
- Senior Nik Scholtz saved six match points against LSU to clinch the victory and hand the Tigers their first home loss of the season. He improved to 11-3 at No. 1 singles and is now one win away from his 80th career victory.
- Junior Stefan Lindmark continued his impressive play. He won in straight sets at LSU to remain undefeated in the SEC at 6-0 and is 10-3 at No. 2 singles. He needs just two more wins to get to 20 this year.
- Playing without their No. 2 player, the Rebels lost a pair of matches at home to LSU and No. 15 Texas A&M by a 4-2 score to fall to 13-7 overall and 3-7 in the SEC.
- Senior Julia Jones won both her matches to improve to 25-7 overall this year, 15-4 at No. 1 singles. She earned her 15th nationally ranked win on Sunday and also her 98th career win. She needs just two more to join the 100-club.
Ole Miss celebrated one of the most successful years in school history. The women's basketball team saw its season come to an end in the Sweet 16 of the Postseason WNIT. The football team continued spring practice, and we're now less than two weeks away from the Grove Bowl. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:
- The Ole Miss athletic department held the fifth annual Rebels' Choice Awards Monday night. Five different sports took home multiple awards, led by the football team, which took home five awards. Check out the full show here.
- The parity among the various sports and the caliber of candidates for each of the awards are a testament to the recent renaissance over the last calendar year that has included a College World Series appearance, a New Year's Six bowl appearance and an NCAA Tournament appearance in men's basketball, among other accomplishments.
- The Ole Miss women's basketball finishes the season with a 19-14 record, the best record since the 2006-07 season that ended in the Elite Eight. The Rebels lose three seniors from this year's team in Tia Faleru, Danielle McCray and Amber Singletary, but they will return a talented group that will look to lead the program back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time, also since that 2006-07 season.
- In the Sweet 16 of the Postseason WNIT, Head coach Matt Insell faced off against his father Rick Insell for the second time this season. Good read from The Clarion-Ledger's Riley Blevins on what MTSU billed as Family Feud II.
- The 2015 WNBA Draft will be held Thursday, April 16, and graduating senior Tia Faleru is ranked No. 21 in the WNBA Senior Class Elite 25. The draft contains three rounds and 36 overall picks.
- The baseball team was unable to sustain the momentum from a series win over No. 1 Florida, going 1-4 on the week, dropping both games of a doubleheader against UAB and then losing two of three on the road at Arkansas. The Rebels sit at 14-14 and 4-5 in SEC play, ahead of a midweek matchup at Memphis on Tuesday and a three-game home weekend series against Tennessee.
- The softball team also traveled to Arkansas, picking up their second straight series win, sweeping the Razorback and running their winning streak to six games. It was the first three-game sweep of an SEC foe since the final weekend of the 2012 season. They also showed up in support of the baseball team for their series opener on Thursday, before starting their own series on Friday.
- The football team wrapped up week three of spring practice with a two-hour practice inside the Manning Center on Saturday, a practice that resembled a scrimmage with 7-on-7 play and 11-on-11 live action. Check out my spring update, as well as my feature on Laquon Treadwell, who's about 80 percent back from injury.
- All three quarterbacks did good things on Saturday, and head coach Hugh Freeze and co-offensive coordinator Dan Werner said as much. Freeze also said he does not expect to name a starter until about midway through fall camp.
- Saturday was also my first live look at the team, including a talented group of newcomers. Tony Bridges, D.J. Jones, Chad Kelly and Javon Patterson have all drawn high praise from the coaches, and all four players looked the part on Saturday.
- A couple of plays also stand out from Saturday. Kelly put a couple of deep balls out there, one on the first play of 11-on-11 action and another to Quincy Adeboyejo that would have gone for a touchdown, if it wasn't called back. Another play was Damore'ea Stringfellow making a one-handed grab on a fade route against Bridges. Watching those two go against each other was something to watch.
- Here's more from Freeze about Kelly: "His arm strength is pretty dang good. He gets it out there and he puts the right amount of air under it. We threw some good deep balls with him today. He hit Quincy on one, and he threw a couple of other nice ones... Chad's arm is a little stronger than we have been used to."
- Here's more from Werner about Kelly: "It's amazing how quickly he picks the stuff up. He's been a really quick study."
- The 13th-ranked men's tennis team finished a brutal 10-day stretch that included five SEC matches, the last three all on the road in a span of five days. The Rebels went 3-2, including a 1-2 over the final three games this past week. The highlight of the week was Nik Scholtz, who erased six match points to deliver a 4-3 win at No. 24 LSU on Friday. The Rebels are now 13-6 overall and 5-3 in the SEC.
- In women's tennis action, Julia Jones won her 97th and 98th career matches, and she might have a chance to win her 100th career match next weekend. The 21st-ranked Rebels are now 11-8 overall and 3-7 in the SEC.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
March 17-23, 2015
- Ole Miss scored 62 second-half points to overcome a 17-point halftime deficit, rallying past 11th-seeded BYU 94-90 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday.
- The Rebels fell to Xavier 76-57 Thursday in the NCAA Tournament Second Round to end their season with a record of 21-13.
- Ole Miss is one of only three schools in the SEC (Florida and Kentucky) to advance to the NCAA Tournament two of the last three years.
- Ole Miss moved to 2-0 in WNIT action with a 63-48 win over Georgia Tech in second round WNIT action. Ole Miss is now 22-22 all-time in postseason action and is a perfect 3-0 in WNIT games played at Tad Smith Coliseum.
- The win sets up a rematch with Middle Tennessee, the team that handed Ole Miss its first loss of the season which happens to be coached by Rick Insell, father of Ole Miss head coach Matt Insell.
- Tia Faleru posted her 14th double-double of the season and her 34th career double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds against Georgia Tech. She also reached the 20-point mark for the 18th time in her career and for the first time since scoring 23 in a road win at Auburn on Feb. 19.
- With its two WNIT games, Ole Miss is just one win away from the first 20-win season since 2006-07. Ole Miss, who advances to the third round of the WNIT for the just the second time, will take on the winner of NC State vs. Temple if they should defeat the Blue Raiders.
- Ole Miss¹ 20 assists vs. UT Martin in opening round action are the most for the Rebels in the WNIT and the 80 points are the third most for Ole Miss in WNIT action. Additionally, the 14 steals against Georgia Tech are the most in WNIT action.
- The Rebels went 3-1 this week, including taking 2-of-3 from No. 1 Florida. Ole Miss started the week by rallying in the bottom of the ninth to defeat Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 7-6. Behind solid pitching and home runs in the first inning of each game, the Rebs continued their winning ways with victories in the first two games against Florida to claim the series.
- Through his first two career SEC starts, Brady Bramlett has allowed just two earned runs in 13.0 innings of work.
- With the series win, Ole Miss has won 12 of its last 18 home series against top-10 teams, dating back to 2003, including a 4-0 record against No. 1 ranked teams. The stretch also included series wins over No. 1 Georgia in 2009, No. 1 South Carolina in 2011 and No. 1 Florida in 2012.
- Ole Miss was 3-0 this week with the senior Orvis in the lineup, including a pair of victories over No. 1 Florida. In the first two weekends of SEC play, Orvis is hitting .421 with three doubles, two home runs and nine RBI for an .895 slugging percentage, all team highs.
- Freshman Will Golsan earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors, first for Golsan in his young Ole Miss career as well as the Rebels' first weekly accolade of the 2015 season
- Golsan led Ole Miss with a .389 average at the plate this week. He helped spark a ninth-inning rally before scoring the game-winning run against UAPB. He also recorded three multi-hit games throughout the week and scored a team-high four runs.
- The Rebels picked up the first SEC win of the season and a series win over nationally-ranked Mississippi State this past weekend.
- The series win over Mississippi State marked the first since the 2010 season.
- It also provided Ole Miss its first series win against a nationally-ranked opponent since the 2009 season (No. 12 Tennessee).
- Ole Miss picked up an 8-7 win in nine innings and a 14-8 win to sweep a doubleheader and claim the series.
- No. 13 Ole Miss won both its SEC matches this past weekend, downing Auburn 4-1 and No. 15 Florida 4-0 to improve to 12-4 overall and 4-1 in the SEC.
- It marked the second win over Florida this season.
- Senior Nik Scholtz went 4-0 in singles and doubles including clinching the win against Florida. He is now 10-3 at No. 1 singles.
- Freshman Gustav Hansson went 3-0 in singles and doubles, including clinching the doubles point against Auburn in a tiebreaker.
- Junior Stefan Lindmark also went 3-0 in singles and doubles, clinching both the doubles point and the match against Auburn. He improved to 9-3 at No. 2 singles.
Track & Field
- Led by freshman sprinter Shannon Ray, the Ole Miss women posted a pair of event victories and saw several personal bests during the outdoor season opener at the Alabama Relays this past weekend. Ray won the 100-meter title in her college outdoor debut Friday, clocking a personal best of 11.74, which ranks her top 10 in school history. Senior Jhorden Hunter was runner-up in 11.79.
- The Ole Miss women captured the 4x100-meter relay crown Saturday with a time of 44.73 that ranks sixth-best in school history and sixth-best in the nation so far this outdoor season. The Rebels' squad consisted of Nicole Henderson, Ray, Khadijah Suleman and Hunter.
- A number of other freshmen had strong outdoor debuts on the women's side. Brittany Kelly tied for third in the high jump with a clearance of 5-7 that ties her for 10th in school history. Lanae Newsome got sixth in the triple jump and ranks 10th in school history with a mark of 39-5.75. Emily Bean ran 17:25.15 to enter the school record books at No. 9 in the 5,000 meters.
- Ole Miss' small contingent of men had some highlights despite resting most of the normal stars. Juniors Dameon Morgan and Holland Sherrer, who normally run the 800 meters, got fourth and fifth in the 400 in 48.59 and 48.80, respectively. In the high jump, junior Adam Aguirre cleared 6-8.75 to place fifth.
- On Thursday night, Nathan Loe and Kevin Conway put up solid marks in the hammer throw. Loe went 202-3 to place fourth overall (15th-best in NCAA this year), while Conway posted a personal-best mark of 195-11 that moved him up to third-best in the school record books.
- No. 17 Ole Miss dropped both its matches this past weekend, falling to No. 2 Florida and South Carolina on the road. The Rebels are now 11-6 overall and 3-5 in the SEC.
- Senior Julia Jones beat the No. 5 ranked player in the nation on Friday for her 96th career win. She needs just four more to become the fifth player in program history to join the 100-club.
- Freshman Natalie Suk also picked up a big win Friday, defeating the No. 32 ranked player.
- Junior Forrest Gamble notched six birdies in his final round en route to a 69 at the Schenkel Invitational Saturday.
- Gamble posted 1-over 73 in the second round earlier in the day that included five birdies and tied in a tie for 40th.
- Ole Miss finished 14th in the team standings with a score of 7-over par 871.
The men's basketball team saw its run in the NCAA Tournament come to an end in the Round of 64 after a thrilling win in the First Four. The women's basketball team won two postseason WNIT games to continue its postseason run. And the spring sports on posted some big wins over the weekend. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:
- The Ole Miss men's basketball team tipped off the madness of March and captured the nation's attention with their 94-90 win over BYU in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Rebels scored 62 second-half points to erase a 17-point halftime deficit.
"Having to play in the First Four, I thought, was a very unique experience, exciting, very exciting as the kickoff to March Madness," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "And now we have the advantage of having won a game and having played awfully well, and quite frankly, catching the eye and the ear of the world of college basketball for one small segment."
- Before Ole Miss and Xavier tipped off on Thursday, I arrived at Jacksonville's Veterans Memorial Arena early to watch No. 3 seed Baylor take on No. 14 seed Georgia State and came upon one of the signature moments that makes March Madness. The lower-seeded Panthers outscored Baylor 13-0 over the last 2:53 for the 57-56 win. Georgia State head coach Ron Hunter's son, R.J. Hunter, accounted for 12 of the 13 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds left. And if you haven't seen it, check out the Vine, shot, celebration and all.
- Ole Miss unable to repeat the feat in the third round, unable to overcome a 33 percent shooting night and a 6-for-27 mark from 3-point range in a 76-57 loss to Xavier. Every time the Rebels made a run, the Musketeers had an answer, paced by leading scorer and Uber driver Matt Stainbrook, who scored a game-high 20 points.
- We're only days removed from the end of the 2014-15 season, but looking back, the 2014-15 team will go down in history as one of Kennedy's best coaching jobs and one of the most accomplished teams in program history. This year's team finished with a 21-13 record and went to NCAA Tournament for the eighth time in program history, where they picked up the fifth NCAA Tournament win in program history.
- Five seniors saw their Ole Miss careers come to an end, none more accomplished than four-year starting point guard Jarvis Summers. The Jackson native finishes his career as just the fourth player in SEC history with 1,600 points and 500 assists. He is also one of only nine players in Ole Miss history with 80 career wins.
- The Rebels received plenty of local and national coverage during its NCAA Tournament run. One of my favorite stories that came out of the run was a feature on former player and current assistant coach Todd Abernethy from The Clarion-Ledger's Hugh Kellenberger.
- Xavier, by the way, has advanced to the Sweet 16 with a 75-67 win over Georgia State in the Round of 32 on Saturday. One of the most consistent program in recent years, Xavier has now advanced to five Sweet 16 in eight years.
- The women's basketball team has made some history of its own, picking up two wins in the Postseason WNIT, an 80-70 win over UT Martin, followed by a 63-48 win over Georgia Tech. Ole Miss last won multiple games in a postseason appearance in 2006-07, when the Rebels reached the NCAA Elite Eight. The Rebels are also just one win away from their first 20-win season, also since 2006-07.
- Earlier this season, head coach Matt Insell visited fraternity and sorority houses to drum up support for his team and program. This week, he challenged fans to hit him up on Twitter for tickets to attend their game against Georgia Tech. And his efforts have begun to show with higher attendance and a better home court experience in recent games, two things that will only continue to grow and improve as his process continues and the Rebels move into their new home at The Pavilion of Ole Miss.
"Playing in the postseason, we have momentum in our program," head coach Matt Insell said. "This program hasn't momentum in a long time. Nobody has talked about this program in a long time. Last year, about this time, we were getting ready to play Auburn and we were lucky to have 200 people here. Now, we have people who are coming and into our game. We're gathering support. It's huge momentum for recruiting and it's huge momentum for our young kids to continue to get practice time and game experience."
- For Matt Insell and the Rebels, the win over Georgia Tech sets up a rematch with Matt's father, Rick, and his Middle Tennessee State team in the Sweet 16 of the Postseason WNIT. The elder Insell got the better of the younger Insell in their earlier meeting this season in Oxford, while the rematch will be Thursday at 7 p.m. in Murfreesboro.
- The Ole Miss baseball team took two of three from No. 1 Florida, their fourth straight home series win over a top-ranked team. With the series win over the top-ranked Gators, the Rebels have gone 4-4 against top-10 team over the last two week, a stretch that included a midweek series at No. 8 Louisville, a weekend series on the road at No. 1 LSU and a weekend series at home against No. 1 Florida.
- The double-barrel of Christian Trent and Brady Bramlett continue to lead the way on the mound. They have made five quality starts in six starts each this season. Here's more on Trent, Bramlett and the series win over Florida.
- Sikes Orvis, a social media star after his heroics in a win over No. 1 LSU last weekend, continued his tear at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a double, home run and four RBI in the series-clincher against No. 1 Florida. Through the first two weekends of SEC play, Orvis is hitting .421 with three doubles, two home run and nine RBI, all team highs.
- In softball action, head coach Mike Smith picked up his first SEC win and first SEC series win, as Ole Miss took both games of Saturday's doubleheader from No. 24 Mississippi State to claim the weekend series with the Bulldogs. The Rebels won the first game in dramatic fashion, rallying in extra innings and scoring the game-winning run on a walk-off wild pitch. In the second game, the Rebels batted around as part of an eight-run first inning on the way to a 14-8 win.
- With the series win, Ole Miss improves to 8-3 against Mississippi State in head-to-head competition during the 2014-15 school year, including wins in football and soccer, a season sweep in volleyball and men's basketball and now a series win in softball.
- The No. 13 ranked Ole Miss men's tennis team won both of its weekend matches, highlighted by a 4-0 win over No. 15 Florida on Sunday. It was a rematch of their earlier meeting at the ITA Kickoff Weekend in Gainesville, where the Rebels rallied for a 4-3 win. Senior Nik Scholtz clinched the 4-0 win with a three-set win at No. 1 singles.
- Ole Miss Athletics photographer Josh McCoy had a busy week, traveling with the men's basketball team from Oxford, to Dayton, to Jacksonville, back to Oxford, where he shot a busy weekend on the Ole Miss campus. Check out his many galleries from the week that was. My personal favorite is his gallery from the men's basketball win over BYU.
- Don't forget, Ole Miss will be honoring the athletic achievements of Ole Miss student-athletes over the past year at the fifth annual Rebels' Choice Awards on Monday. Three of the awards, Play of the Year, Game of the Year and Fan Favorite Rebel, were determined by fan vote. Stay tuned to the official website for a full recap.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
March 10-16, 2015
- Ole Miss returns to the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time in school history and has an all-time record of 4-7 in the Big Dance.
- The Rebels are making their second appearance in the NCAA Tournament in the last three seasons under head coach Andy Kennedy, who is making is his ninth trip as a player and coach.
- Ole Miss has posted 20 wins for the seventh time in nine seasons under head coach Andy Kennedy. The Rebels recorded just seven 20-win campaigns in the 96 seasons before Kennedy's arrival.
- Ole Miss ranks third in the nation in free throw percentage, hitting 77.8 percent of its attempts. The Rebels have hit 387 of their last 492 (.787) attempts from the line. Junior G Stefan Moody leads the SEC and ranks eighth in the nation shooting 90.1 percent from the free throw line.
- Head coach Andy Kennedy recently passed Alabama's Wimp Sanderson for the third-most wins in SEC history with by a coach in his first nine years in the league at one school with 191. He trails only Kentucky's Joe B. Hall (205) and Florida's Billy Donovan (193).
- Junior G Stefan Moody earned All-SEC first team honors from the league coaches after leading the SEC in scoring at conference games at 18.6 ppg. Moody also lead the league in steals averaging 2.0/game.
- Senior G Jarvis Summers led the league in assists in SEC play at 5.3/game and has posted 88 assists in his last 16 games. Summers is the SEC active career leader in points (1,618), assists (513), minutes (3,823) and wins (83), and is just the fourth player in SEC history with 1,600 career points and 500 career assists.
- Ole Miss finished a five-game week on the road with a 2-3 mark, splitting a series with No. 8 Louisville before dropping the opening series of SEC play to No. 1 LSU.
- Senior Sikes Orvis led the Rebels in nearly every statistical category this week, and led Ole Miss to a thrilling 14-inning victory over No. 1 LSU Saturday night. Orvis drove in the game-tying RBI in the top of the 9th before doubling in the game-winning run in the 14th.
- He also snagged a line drive in the bottom of the 10th and caught the go-ahead run off of third for a game-saving double play.
- In the series finale, Orvis hit a towering three-run home run that went an estimated 431 feet, his fourth of the season.
- Will Stokes picked up two saves against top 10 teams during the week. The right-hander pitched a season-high five innings, allowing just one run on two hits to go along with a career-high four strikeouts, to collect the save against No. 8 Louisville.
- Stokes entered the game vs. No. 1 LSU in a pressure-packed situation on national television. In the bottom of the 14th, the Rebels held a two-run lead, but LSU had the tying run on base and the winning run at the plate with one out. However, Stokes was able to bear down and get a key strikeout before forcing a flyout to left field to end the thrilling ballgame.
Track & Field
- Jalen Miller earned a bronze medal in the men's 60 meters to lead the way for Ole Miss at the 2015 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships this past weekend in Fayetteville, Arkansas. On the weekend, Ole Miss athletes broke two school records and scored team points in three different events.
- Three Rebels garnered first team All-America status from the USTFCCCA by placing top eight in their events and scoring team points.
- Miller finished third in the 60-meter final with a time of 6.57 one day after he was the top qualifier in a school-record 6.54. It was the first defeat of the season for Miller in the 60, but he has now run 6.60 or better an NCAA-best 10 times (in 11 races).
- Phillip Young had a career day in the triple jump, posting an indoor personal-best 53-4.5 to finish eighth. With that jump, he moved into the No. 2 spot in the Ole Miss indoor record books.
- Freshman Brooke Feldmeier scored a point with an eighth-place finish in the women's 800 meters in 2:05.80. The Olympia, Washington, native capped a phenomenal rookie season by being one of only 13 freshmen women to place top eight at the NCAA indoor meet. Her time of 2:04.30 in the semifinals broke her own school record that she set in a runner-up finish at the SEC meet.
- Ole Miss tied for 28th in the men's team standings, just one point shy of a top-25 finish. The women tied for 52nd.
- The No. 13 Rebels split a pair of matches last week, losing to No. 2 Baylor in a close 4-1 match and then defeating Arkansas 4-1 to improve to 10-4 overall and 2-1 in the SEC.
- Senior Nik Scholtz picked up a big win against Baylor, knocking off the No. 4 ranked player in the nation, Julian Lenz, in straight sets.
- The Rebels won their 28th straight against Arkansas.
- Stefan Lindmark won his 15th match of the year and remained undefeated in the SEC at 3-0.
- The No. 16 Rebels split their matches this past weekend, falling to No. 6 Alabama in a close match and then edging No. 31 Auburn 4-3 to improve to 11-4 overall, 3-3 in the SEC.
- Sophomore Zalina Khairudinova clinched the win over Auburn, as the Rebels improved to 27-15 against the Tigers all-time. She is now 6-0 at No. 6 singles and 2-0 in SEC matches.
- Senior Julia Jones earned her 95th career win, beating 74th-ranked Pleun Burgmans of Auburn in straight sets. Jones improved to 22-6 overall and 12-3 at No. 1 singles.
- Junior Mai El Kamash put the Rebels on the board after they had dropped the doubles point, with a straight set win at No. 4 singles. It marked her 20th win of the year.
- In its third spring tournament, The Ole Miss men's golf finished in a tie for fifth place with a score of 881 (294-302-285). The Rebels, who began third and final round in 10th place, fired the second-lowest team score with a 3-under par 285.
- The Rebels also posted the second-lowest team score with a 6-over par 294 in first round action, led by junior Forrest Gamble and sophomore Ben Wolcott who each shot a team-best 1-over par 73.
- Senior Blake Morris finished in 18th place with a three-round score of 217. Morris carded four-straight birdies on the back nine to finish with a 3-under par 69 in the final round. Gamble and Wolcott finished in a tie for 22nd place with a three-round score of 219.
- In its second spring tournament, the Ole Miss women's golf team finished 14th with a score of 954 (318-319-317 --954). Alison Hovatter closed in 44th in the individual standings with a three-day score of 234. Ole Miss individuals also played well Stani Schiavone and Madisen Bentley finishing tied for 18th with 54-hole scores of 228.
- Kaitlin Voll, also playing as an individual, posted a career-low in the second round, firing an even par 72. Her round of 72 was one of two even par rounds on the weekend for Ole Miss as Stani Schiavone carded a 72 in the second round.
- Stani Schiavone received news that she earned the Taylor Medal - the highest academic honor one can receive at Ole Miss. She is the second Ole Miss women's golfer to earn the award in the last three years, joining former teammate Kathryn Fowler as women's golfers to receive the award. Less than one percent of Ole Miss' student population receives the prestigious honor.
- Sophomore Alison Weisz competed in the NCAA Championships in smallbore and shot a 569.This marked the second year in a row for Weisz to compete in the NCAA Championships. She qualified in air rifle as a freshman in 2014.
The men's basketball received a bid to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years. The women's basketball team learns its fate Monday. The football team was off for spring break, while the spring sports are in the middle of league action. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:
- As you know by now, Ole Miss was selected as a No. 11 seed and will play BYU, and should they win, they would play No. 6 seed Xavier in the Round of 64 on Thursday in Jacksonville, Florida. The other pairing in the four-team pod is No. 3 seed Baylor and No. 14 seed Georgia State.
- But in case you missed it, here's a Vine of the team's reaction after seeing they made the tournament (via TJ Werre)
- As Michael Thompson noted on Twitter, with an NCAA Tournament appearance in men's basketball, Ole Miss is the only school to have been to the College World Series, a New Year's Six bowl game and the NCAA Tournament in the last 10 months.
- Head coach Andy Kennedy, who had already accounted for half of the program's 20-win season, now accounts for one-fourth of the program's NCAA Tournament appearances.
- Ole Miss was the fourth-to-last team in the Field of 68, but despite their safeness relative to other teams closer to the cut line, they needed some help, and they got it throughout the conference tournament season, whether it was fellow bubble teams that lost or just one true "bid thief" that emerged.
"I have a dog, and when you clap your hands or raise your voice, the dog crazy, so needless to say, the dog was going crazy a lot on Saturday," said Kennedy of scoreboard-watching this past week.
- Historically, No. 11 seeds and First Four teams have made runs in the NCAA Tournament, none more memorable than Shaka Smart's 2011 Virginia Commonwealth team that reached the Final Four. Ole Miss has showed its capable of such a run, whether it was three top 50 RPI wins away from home, winning six games in a row or playing No. 1 overall seed and undefeated Kentucky to the wire, also away from home. I wrote more about the Rebels' capabilities and their opportunity here.
- Ole Miss is one of five SEC teams in the NCAA Tournament, the fifth-most among all conferences and the most for the conference since 2011, when the league also had five teams in the field. That relative strength of the SEC likely played an important role in getting the Rebels into the field.
- From the truth is stranger than fiction category: As a player, assistant coach and head coach for Valparaiso, Bryce Drew has participated in five NCAA Tournaments. Ole Miss has participated in four of those same five NCAA Tournaments, including the 2013 and 2015 editions.
- On first look, here are a couple of things that stand out about BYU. The Cougars rank second in the nation in scoring, averaging 83.6 points per game, the best among teams in the NCAA Tournament. BYU senior guard Tyler Haws, the school's all-time leading scorer, besting Jimmer Fredette, averages 21.9 points per game, third in the nation and second among players in the NCAA Tournament.
- Also noteworthy: In BYU's first and only other appearance in the First Four in Dayton, the Cougars completed the biggest comeback in NCAA Tournament history, defeating Iona 78-72 after trailing by 25 points in the game.
- Facing a pair of tough road series this past week, the baseball team split its midweek series at No. 8 Louisville and won one of three at No. 1 LSU over the weekend. The Rebels showed flashes of what they could be this season in the 5-3 win over the Tigers in 14 innings on Saturday night, in the SEC Network primetime slot.
- #FearTheStache was trending on Twitter at one point Saturday, as Sikes Orvis went 3-for-6 with two doubles and two RBI, the game-tying run in the ninth and the go-ahead in the 14th, later scoring an insurance run in the same half-inning. He also snagged a line drive for a game-saving double play in the 10th.
- It doesn't get any easier for Ole Miss, as the Rebels host No. 3 Florida in their first SEC home series of the season after a midweek home contest against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Wednesday. The first half of the SEC slate also includes a road series at No. 16 Arkansas and a home series against No. 5 Vanderbilt.
- The women's basketball team is expected to earn a berth in the Women's National Invitational, and if selected to host, the Rebels would play a first-round game on Thursday night. The announcement of the entire WNIT will come late on Monday night. It would be their first postseason appearance since 2009-10.
- Three Ole Miss athletes earned All-American honors at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, highlighted by Jalen Miller's bronze-medal finish in the men's 60 meters. Phillip Young (men's triple jump) and Brooke Feldmeier (women's 800 meters) joined Miller in earning All-American honors.
- The men's tennis team split its matches this past week, dropping a 4-1 decision to No. 2 Baylor and picking up a 4-1 win over Arkansas, improving to 2-1 in SEC play. Looking ahead, the Rebels play five matches in 10 days, including a home match against No. 18 Florida and a road match at No. 9 Texas A&M.
- The women's tennis team also split its matches this past week, moving to 3-3 in SEC with a loss to Alabama and a win over Auburn. Senior Julia Jones also moved one step closer to history, picking up her 95th career win.
The men's basketball team returns to the site of its 2013 SEC Tournament title, looking to punch its ticket to the NCAA Tournament. The women's basketball team awaits its postseason fate, the baseball team hits the road for its longest road trip of the season, during which they will play two top-15 teams, and the football team opened spring practice. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:
- The Ole Miss men's basketball team split its final week of the regular season, finishing with a 20-11 overall and 11-7 SEC record, tied for third place in the league standings. However, by virtue of a tiebreaker, the Rebels will be the No. 6 seed in the Nashville, where they await the winner of No. 11 seed South Carolina and No. 14 Missouri in the nightcap of Thursday's second-round games.
- With the win over Alabama on Tuesday night, Ole Miss picked up its 20th win of the season, the seventh 20-win season in nine seasons under head coach Andy Kennedy. The Rebels recorded just seven 20-win season in the 96 seasons before Kennedy's arrival.
- Against Vanderbilt, Ole Miss shot over 40 percent and committed just six turnover, but they were unable to overcome a hot shooting night from the Commodores. As a team, Vanderbilt shot 54.5 percent from the field and went 13-for-23 from 3-point range, tying its season high for 3-point field goals made.
"They put on a clinic," Kennedy said. "They've been shooting the ball well. They're as good a shooting team as we've faced maybe in the nine years here. Basketball is a game of rhythm. You have to disrupt theirs and establish yours. We didn't tonight. We were a step slow. We've been a step slow all year, and I've had to create defenses. We were moving slow, and they were making shots. We didn't have any answers."
- Looking ahead, Ole Miss returns to Nashville, the site of its 2013 SEC Tournament title, and faces the same path this week, but with an additional second-round game against the winner of the South Carolina and Missouri matchup. Georgia awaits in a possible quarterfinal matchup, a team Ole Miss played in last year's quarterfinals.
- As far as the NCAA Tournament, despite the loss to Vanderbilt, Ole Miss remains a team projected in the field, as a No. 10 seed in ESPN's Joe Lunardi's bracket, and as one of the last four teams in the field in CBS Sports' Jerry Palm's and USA Today's Shelby Mast's brackets. Here's more from Palm, who had the Rebels among his teams "on the fence" in his latest Bubble Watch.
- Earlier in the week, after the win over Alabama, ESPN's Eamonn Brennan considered the Rebels a lock in his latest Bubble Watch, but after the loss to Vanderbilt, he rescinded that. Here's more from Brennan.
"I don't know what has transpired around the country, but our name has not been mentioned one time in any bubble conversation," Kennedy said. "It probably will now. We've probably put ourselves in a precarious situation where we need to look at what other people do."
- One of my favorite sports data and analytics sites, Team Rankings, projects Ole Miss as a No. 12 seed and gives the Rebels a 55 percent chance of making the NCAA Tournament. With one win in Nashville, Team Rankings gives them a 51.3 percent chance, and with two wins, it jumps up to 77.0 percent.
- Bid thieves shrink the NCAA Tournament bubble. And as Brennan noted in his latest Bubble Watch, they are most likely to come from high-major leagues this season. Bubble teams breathed a collective sigh of relief when Northern Iowa won the Missouri Valley Conference on Sunday, making it a two-bid league instead of a three-bid league. On a similar note, bubble teams would also probably like to see Gonzaga win the West Coast Conference automatic bid.
- After a strong end to the regular season, the Ole Miss women's basketball team fell short in a 72-61 loss to Arkansas in the second round of the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament. The Rebels, now 17-13 and likely Postseason WNIT bound, will learn their postseason fate on Monday, March 16. It would be their first postseason appearance since 2009-10.
- Here's a couple of great stories related to the Ole Miss pep band, which stepped in as a replacement to act as Kentucky's band, which was unable to make the trip to Little Rock for the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament due to inclement weather. For our story, click here. For the stories from The Clarion-Ledger and The Lexington Herald-Leader, click here and here.
- The Ole Miss baseball team claimed its third weekend series of the season, sweeping Saturday's doubleheader before dropping Sunday's series finale. The Rebels, now 8-6, face a pair of tough road series this week, a two-game midweek series at No. 11 Louisville, and a three-game weekend series at No. 2 LSU.
- The star of Saturday's doubleheader sweep was sophomore right-hander Brady Bramlett, who struck out a career-high 12 batters, joining some elite company in the process. His 12 strikeouts were four shy of tying the school record, the most in a game by an Ole Miss pitcher since Drew Pomeranz struck out 15 in a win over Georgia on April 9, 2010. It was also Bramlett's second digit strikeout game of the season, becoming the first Rebel to record multiple double-digit strikeouts games since Pomeranz, also in 2010.
"He's always fired up and ready to go," said junior left-hander Christian Trent of Bramlett. "I thought he was going to get the record two weeks ago. I thought he was going to get the record today. He was on pace for 27, but 12 is still impressive. I'm sure he will take 12."
- The No. 17-ranked Ole Miss women's tennis team swept the weekend, not dropping one singles or doubles match in 7-0 wins over Arkansas and Missouri. With the weekend sweep, the Rebels improved to 10-3 overall and 2-2 in the SEC. Senior Julia Jones, ranked No. 14 in the nation, won both of her singles matches, improving to 21-5 overall and 11-2 at No. 1 singles this season and picking up her 93rd and 94th career wins.
- The No. 9-ranked Ole Miss men's team dropped a 4-2 decision at Alabama, their first outdoor match in more than a month. Their other weekend match, a road contest at rival Mississippi State, was postponed and will be rescheduled for a later day. Next up is a marquee nonconference home match against No. 5 Baylor on Tuesday.
- The Ole Miss football team began spring practice Tuesday. Here Some storylines to follow, as the Rebels get into the heart of spring practice after Spring Break: The three-way quarterback battle, some position changes on defense and the return of Laquon Treadwell and Denzel Nkemdiche from injury. Check out some notes and quotes already on the blog and stay tuned to more coverage.
- NFL hopefuls Cody Prewitt, a projected second-round pick by CBSSports.com, and Senquez Golson, a projected fourth-round pick, continue to impress in pre-draft workouts, most recently at Ole Miss' Pro Day on Thursday. Three other hopefuls, Deterrian Shackelford, Carlos Thompson and Deterrian Shackelford also made some impressions. For more, check out my recap of Pro Day.
- Ole Miss played a couple of tribute videos before Saturday's home men's basketball game against Vanderbilt. Here's one to Tad Smith Coliseum, and here's another to graduating seniors Jarvis Summers and LaDarius White, two Mississippi natives and the first members of their respective immediate families to graduate from college.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Feb. 24-March 2, 2015
Track & Field
- Ole Miss got SEC titles from Jalen Miller (60m), Daniel Bulmer (mile) and the distance medley relay, and the Rebels achieved their best SEC indoor finish since 1984.
- The Ole Miss men scored 62 points to finish fourth in the team standings, their third-best result in school history and best since tying for third 31 years ago. The team's 62 points were also their most at an SEC indoor meet since that year.
- Overall on the weekend, Ole Miss snagged three SEC titles, two runners-up and two school records. The only other time the Rebels won three titles at the SEC indoor meet was 1983.
- The Rebels' success was notable because 20 of the team's 44 participants were competing in their first SEC Championships, and the men were without injured distance standouts Sean Tobin and Robert Domanic.
- Miller has won every 60-meter race in which he's lined up this year, and captured the school's first ever SEC crown in the event with a time of 6.56 on Saturday.
- Bulmer and Craig Engels finished 1-2 in the men's mile at 4:03.28 and 4:03.76, respectively. Bulmer is the first SEC mile champion in Ole Miss history.
- Bulmer and Engels teamed with Dameon Morgan and Holland Sherrer to capture to Rebels' second straight SEC distance medley relay title. Crazy enough, it was four different men than last year's championship relay team.
- The women were highlighted a pair of school records. Freshman Brooke Feldmeier earned a silver medal in the 800 meters with a school-record time of 2:04.34, and senior Fabia McDonald broke her own record in the pentathlon (4,168) to place sixth.
- Ole Miss closed the regular-season with a 2-1 record in the final week of action, which included wins over No. 11/13 Kentucky and LSU before losing to instate rival, Mississippi State in the regular season finale.
- Ole Miss concludes the regular season with a 17-12, 7-9 SEC record -- the most overall and SEC wins since 2009-10.
- The Rebels, who were picked to finish 14th in the preseason SEC poll, finished tied for seventh and earned the No. 8 seed in the SEC Tournament -- its highest seed since 2009-10.
- Tia Faleru posted double-doubles in two of the final three games of the regular season. She now has 13 double-doubles on the season and 33 career double-doubles. It is the second consecutive season the senior has recorded 10 ore more double-doubles after entering her junior campaign with just five career double-doubles.
- Ole Miss' win over Kentucky gave the Rebels two wins over a ranked opponent this season and gave Ole Miss head coach Matt Insell his first win over his former team. The last time Ole Miss defeated two ranked foes was in 2009-10 when they had wins over No. 8 Georgia and No. 12 LSU. Additionally, the win over a top 15 foe was the first in the last 20 tries.
- The No. 18 Ole Miss baseball team went 2-2 last week with all four games being decided by one run
- The Rebels started with a 2-1 victory over Arkansas State in their first midweek game of the season.
- Sophomore left-hander Evan Anderson picked up the win, going five innings and allowing just one run on one hit and two walks while also adding four strikeouts to his stat line. Freshman Will Stokes closed out the game to earn the first save of his career.
- After the midweek victory, the Rebels hit the road for the first time this season, taking on an undefeated UCF team that was ranked 15th in the nation.
- In the series opener Friday night, Ole Miss saw the Knights rally from a four-run deficit before a walk-off base hit in the bottom of the ninth lifted UCF to the 5-4 decision.
- Errol Robinson's diving catch and flip for a double play was No. 2 on Sportscenter's Top 10 Plays Friday night, Feb. 27.
- Due to inclement weather on Saturday, Ole Miss and UCF played in a doubleheader on Sunday. It marked the third straight weekend the Rebels played a doubleheader, and for the third time, Ole Miss split the two games. The Rebels fell, 3-2, in a shortened 7-inning game one before claiming the series finale, 4-3.
- The Sunday victory gave UCF its first loss of the season. Florida natives Tate Blackman, Colby Bortles and Sikes Orvis recorded all four RBI in the win. Blackman doubled in the first run of the game, and Bortles hit his second homer of the season. Orvis also played long ball with a solo shot of his own before drawing a bases-loaded walk in the top of the ninth that brought in the winning run.
- Ole Miss dropped a pair of games last week versus Georgia and at LSU, snapping its school record four-game SEC road winning streak.
- With one more win, Ole Miss will reach 20 wins for the seventh time in nine seasons under head coach Andy Kennedy. The Rebels recorded just seven 20-win campaigns in the 96 seasons before Kennedy's arrival.
- The Rebels have 35 wins against SEC foes over the last three years trailing only Florida and Kentucky in the SEC.
- Ole Miss ranks fourth in the nation in free throw percentage, hitting 77.6 percent of its attempts. The Rebels have hit 326 of their last 416 (.784) attempts from the line. Junior guard Stefan Moody leads the SEC and ranks fifth in the nation shooting 91.2 percent from the free throw line.
- Head coach Andy Kennedy is tied with Alabama's Wimp Sanderson for the third-most wins in SEC history with by a coach in his first nine years in the league at one school with 190. He trails only Kentucky's Joe B. Hall (205) and Florida's Billy Donovan (193).
- Junior guard Stefan Moody averaged 25.5 ppg and knocked down 14 3-pointers in wins over MSU and Tennessee en route to his second SEC Player of the Week honor of the month. Moody is averaging 19.6 ppg over his last nine games and leads the SEC in scoring in league play at 18.4 ppg.
- Senior guard Jarvis Summers is tied for the lead the league in assists in SEC play at 5.3/game and has posted 75 assists in his last 13 games.
- Summers is the SEC active career leader in points (1,580), assists (500), minutes (3,730) and wins (82), and is just the fifth player in SEC history with 1,500 career points and 500 career assists.
- Ole Miss rose to No. 10 in the ITA National Rankings last week, their highest ranking since ending the 2013 season in the top 10. The Rebels finished the week 4-0 including wins over Tulane and No. 16 Vanderbilt to improve to 9-2 overall, 1-0 in the SEC.
- Senior Nik Scholtz went a combined 5-0 in doubles and singles on the week, including wins over the No. 14 ranked and No. 9 ranked players in singles. His come-from-behind win over No. 9 Gonzales Austin clinched the Rebels' 4-0 victory against the Commodores. He improved to 7-1 at No. 1 singles.
- Freshman Grey Hamilton came up big in his first SEC match, serving twice to stay in it at No. 3 doubles and then hitting a forehand winner down the line at 5-5 in the tiebreaker, setting up Scholtz' to serve it out for the first point of the match.
- The Rebels are a combined 14-3 at the two spots in the lineup, as junior Stefan Lindmark owns a 7-2 mark at No. 2 singles. He won both his doubles and singles to help in the win over Vanderbilt.
- The Rebels have now won 10 of the last 11 meetings against Vanderbilt.
- Ole Miss is coming off a 4-1 performance at the Felsberg Invitational hosted by FIU this past weekend in Miami.
- The Rebels' 12-5 start is the best through 17 games since posting the same mark to open the 2010 season.
- With a pair of one-run wins this past weekend, the Rebels have played in seven one-run games with a 5-2 record.
- Ole Miss has played 18 consecutive games on the road and will play 21-of-22 on the road to open the season.
- The Rebels have four players hitting over the .350 mark, paced by sophomore OF Miranda Strother at a .537 clip.
- Sophomore P Emily Gaitan helped lead the Rebels at FIU, posting a 3-1 record and is now 7-1 with a 1.53 ERA.
- The Ole Miss women rose to No. 15 in the rankings last week, their highest ranking since 1999.
- The Rebels opened SEC play on the road at No. 25 Kentucky and No. 13 Vanderbilt and lost a tight match to the Wildcats, 4-3, before dropping a 6-1 decision to the Commodores to close out the road trip.
- Senior Julia Jones, ranked No. 14, went 1-1 in singles and picked up her 93rd career last Friday in the loss to Kentucky. She is now 19-5 overall and 9-2 at No. 1 singles.
- Ole Miss hosted the Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) Championships this past weekend and finished fifth overall with a 4613 aggregate.
- Freshman Jessica Haig led the Rebels with a personal best 579 in smallbore followed by a 590 in air rifle. She finished with the 11th best combined score in her first conference championships.
- Sophomore Sarah Emery shot a career-best 584 in air rifle.
The calendar turned to March, as the men's and women's basketball teams march toward the SEC Tournament and postseason play. The baseball team faced perhaps its biggest challenge of nonconference play. The softball and men's tennis teams each had another strong week, while the men's track and field team did something they had not done since 1984. All of that, and football spring practice begins this week. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:
- The Ole Miss men's basketball team dropped a pair of games this past week at home against Georgia and on the road at LSU, two teams ranked in the top 50 RPI, and like the Rebels, also projected to be in the NCAA Tournament, heading into the last week of the regular season.
- Ole Miss, now 19-10 overall and 10-6 in SEC play, entered Saturday as the No. 3 seed in the SEC Tournament, and with the loss to LSU, they fell to the No. 6 seed in the SEC Tournament, with a road game at Alabama on Tuesday and a home game against Vanderbilt on Saturday.
- Georgia and LSU, also 10-6, hold the respective tiebreakers over Ole Miss, but Georgia still has a home game against Kentucky and LSU still has a road game at Arkansas, so the Rebels may have an opportunity to move back up to the No. 4 seed with a sweep this week.
- For a closer look of what happened in the Rebels' road loss at LSU and their psyche going into their last regular season, check out my postgame blog from Baton Rouge here.
- Here's a reset of Ole Miss' NCAA Tournament resume entering the final week of the regular season: No. 50 RPI, 1-2 vs. the RPI top 25, 3-7 vs. the RPI top 50, 7-7 vs. the RPI top 100, 9-6 in home games, 7-4 in road games and 3-0 in neutral-site games. Alabama (No. 82) and Vanderbilt (No. 98) represent two more opportunities against RPI top 100 teams for the Rebels.
- As of the latest bracket projections Sunday, Ole Miss is a No. 9 seed in CBS Sports' Jerry Palm's bracket and a No. 11 seed in USA Today's Shelby Mast's bracket. Here's more from Hugh Kellenberger of The Clarion-Ledger, who talked to Palm and Mast about the Rebels' NCAA Tournament chances.
- The Ole Miss women's basketball team went 2-1 this past week week, highlighted by a 67-59 win over No. 13 Kentucky on Monday night. To make a strong case for the NCAA Tournament, the Rebels likely need to do some damage in the SEC Tournament next week, but they all but locked up a bid to the Postseason WNIT, which would be the program's first postseason appearance since the 2009-10 season.
- Ole Miss, now 17-12 overall and 7-9 in SEC play, has some opportunities ahead by virtue of earning the No. 8 seed in the SEC Tournament. They will play No. 9 seed Arkansas, a likely bubble team after going 0-2 this past week, and with a win over Arkansas, they would play No. 1 seed South Carolina, a likely No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, which also boasts the No. 4 RPI in the nation.
- The No. 18 ranked Ole Miss baseball team faced their toughest tests of the young season, going 2-2 on the week, picking up a midweek home win over Arkansas State and taking one of three on the road from No. 15 UCF, handing the Knights their first loss of the season.
- In a series where all three games were decided by one run, Ole Miss strung together quality at-bats in the ninth inning to score the go-ahead run, while Wyatt Short worked 2.2 scoreless innings of relief, giving up just one hit with no walks and four strikeouts in a 4-3 win over UCF on Sunday.
"To win the last game, you feel a little better going home," said head coach Mike Bianco on the Ole Miss Radio Network after the win. "We're close. Thats' a really good team over there and team playing with a ton of confidence, an older group, and not just an older group, but a talented group. They played really well, and you can see the confidence when they have to execute certain things. Those first two games, we came up short in a few of those areas, and that's all it takes in a close game, so we end up on the wrong side of the scoreboard."
- Also, in the 4-3 win, senior right-hander worked a season-long 5.1 innings, giving up two runs on four hits with a walk and two strikeouts. It was also his longest outing since going 7.0 innings strong against Georgia on May 11, 2014. It's encouraging to see a return to form from the SEC's most experienced weekend starting pitcher, to go along with Christian Trent on Friday and Brady Bramlett on Saturday.
"He still has a ways to go, but today, he was sharp with all four pitches and really located them well," Bianco said. "He seemed to make pitch after pitch. Today, he was so much more consistent. He looked confident and he had great body language. We need him. He's a big part of this, so certainly it was a great start for him."
- The Ole Miss softball team traveled to sunny Miami and went 4-1 on the weekend, improving to 12-5 on the season. After playing their first 17 games on the road, and having the Red & Blue Classic cancelled, as well as a home doubleheader against Southern Miss postponed, both due to inclement weather, the Rebels play their first home game Tuesday against Memphis, before opening SEC play with a three-game weekend series at No. 4 Alabama.
- The No. 10 ranked Ole Miss men's tennis team swept its weekend home matches, picking up a 5-2 win over Tulane on Friday. and a 4-0 win over No. 16 Vanderbilt on Sunday. Senior Nik Scholtz, the reigning SEC Player of the Year, won his 16th and 17th consecutive home matches, defeating the No. 14 and No. 9 players in the nation. The win over Vanderbilt also gave head coach Toby Hansson a win in his first SEC match as head coach.
- The Ole Miss men's track and field team finished third at the SEC Indoor Track & Field Championships, its best finish since 1984, when the Rebels also finished third. Overall on the weekend, the men's team took home SEC titles, including a 1-2 finish in the men's mile by senior Daniel Bulmer and sophomore Craig Engels.
- Speaking of the SEC Indoor Track & Field Championship, check out athletics photographer Josh McCoy's Day 1 and Day 2 photo galleries from the event, as well his collection of snow day photos, taken Wednesday on the Ole Miss campus.
- In case you missed it, check out one of Ole Miss Sports Productions' latest offerings, "The Flagship," an Ole Miss football ticket promotion video.
- Former Ole Miss players Senquez Golson and Cody Prewitt participated in on-field workouts at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine on Monday in Indianapolis. They will later participate in Ole Miss' annual pro day on March 5 (closed to the public) and will wait to hear their names called at the 2015 NFL Draft, which will be held from April 30-May 2.
- In the latest NFL Draft prospect rankings from CBS Sports, released after the combine, Prewitt is the No. 63 overall prospect (No. 1 free safety) and a projected second-round pick, while Golson is the No. 127 prospect (No. 16 cornerback) and a projected fourth-round pick. For more, check out my recap of their respective days at the Combine.
- Also, looking ahead, Ole Miss will begin spring football practices on Tuesday, which will include Hugh Freeze's pre-spring press conference at the Manning Center at 1 p.m. Spring practices will conclude with the 2015 Regions Bank Grove on April 11 at noon CT.
Here's a collection of snow days photos from Ole Miss Athletics Photographer Josh McCoy (@OleMissPix):
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Feb. 17-23, 2015
- Ole Miss posted a 2-0 mark last week with a 71-65 win at Mississippi State and a 59-57 victory over Tennessee. The Rebels improved to 10-4 in the league and have won eight of their last nine conference games for the first time since 1937-38.
- Ole Miss has won 35 game against SEC foes over the last three years, which trails only Florida and Kentucky in the league.
- Junior guard Stefan Moody scored a career-high 29 points, including a career-best 8 3-pointers in the Rebels win at MSU which is tied for the second most 3s in a single game in school history.
- It was Ole Miss' first win in Starkville since 2009 and gave the Rebels their first season sweep of the Bulldogs since 1998. Moody helped the Rebels overcome a 10-point deficit with three 3-pointers in 82 seconds in the second half.
- The Rebels have also won a school record four-straight SEC road and have seven road wins this season, which is the most since 1937-38.
- Ole Miss knocked off the Volunteers at Tad Smith Coliseum Saturday night behind 22 points, six steals and four boards from Moody. Moody scored eight of his 22 over a 4:16 stretch, during which Ole Miss went on a 16-3 run to take a 52-47 lead with 8:05 left.
- Ole Miss snapped its seven-game losing streak with a 51-46 road win over Auburn in its lone game last week. The win moved the Rebels to 15-11, 5-8 SEC and guaranteed Ole Miss of its first winning regular-season record since 2009-10 and the possibility of a postseason berth -- also its first since 2009-10.
- Ole Miss also picked up its second SEC road win at Auburn -- the most SEC road wins since Ole Miss had two in 2009-10 and the most in the Insell era.
- Tia Faleru topped 800 career rebounds with 13 rebounds against Auburn, she joins a club of seven Ole Miss players who have 1,000 points, 800 rebounds and 150 steals and with five most assists Faleru will become one of four players in program history with 1,000 points, 800 rebounds, 150 steals and 100 assists.
- Faleru also posted her second consecutive double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds, giving her 31 career rebounds and 11 rebounds this season moving her into the top five at Ole Miss with 30+ career double-doubles.
- Freshman A'Queen Hayes is averaging 12.5 points over the last two games, including a career-high 16 points against Mizzou. Hayes is averaging 8.0 ppg against SEC foes and is Ole Miss' top freshman scorer at 7.2 ppg.
- The Rebels claimed another weekend series by taking two out of three from Wright State this past weekend.
- In the 10-3 victory on Friday night, Ole Miss starter Christian Trent pitched effectively, lasting six innings and giving up one run on five hits. With the help of nine strikeouts, Trent improved to 2-0 on the season and 11-0 for his career.
- Sikes Orvis smacked his 19th career home run in Friday night's victory, while also tallying a season-high four RBI. Orvis added his first two doubles of the season in game one on Sunday.
- Brady Bramlett surrendered just one hit and recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts over six innings. He became the first Rebel to reach double digits in strikeouts in one game since Bobby Wahl accomplished the feat in 2012. Bramlett now leads the SEC with 19 strikeouts and has only walked one batter over 12 innings.
- In game two, Wyatt Short pitched 3.1 innings of relief without allowing a run to pick up the victory. Short was able to get the Rebels out of two bases-loaded jams, including one in the top of the seventh in which Errol Robinson caught a liner and flipped to second for the game-ending double play in the shortened contest.
- Rebels Kyle Watson and Colby Bortles both have 4-game hitting streaks to lead the team J.B. Woodman is the only Rebel to reach base in all six games, while freshman Tate Blackman has reached base in all five games he has played in.
- Ole Miss improved to 8-4 on the season and pushed its active win streak out to five consecutive games with victories over Delaware and Memphis this past weekend.
- Freshman OF Elantra Cox paced the squad, hitting .750 for the weekend to vault into third in the SEC in batting average (.567) and fourth in on base percentage (.606) on the year.
- Cox is second among freshmen in batting average in the league and tops among freshmen in on base percentage. Cox also went 4-for-4 in steals to move to 11-for-13 on the year and is tied for fourth in the SEC in steals this season.
- Senior 3B Allison Brown turned in an impressive 2.000 slugging percentage and hit .600 for the weekend with two home runs, a double and five RBI to go along with a team-leading five runs scored. She also posted three walks and did not strike out for a .750 on base percentage on the weekend.
- Senior P Lauren Lindsey picked up her second win and moved to 2-0 on the season with a five-inning win against Delaware.
- Junior P Madi Osias picked up her first save, shutting down Memphis after entering with the bases loaded and two outs to preserve the win over the Tigers.
- Sophomore P Emily Gaitan improved to 4-0 on the season with her win over Memphis to help the Rebels to the five-game win streak.
- Sophomore OF Miranda Strother continued to be one of the most consistent offensive producers for the Rebels, hitting .543 on the year with eight runs scored and nine RBI to sit at second on the team in both categories.
- Ole Miss competed in the NCAA Qualifier in Jacksonville, Alabama this past weekend and posted a total score of 4585.
- Sophomore Alison Weisz led the Rebels in smallbore with a 583, while freshman Jessica Haig fired a 586 to lead in air rifle.
Despite winter weather that affected many teams, it was a busy week for Ole Miss athletics. The men's basketball completed a 2-0 week and has positioned itself well entering the last two weeks of the regular season. The baseball, women's basketball and softball teams also picked up big wins for the week, while a pair of former football players compete at the NFL Scouting Combine. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:
- The Ole Miss men's basketball completed the Thursday-Saturday sweep, going on the road and defeating Mississippi State 71-65 on Thursday night and returning home and holding on for a 59-57 win over Tennessee on Saturday night. With the sweep, the Rebels have won eight of their last nine and sit in a tie with Texas A&M for third place in the SEC standings.
- Stefan Moody earned SEC Player of the Week honors earlier this season, and he's a near-look to earn the honor this week after averaging 25.5 points per game this past week, including a career-high 29 against Mississippi State. He was a volume and high-efficient scorer, wrapped in one, going 15-for-30 from the field, including 14-for-23 from 3-point range. His eight 3-pointers against Mississippi State were tied for the second-most in school history, two shy of tying Marshall Henderson's school record.
"I think he's locked in now," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "I think he's embraced this leadership role. I think he likes the media talking about him. I think he likes the attention, and he knows if he makes more, he'll get more attention. So we're all for him making some more."
- Joining Moody in double figures against Tennessee was Jarvis Summers, who added 13 points, just his second game in double figures in his last seven games. However, he flashed moments of the all-league player he was last season, such as drawing a charge on the defensive end and then stepping confidently into a big 3-pointer on the offensive end.
"He definitely played with a little more pop," said Moody of Summers. "That's the word Coach (Kennedy) uses. Jarvis played very well."
"We gave him a round of applause that he's now off the milk carton," said Kennedy of Summers. "He's back."
- A couple of impressive stats, noting the Rebels' success on the road: Their current four-game SEC road winning streak is the longest in school history. For the season, they are 10-3 away Tad Smith Coliseum, including a 7-3 record in true road games, a mark that includes road wins at Arkansas (No. 20 in the RPI) and Oregon (No. 56) and a neutral-site win over Cincinnati (No. 45).
- With a 2-0 week, Ole Miss is up to No. 32 in the latest NCAA RPI and up a line to a No. 8 seed in the latest bracketology from USA Today and CBS Sports. The Rebels have a chance to enhance their NCAA Tournament resume this week with a home game against Georgia (No. 38 in the RPI) on Wednesday night, followed by a road game at LSU (No. 54) on Saturday.
- For the second straight weekend, the No. 18 ranked Ole Miss baseball team took two of three, splitting a doubleheader on the last day of the weekend series after winning the series opener. Errol Robinson sealed the series win with a diving snag at shortstop, throwing to second to complete the line-out double play for the final out of a 3-2 win over Wright State.
- Despite taking a no-decision inn the Rebels' 3-1 loss in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader, Brady Bramlett was the star of the weekend. After missing the end of the 2013 season and the entire 2014 season due to injury, he leads the SEC in strikeouts with 19 through 12.0 innings, including a career-high 11 on Sunday. For more on Bramlett's brilliant start to the 2015 season, click here.
- Like Bramlett, Sam Smith took a no-decision, but head coach Mike Bianco was encouraged by what he saw from the senior right-hander, the most experienced starting pitcher in the SEC. Smith allowed two runs on four hits with a walk and three strikeouts in 3.2 innings of work.
"Sam felt good," Bianco said. "Really, I thought he pitched better. I know he didn't really get the results, but I thought the stuff was more what we talked about, pitching off the fastball more, pitching off the slider more. I thought he pitched better today. Obviously, the command was much better."
- Ole Miss will be tested in the week ahead, playing five games in seven days, including their first road trip of the season, a three-game weekend series at UCF. Arkansas State, the Rebels' first midweek opponent on Tuesday, took two of three from No. 7 Louisville in a neutral-site series played in Emerson, Georgia, while UCF went 3-0 at the South Alabama Tournament, picking up wins over No. 15 Arkansas, No. 11 Maryland and host South Alabama.
- The Ole Miss women's basketball got a much-needed confidence boost, holding on for a 51-46 road win at Auburn, snapping a seven-game losing streak and clinching a .500 or better record for the season. It was the Rebels' second SEC road win of the season, the first time they have two won two league games on the road since 2009-10.
- Ole Miss, now 15-11 and 5-8 in SEC play, has three regular-season games remaining, all against likely NCAA Tournament teams. With the win over Auburn, the Rebels have clinched eligibility for an at-large berth in the Postseason NIT. As far as the NCAA Tournament, they have three opportunities to enhance their resume, starting Monday night with a home game against No. 10 Kentucky, a team they played to the wire on the road in Lexington earlier this season.
- The matchup with No. 10 Kentucky is the SEC Network Monday night game, as well as the seventh annual "Tickled Pink at the Tad Pad" event. Reb Talk will also be at the Tad Pad. it's a big night all the way around.
- The Ole Miss softball team was also affected by winter weather this week, as the Red and Blue Classic scheduled for this past weekend was cancelled due to inclement wether. Instead, Ole Miss played Memphis and Delaware at Petal High School, defeating both teams and improving to 8-4 on the season.
- After playing their first 12 games on the road, first-year head coach Mike Smith and the Rebels play their home games on the season on Wednesday, hosting a doubleheader against Southern Miss beginning at 2 p.m.
- The No. 15 ranked Ole Miss men's tennis team and No. 24 Ole Miss women's tennis team were both off this week, with the women's match against Lipscomb scheduled for Friday also postponed due to winter weather. Both teams open Southeastern Conference play this weekend.
- Former Ole Miss football players Senquez Golson (5-foot-9, 176 pounds) and Cody Prewitt (6-foot-2, 208 pounds) have been weighed and measured at the NFL Scouting Combine, and they are both scheduled to participate in on-field workouts on Monday. Stay tuned to NFL Network for coverage of the event, and we'll have more on blog Monday.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Feb. 10-16, 2015
- Ole Miss saw its six-game winning streak snapped with a one-point loss to No. 23 Arkansas Saturday night. Junior guard Stefan Moody and senior forward M.J. Rhett each scored 16 points to lead the Rebels, but Ole Miss fell in the last seconds to the Razorbacks.
- That was the second winning streak of six games or better against SEC foes under head coach Andy Kennedy. The Rebels recorded just three such winning streaks in the 71 years before Kennedy's arrival.
- Moody scored a game-high 18 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds on the clock to lift Ole Miss to a 62-61 win over Florida.
- The Rebels overcame a five-point halftime deficit to knock off the Gators, thanks to Moody, who was 5-of-10 shooting from the floor - including a 4-for-7 mark from 3-point range - and senior G LaDarius White, who scored 16 points off the bench.
- The win marked the Rebels first in Gainesville since 1999 and gave Ole Miss its first season sweep of the Gators since 1990.
- Ole Miss ranks second in the nation in free throw percentage, hitting 78.9 percent of its attempts, which would rank second in the NBA. The Rebels have hit 280 of their last 347 (.807) attempts from the line.
- Moody leads the SEC and ranks seventh in the nation shooting 90.4 percent from the free throw line.
- Ole Miss started the season winning two out of three against William & Mary, improving to 14-1 in season openers under head Coach Mike Bianco
- The Rebels have now won 11 season-opening weekend series during the Bianco era
- Ole Miss recorded 11 doubles during the series to tie for the most in the SEC
- The Rebels clinched the series with a 16-2 victory in game two of Saturday's doubleheader, the most runs scored by Ole Miss since facing Arkansas State last season, May 13, 2014
- J.B. Woodman smacked three doubles in the series finale, becoming the first Rebel to accomplish that feat since Alex Yarbrough did it against Arkansas, April 20, 2012
- Ole Miss ranks second in the nation in attendance in 2015 after bringing in an average of 8,489 fans during three games over the weekend for a total attendance of 25,469
- Senior forward Tia Faleru is 10 rebounds shy of her 800th career rebound. She will become one of seven players with 1,000 points and 800 rebounds and 150 steals.
- Additionally, Faleru is approaching her 100th career assist and should she reach that, she will become one of a mere four players in program history with 1000 points, 800 rebounds, 150 steals and 100 assists.
- With her 18 points and 15 rebounds against Missouri, Faleru picked up her 30th career double-double. It moved her into the top five all-time at Ole Miss and gave her 10 double-doubles on the season. After going three straight games without a double-double, she has posted one in two of the last three games.
-A'Queen Hayes had a career-high 16 points against Missouri for her eighth game in double figures this season and her first since scoring 12 against Mississippi State.
- Fellow freshman Kiara Golden knocked down two triples against Missouri for her first points against an SEC foe and her third game with multiple three-pointers this season.
- Ole Miss posted a 3-1 performance at the Battle at the Beach this past weekend, winning the tournament with victories over Iowa State, St. Bonaventure and Coastal Carolina.
- Junior OF Bri Payne tied the school record for RBI in a game with six RBI against Iowa State on February 14, tying the mark set by DeDe Justice in the 2003 season.
- Three Rebels were named to the All-Tournament team, including junior OF Bri Payne, sophomore OF Miranda Strother and freshman OF Elantra Cox.
- Strother hit .586 for the weekend, while Cox hit .571 and Payne turned in a .556 performance with eight RBI, sparked by a grand slam in the first inning against Iowa State.
- With the offensive outburst that led to the three-game win streak to close out the weekend, the Rebels now have four players hitting above .300 for the season - four over .400.
- Srother leads the Rebel offense, batting at a .533 clip for the year with five RBI and a team-leading seven runs scored, joining with Elantra Cox to hit above .500 on the year.
- Senior P Lauren Lindsey picked up her first win and save of the year, working 6.0 innings with no earned runs on Saturday in a win vs. Iowa State and save vs. Coastal Carolina.
- Sophomore P Emily Gaitan improved to 3-0 on the season with a win over St. Bonaventure with one earned run and a career-high 12 strikeouts against the Bonnies.
- The No. 24 Rebels won a pair of matches over the weekend, downing Tulane 6-1 and defeating William & Mary 5-2 to improve to 8-1 on the season.
- The 8-1 start equals their best start since the 1997 season.
- Senior Julia Jones rose to No. 7 in the nation this past week in the singles rankings and earned the highest ranking for a Rebel since two-time All-American Kristi Boxx was ranked No. 9 on April 10, 2012.
- The No. 19 Rebels participated in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships this past weekend. They lost a close 4-1 match to No. 2 Oklahoma, who made the final, and then rallied to defeat No. 10 UCLA 4-3 on Saturday. The Rebels concluded play with a 4-0 loss to No. 6 Duke.
- Stefan Lindmark was up in the third set and Vinod Gowda had split when Oklahoma clinched 10-8 in the third set tiebreaker at No. 4 singles.
- Senior Nik Scholtz picked up another ranked this weekend, beating Oklahoma's Andrew Harris, who is ranked No. 26.
Track & Field
- The Rebels had their final tuneups for the SEC Indoor Championships at two of the best track meets of the season this past weekend in Fayetteville, Arkansas (Tyson Invitational) and Seattle, Washington (Husky Classic).
- Ole Miss athletes achieved a total of 15 personal-best marks between the two meets.
- Among the highlights for the men were Branden Greene's personal-best 7-1 in the high jump (ranks him fourth in school history), Craig Engels' personal-best 4:01.19 in the mile (ranks him fourth in school history) and MJ Erb's personal-best 14:11.34 in the 5,000 meters (ranks him fourth in school history).
- The women were led by personal bests from Shannon Ray in the 200 (23.92, ranks her fourth in school history) and Mary Alex England in the 5,000 (16:49.86, ranks her second in school history).
- Ole Miss men that rank top 40 in the NCAA are Jalen Miller in the 60 (3rd, 6.55), Robert Domanic in the mile (38th, 4:00.62), Robert Semien in the 60 hurdles (36th, 7.90), the distance medley relay (18th, 9:40.51), Branden Greene in the high jump (20th, 7-1), Adam Aguirre in the high jump (37th, 7-0.25) and Phillip Young in the long jump (23rd, 24-9) and triple jump (7th, 52-9.5).
- Ole Miss women that rank top 40 in the NCAA are Brooke Feldmeier in the 800 (9th, 2:05.27), Kierra White in the long jump (40th, 19-9.5) and Fabia McDonald in the pentathlon (17th, 4,057).
- The Rebels dropped a pair of matches this past weekend, falling to Navy at home before traveling to Jacksonville State.
- Freshman Jessica Haig turned in a career-best performance in air rifle against Navy with a 591. She then fired a personal best 573 in smallbore on Sunday.
The men's basketball team marches on toward March, the baseball team opened the 2015 season with a series win over William & Mary and the softball team prepares for its home opener under first-year head coach Mike Smith. The winter sports are in full swing, while the spring sports have begun in earnest, so there are no shortage of thoughts and opinions on the week that was. Let's get into it:
- Valentine's Day was a busy day on the Ole Miss campus, with a baseball doubleheader, followed by a men's basketball nightcap, and Rebel Nation turned out in full force. Swayze Field was business as usual and will get better as the weather warms up, while the atmosphere at the Tad Pad was as electric as I can remember. It was fun spending the day with all y'all.
- The Ole Miss men's basketball team saw its its six-game winning streak, as the Rebels were on the right side of a one-point game in a 62-61 win at Florida on Thursday and on the wrong side of a one-point game in a 71-70 loss to Arkansas on Saturday.
- Impressive Stat #1: It was the second winning streak of six games or better against SEC foes under head coach Andy Kennedy. The Rebels recorded just three such winning streaks in the 71 years before Kennedy's arrival.
- The Rebels have been a regular on SportsCenter top 10 plays this season, and Stefan Moody became the latest to make the highlight, landing the No. 4 spot on Thursday night with his game-winning 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left on the clock.
- Where Ole Miss made the play in a one-point win over Florida, the Rebels did not make the play in a one-point loss to Arkansas. Ole Miss had the ball up 70-69 with less than a minute to play. The Rebels had an offensive possession to extend the lead, a defensive possession to secure the lead and a final offensive possession to regain the lead, but they could not make the play in any instance, while the Razorbacks made the play in each instance. It happens.
"We made the shot Thursday night (against Florida) in a highly-contested game," Kennedy said. "We missed the shot tonight, and Arkansas made the play. I told the team that I didn't think we lost the game; I thought Arkansas won it."
- The Rebels continue to get production from their ever-improving big men, highlighted by M.J. Rhett's 16-point, nine-rebound game against Arkansas, perhaps his best game in an Ole Miss uniform, as they won the rebounding battle, 45-31, a margin that included 21 offensive rebounds compared to nine for the Razorbacks.
- Since big games in wins over Florida and Mississippi State, Jarvis Summers has seen a dip in production, averaging 6.8 points and shooting 25 percent from the floor, including 2-for-12 from 3-point range, over the last five games. For the Rebels to reach their full potential and perhaps make a run in March, they need more of the Summers from last season.
"He has been hesitant," Kennedy said. "We've tried to do some things to get him to his strength, and we'll continue to do that."
- Despite the one-point loss to Arkansas, Ole Miss remains a team projected to be solidly in the field as a No. 9 or No. 10 seed, depending on the projection, but a potential RPI landmine looms large this week. Ole Miss play Mississippi State, a team ranked No. 187 in the latest RPI rankings released by the NCAA, on the road in Starkville, where the Rebels have not won since 2009.
- The No. 18 ranked Ole Miss baseball opened the 2015 season, taking two of three in a weekend series against William & Mary. The Rebels showed a strong bounce-back, routing William & Mary 16-2 in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader after suffering an 8-1 loss in the first game of the doubleheader.
"The first game was disappointing, but it was encouraging to bounce back in game two," head coach Mike Bianco said. "We needed that effort from Bramlett to shut them down and let us swing. That's the knock against us. There are a lot of young guys playing, even though they played some last year. We have to take the punch and do something bad but not let it blow up."
- Impressive Stat #2: Ole Miss improves to 11-0-1 in weekend series to open the season under Bianco.
- J.B. Woodman, who moved to centerfield and the leadoff spot, is off to a fast start in his new role. He went 5-for-9 with three doubles, two runs scored and three RBI. Just as notable, he walked three times and did not strike out on the weekend.
"He's not your prototypical leadoff guy," Bianco said. "It's not that he can't lead-off and it's not that he doesn't have the skill-set to do that, but he also has a skill-set to hit a double and a home run. Some guys like Braxton Lee and Jordan Henry don't have that skill-set. You have to let (Woodman) swing, but he can also walk, steal bases and do a lot of different things."
- It will be interesting to watch how the weekend rotation evolves this season. Sam Smith took the loss in game two of the weekend series, while Brady Bramlett earned the win in the series-clincher and Sean Johnson, another candidate for a spot in the weekend rotation, worked out a scoreless inning out of the bullpen. There are three more weekends remaining, before the Rebels open SEC play on the road at No. 2 LSU.
"He couldn't get the ball into the strike zone," said Bianco of Smith's outing. "He had to stop throwing the two-seam fast ball and went to the four-seam fast ball. He basically had no other secondary pitch. It got away from him. Give credit to them. It was a just tough day, really uncharacteristic of him. Usually we're asking him to get the ball out of the strike zone and live on the edges. Today, he couldn't get close enough in there."
- ICYMI #1: Here's a link roundup of stories leading up to the start of baseball, including the 2015 walk out music and pre-SEC Ole Miss opponent capsules from Chase Parham of RebelGrove/Rivals.com.
- ICYMI #2: Newsreel: Ole Miss Baseball 2015, shot with old-school film.
- Time is running out for the Ole Miss women's basketball team, as the Rebels fell short at home against No. 6 Tennessee on Thursday and on the road at Missouri on Sunday, a game they likely needed to move closer toward NCAA Tournament consideration.
- Ole Miss, now 14-11 overall and 4-8 in SEC play, has four regular-season games remaining and then at least one game the SEC Tournament. With one more win, the Rebels can clinch an overall record of .500 or better and eligibility of an at-large berth in the Postseason WNIT.
- As far as the NCAA Tournament, opportunities remain on the schedule, as Ole Miss plays three teams ranked in the top 65 of the RPI, including two in the top 30, and then there's the SEC Tournament.
- The Ole Miss softball team wrapped up its 10-game road swing to open the 2015 season, going 3-1 at the Battle at the Beach hosted by Coastal Carolina. First-year head coach Mike Smith and the Rebels return home to host the Red and Blue Classic at the Ole Miss Softball Complex, where they will play four games in three days, starting with Tennessee-Martin on Friday night (6 p.m. CT).
- The No. 19 ranked Ole Miss men's tennis team went 1-2 on the weekend at the ITA National Team Indoor in Chicago, highlighted by a thrilling 4-3 win over No. 10 UCLA in consolation play on Saturday. It was the Rebels' second top-15 win of the season, and they rallied from the brink of defeat, despite losing the doubles point and Nik Scholtz, the reigning SEC Player of the Year, dropping his first singles match of the season.
- The No. 24 ranked Ole Miss women's tennis completed a sweep of Tulane and William & Mary over the weekend, improving to 8-1 on the season and equaling its best start since 1997, when the Rebels also started 8-1. Julia Jones, ranked No. 7 in the nation, dropped her first dual match, only her fourth loss overall this season.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Feb. 3-Feb. 9, 2015
- Ole Miss sweep a pair of games last week against Texas A&M and at Auburn to extend its conference winning streak to five games. T
- This is the sixth winning streak of four games or better against SEC teams under head coach Andy Kennedy. The Rebels recorded just 12 such winning streaks in the 71 seasons before Kennedy's arrival.
- Stefan Moody earned SEC Player of the Week honors after averaging 17.0 points, 4.5 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals in leading the Rebels to wins over Texas A&M and Auburn.
- Moody scored a game-high 19 points, as the Rebels defeated Texas A&M 69-59 to move into a three-way tie for second place in the SEC standings at the halfway mark of league play.
- Defensively, the Rebels held Texas A&M to 38.6 percent (22-of-57) shooting and forced 16 turnovers. They also limited the Aggies' two leading scorers, Jalen Jones and Danuel House, who each averaged 14.2 points per game, to a combined 14 points on 5-of-19 shooting.
- LaDarius White scored 20 points and Stefan Moody had 15 to lead Ole Miss to an 86-79 victory over Auburn on Saturday night. White made all five shots and scored 12 points in the second half. Jarvis Summers added 13 points while Sebastian Saiz scored 11 and Anthony Perez had 10.
- After a 28-of-38 performance at the line Saturday, the Rebels fell to second in the nation with a 79.5 free throw percentage.
- No. 24 ranked Ole Miss went on the road last weekend at picked up two wins, defeating No. 29 Texas Tech 4-2 and No. 32 Rice 5-2. It marked the team's first wins in Lubbock as they improved to 6-1 overall.
- The Rebels are off to their best start since 2010 when they started 7-1.
- Senior Julia Jones, ranked No. 20 in the nation, won both her matches to improve to 17-3 overall, 7-0 at No. 1 singles. She has won seven in a row and earned her 10th ranked win of the year, defeating Rice's 24th-ranked Natalie Beazant in three sets.
- The senior duo of Erin Stephens and Iris Verboven improved to 10-5 overall and 3-1 at No. 1 doubles.
- Ole Miss opened the season at the Kajikawa Classic over the weekend, posting a 3-3 record in the opening weekend of play.
- Sophomore OF Miranda Strother led the Rebels at the plate, hitting at a .500 clip with four RBI - including the game-winner against Western Michigan
- Four Rebels are hitting above the .350 mark on the young season - including a freshman and two sophomores
- Ole Miss enters the week with a 14-9, 4-6 SEC record after dropping a heartbreaker 58-54 to Vanderbilt in Nashville in its lone contest last week. The Rebels have now dropped five straight after opening the SEC slate with a 4-1 record.
- Tia Faleru posted her ninth double-double of the season with a game-best 23 points and 13 rebounds. It was her first double-double since 11 points and 12 rebounds against Texas A&M on Jan. 18.
- Faleru's 23 points was also her first 20 point outing since scoring 21 points against Kentucky on Jan. 4. It was also Ole Miss first game with a 20-point scorer since Gracie Frizzell scored 24 against Alabama on Jan. 11.
- Faleru is now 29 rebounds shy of 800 career rebounds. She is poised to become the seventh player In program history with 1,000 career points and 800 rebounds and the first since Armintie Price (Herrrington) from 2003-07.
- Additionally, Faleru is just six assists away from her 100th assist and will become one of four players in program history with 1,000 points, 800 rebounds, 150 steals and 100 assists.
- Ole Miss opened the spring season at the Lady Bulldog Invitational hosted by Georgia. Ole Miss sent Abby Newton, Kaitlin Voll and Sofia Idoyaga to the 36-hole one-day tournament.
- Sofia Idoyaga was the top Ole Miss player with a two-round score of 163 (81-82--163).
- Ole Miss will host the Ole Miss Individual on Feb. 21 at the Oxford Country Club and will open the season in earnest at the Hurricane Invitational March 2-4 in Miami, Fla.
- No. 17 Ole Miss lost a narrow match to No. 13 Akron 4601-4591. The Rebels trailed by four after smallbore, but couldn't quite make up the difference in air rifle.
- Sophomore Alison Weisz posted a team-leading 586 in air rifle, while Jessica Haig shot a 571 to lead the Rebels in smallbore.
National Signing Day has come and gone, the Mike Smith Era began in earnest, and the men's basketball team has run its winning streak to five games, its longest win streak since the 2012-13, when the Rebels won the SEC Tournament Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:
- Head coach Hugh Freeze and his staff won some and lost some on National Signing Day, as they put together a 22-member class, ranked as high as No. 15 in the nation (247Sports.com), and as low as No. 21 in the nation (RIvals.com). The class included 18 players rated a four-star prospect or higher by at least one recruiting service, the most in program history, including offensive lineman Javon Patterson and wide receiver DaMarkus Lodge, the seventh and eighth five-star prospect signed under Freeze
"You lose some battles when you are battling for some of the nation's best," Freeze said. "Every school does. We had a few of those, but we also won many, many battles for kids who really wanted to be at Ole Miss and this program representing this great university. I'm excited to get to work with them."
- Among the battles won were the last three players signed in Lodge, who announced his college decision live on ESPNU, choosing the Rebels over Texas and Texas A&M, defensive lineman Austrian Robinson, who chose them over Maryland, and wide receiver Van Jefferson, the son of 13-year NFL veteran Shawn Jefferson, who chose them over Georgia, Michigan and Oklahoma, as well as linebacker Shawn Curtis, who flipped his commitment from Pittsburgh.
- Speaking to some of the recruiting battles lost, Freeze said he and his staff will revisit the entire recruiting process, including allowing commitments to take other visits, gong through every kid on their board and talking about the outcome, the good and the bad, why it did not their way in the end, and could they have done anything different. On a related note, looking ahead to 2016, Freeze said of addressing needs on the offensive line, defensive line and linebacker with mid-year signees, whether it's JUCO or high school players.
- One of the more underrated aspects of the 2015 signing class are the five mid-year enrollees, a group that includes the top junior college quarterback (Chad Kelly), defensive lineman (D.J. Jones) and cornerback (Tony Bridges). All three players, as well as junior college linebacker Terry Caldwell and early enrollee Javon Patterson are expected to feature prominently in spring practice and push for playing time come the fall.
- In case you missed it, here's a National Signing Day link roundup of videos and stories related to the signing class as a whole and videos and stories related to individual signees.
- The men's basketball team extended its winning streak to five games, defeating Texas A&M 69-59 Wednesday night, its third top-50 RPI win of the season, and then going on the road and defeating Auburn 86-79, moving to 3-2 in SEC road games this season. With the wins, the Rebels remain in a three-way tie for second place in the SEC standings and moved up to No. 37 in the latest RPI rankings released by the NCAA.
- The story against Texas A&M was a locked-in defensive effort, holding the Aggies' two leading scorers, Jalen Jones and Danuel House, to a combined 14 points on 5-of-19 shooting, and two key 3-point plays by LaDarius White and M.J. Rhett to push the lead to 59-50 with 6:26 left.
- LaDarius White led the way with 20 points, making big play after big play, but it was a team effort throughout the lineup, as five Rebels finished in double figures in the win over Auburn. The nation's top free-throw shooting team, the Rebels closed out the game from the line, going 10-of-12 in the final 1:28 to finish 28-of-38 for the game.
"Ole Miss is really comfortable with their nine players," Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said. "That's what makes them a really good and a contender is that they don't drop off at all when they go to their bench."
- Watching the Ole Miss-Auburn game on television, you could sense the energy in Auburn Arena, whether it was the memories of the Marshall Henderson jersey-pop, or the culture change under first-year head coach Bruce Pearl. The Pavilion at Ole Miss, set to open next season, will have a similar design and capacity, so fans watching the game got a taste of what the game day atmosphere might be like next season.
- Looking ahead, the Rebels have their first of two Thursday-Saturday swings, traveling to Florida on Thursday and playing host to Arkansas on Saturday. The Gators are ranked No. 67 in the latest RPI rankings and No. 35 in the latest KenPom.com ratings, while the Razorbacks are ranked No. 25 in the RPI and No. 31 in KenPom.
- The women's basketball team, looking for its first win at Vanderbilt since Jan. 8, 1987, led for 27:00, leading by as many as 16 early in the second half, but the Rebels were unable to overcome 42 second-half points from the Commodores in a 58-54 loss on Thursday night.
- Ole Miss, now 14-9 overall and 4-6 in SEC play, has six regular season remaining, starting with a home game against No. 6 Tennessee on Thursday. Head coach Matt Insell has said his team likely needs to get to at least eight SEC wins to garner NCAA Tournament consideration, so the Rebels likely need at least a split of the final six regular season games.
- The Ole Miss softball team kicked off the Mike Smith Era with six games in four days at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Arizona, going 3-3 with wins over San Jose State, Fresno State and Western Michigan. The Rebels are on the road for five games in three days next weekend, before returning home for the Red and Blue Classic (Feb. 20-22), playing host to UT-Martin, Nebraska-Omaha, Southern Illinois and Middle Tennessee State.
- The Ole Miss baseball team opens the 2015 season next weekend with a three-game home series against William & Mary, starting with the series opener Friday at 4 p.m. The Ole Miss baseball preseason press conference is set for Monday, so stay tuned for more coverage leading up to the season opener.
- The No. 24 ranked Ole Miss women's tennis picked up a pair of road wins, defeating No. 29 Texas Tech and No. 32 Rice. The Rebels return home for each of their next three matches, starting with Tulane on Friday (2 p.m.), before opening SEC play on Friday, Feb. 27 with a road match at Kentucky.
- The No. 19 ranked Ole Miss men's tennis team was off this past weekend, returning to action Monday for its home opener against Troy, before traveling to Chicago for the ITA National Team Indoor (Feb. 13-16).
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Jan. 27-Feb. 2, 2015
- Ole Miss posted a perfect 2-0 record last week with a 79-73 home win over Mississippi State and 67-47 rout of Missouri on the road Saturday.
- Trailing by as many as 13 in the second half, senior guard Jarvis Summers exploded for 22 second-half points to power the Rebels past the Bulldogs. Summers finished with 22 points, one shy of his season high, all in the second half, to go along with a game-high seven assists. He went 4-of-10 from the field and 2-of-4 from 3-point range, but he went 12-of-15 from the free-throw line.
- Ole Miss routed the Tigers on the road Saturday behind 23 points from junior guard Stefan Moody. Summers added seven assists in the win and junior guard Martavious Newby pulled down nine boards.
- Ole Miss leads the nation hitting 80.1 percent of its free throw attempts, which would also lead the NBA. The Rebels have hit 212 of their last 254 from the line (.835). If the season ended today, Ole Miss would post the second-best FT percentage by a team in SEC history trailing only Vanderbilt in 1974 (.802). The Rebels' 82.9 percent from the line in conference play would break the Commodores' 1974 record (.814).
- Junior G Stefan Moody, who leads the SEC and ranks sixth in the nation shooting 91.7 percent (88-of-96). Moody has made 31-straight FTs dating back to the Arkansas game, which is six free throws shy of the SEC record of 37 for consecutive free throws made in conference play held former Rebel David Rhodes.
- Head coach Andy Kennedy tied former Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury with the fourth-most wins by an SEC coach in his first nine years in the league at one school with 185.
Track & Field
- Led by superb sprinting from sophomore Jalen Miller, Ole Miss claimed three event victories, accomplished two school records and broke a significant meet record at the world-class Armory Track Invitational this weekend.
- Miller showed off his consistency and prowess in the 60 meters with more electrifying times this weekend. On Friday, he broke former Tennessee star Justin Gatlin's 2002 meet record of 6.56 when Miller clocked 6.55 in the semifinals to tie Mike Granger's all-time school record. He ranks third in the NCAA and sixth in the world with that personal-best time. Miller won Saturday's final in 6.59, despite a slow start and a slip out of the blocks. It was his sixth race of 6.60 or better this season. Only five other runners in the NCAA have run 6.60 or better at all.
- Senior Phillip Young leapt an indoor personal-best 52-8 not once but twice en route to the triple jump victory. It moves him up to No. 6 in the NCAA this year and fourth in school history.
- Sophomore Adam Aguirre tied for the high jump title with a clearance of 6-11.5.
- MJ Erb clocked a personal-best 8:07.54 in the 3,000 meters to break former All-American Barnabas Kirui's school record of 8:08.17 set in 2010. Erb placed fourth in the race, while eighth-place finisher Daniel Bulmer ran an indoor PR of 8:11.22 that ranks him third in the school record books.
- For the women, freshman Shannon Ray made the finals of the 60 meters after her semifinal time of 7.47 on Friday moved her up to ninth in school history. Fellow freshman Brooke Feldmeier had another strong run in the 800 with a time of 2:07.13 to finish third. Junior newcomer Britt Ummels did not lower her school mile record from last week, but had another solid performance with a time of 4:50.63 to place fifth.
- A portion of the Ole Miss team also traveled to Jonesboro, Arkansas, for the A-State Invitational. Jhorden Hunter claimed the 55-meter dash in 6.92 and Saga Barzowski won the mile in 5:07.71. Hunter's time of 6.92 ranks her third all-time in the school record books.
- The Rebels are 14-8, 4-5 SEC after dropping their last four games. The four-game losing streak is the longest of the season for Ole Miss. Ole Miss is looking for its first winning record since 2009-10 when they went 17-15 and reached the WNIT.
- Tia Faleru is making some noise in the record books. With her 20 rebounds on the week, she is now just 42 rebounds shy of 800 career rebounds. When she reached the milestone she will become one of just seven players in program history to record 1,000 points and 800 rebounds and will be the first to reach the milestone since Armintie Price who played at Ole Miss from 2003-07. Additionally, Faleru has scored in a 98 consecutive games dating back to her freshman season.
- Ole Miss, which played on Super Bowl Sunday for the 17th consecutive season and the 20th time overall, moved to 6-14 after dropping a 77-59 game to No. 1 South Carolina on Sunday. Ole Miss last won a game on Super Bowl Sunday on 2009-10 in triple overtime fashion in Baton Rouge with a 102-101 win over LSU.
- The Rebels struggled on offense against LSU, scoring just 41 points against the Tigers. Ole Miss' 41 points was a season-low and the fewest points scored in the Matt Insell era. Ole Miss is 5-8 when failing to reach 70 points, a mark they haven't reached in the last five games.
- No. 24 Ole Miss suffered its first loss of the season, dropping a 6-1 decision at No. 16 Oklahoma State Saturday.
- A bright spot in the loss, senior Julia Jones knocked off the No. 10 ranked player in straight sets to improve to 15-3 overall, 5-0 at No. 1 singles. Jones earned her ninth ranked win of the year and now has 88 career victories.
The men's basketball team found some consistency, while the women's basketball will be looking to snap a four-game losing streak, as the teams enter the heart of Southeastern Conference play. It's also the week of National Signing Day and the beginning of the Mike Smith Era for Ole Miss softball, and opening day for Ole Miss baseball is now less than two weeks away. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:
- Throughout the season, head coach Andy Kennedy and the men's basketball team have talked about establishing some consistency, and of late, stacking wins together. Ole Miss did just that this past week, rallying to defeat Mississippi State 79-73 on Wednesday night and cruising to a 67-47 win at Missouri on Saturday afternoon. With three straight wins, it's the Rebels' first multi-game winning streak since Dec. 18-22 and their first three-game wining streak since Nov. 23-29.
- Against Mississippi State, Jarvis Summers led the way with 22 points, one shy of his season high, all in second half, including a key four-point play to effectively close out the win for Ole Miss. After going 0-of-2 from the field in nine first-half minutes, having picked up two early fouls, he finished 4-of-10 from the field, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range, and 12-of-15 from the free throw line.
"When you watch Ole Miss play down the stretch, it's always Jarvis Summers making plays," said Mississippi State head coach of Summers. "He has an unbelievable ability to not get sped up or get caught up in the moment. He stays the same way throughout and that gives him an ability to make plays and be calm no matter the situation."
- Against Missouri, it was all Stefan Moody, who was the only Ole Miss player in double figures with 23 points, including a highlight-reel put-back dunk that Kennedy said not only invigorated him, but their whole team, as the Rebels outscored the Tigers 50-32 the rest of the way. Missouri got as close as 48-39 with 9:38 left, before Ole Miss answered with a 15-0 run over the next 6:31 to push the lead to 63-39 on the way to the 67-47 final.
- In addition to LaDarius White, the Rebels' third-leading scorer, who has come off the bench in 15 of their 21 games, Ole Miss has gotten lifts from Dwight Coleby, Terence Smith and Anthony Perez. The most surprising lift, if you take away his contributions last season, has been from Perez, who after scoring just 14 points in 82 minutes through the team's first 18 games, has scored 21 points in 47 minutes over the last three games.
"In the Florida game, we were really searching," said Kennedy of Perez. "Our frontcourt wasn't being as productive, and I went to him because I've seen what he can do. He was a valuable part of last year's team. He stepped up and made some plays. He led us in rebounding in 12 minutes of action, which tells me he was active. I gave him an opportunity (against Mississippi State), and he took advantage of it."
- Free throw shooting also continues to be a storyline for the men's basketball team. The nation's leader in free throw percentage (80.1 percent), which would also lead the NBA, Ole Miss has hit 212 of its last 254 from the line, including 78.4 percent (29-of-37) against Mississippi State and 86.7 percent (13-of-15) against Missouri. The Rebels are led by Moody, who leads the SEC and ranks sixth in the nation shooting 91.7 percent (88-of-96) from the line. He has made 31 straight free throws, six free throws shy of the SEC record for consecutive free throws made in conference play.
- As of the most recent Bracketology from ESPN's Joe Lunardi (Jan. 29) and CBS Sports' Jerry Palm (Jan. 30), Ole Miss is the next-to-last and last team in the NCAA Tournament, one of six SEC teams in the field, and another, Tennessee, is among the first four out in both projections. Ole Miss plays five of those teams, four at home, starting with a home game against Texas A&M on Wednesday night.
- The SEC, as the Associated Press' David Brandt noted, has a logjam with Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss and Tennessee all tied for third place in the SEC standings at 5-3, one game behind second-place Texas A&M at 6-2. John Gasaway, an ESPN Insider college basketball contributor, suggests Ole Miss could be the second-best team in the SEC behind No. 1 and lone unbeaten Kentucky. Here's Gasaway:
In Kentucky's first game of the SEC season, the Wildcats were taken to overtime in Lexington by Ole Miss. At the time, it seemed like a worrisome portent for John Calipari's top-ranked team, but here we are seven games later, and UK is the nation's only undefeated team.
For their part, the Rebels have also looked pretty good since that game at Rupp Arena. Andy Kennedy's team now boasts the league's second-best per-possession scoring margin, and in fact, Ole Miss has been especially impressive on offense.
As a 5-foot-10 junior who functions, in effect, as a 2-guard, Stefan Moody will trigger categorical confusion everywhere he goes. Then again, he's making more than half his 2s in conference play, and also shooting better than 90 percent at the line -- Kennedy probably doesn't lose any sleep over what label we give Moody.
Granted, "second-best team in the SEC" is no great tribute this season, but that may well be what's on the line this Wednesday when the Rebels host second-place Texas A&M. The close shave that Kentucky suffered at the hands of Ole Miss a few weeks back may not have been a fluke after all.
- Speaking of the SEC, it's not as bad as you think it is, writes Mike DeCourcy from the Sporting News.
- Former Ole Miss men's basketball star Marshall Henderson started a travel blog, and here's his first post, chronicling his travels and professional basketball career in Italy and Qatar and his acceptance of an offer to continue his professional basketball career in Iraq. Insightful read. Stay tuned to his Twitter account, @NativeFlash22, and his blog, The Road Most Traveled, for future updates.
- The women's basketball team has gone through a brutal five-game stretch, facing four ranked teams and another, LSU, was receiving votes, knocking off No. 18 Georgia, before dropping the next four to No. 11 Texas A&M, No. 18 Mississippi State, LSU and No. 1 South Carolina.
- As head coach Matt Insell said before, and said again Sunday, Ole Miss likely needs to get to at least eight SEC wins to garner NCAA Tournament consideration. Through nine SEC games, the Rebels are 4-5, looking at three remaining home games, possibly all against ranked teams, in their last seven regular season games.
"We had a tough stretch, but we're not going to waver," Insell said." We're not going to panic. We're going to play to the final buzzer. We know what it's going to take to get on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament. We know it takes eight wins in this league to get on the bubble. That means we have to win some road games and we have to pull an upset at home."
- Tia Faleru, the Rebels' leading scorer and rebounder, has picked up two or more first-half fouls in three of the last four games, all losses for Ole Miss, and it's a concern for Insell and the Rebels going forward this season. After scoring in double figures in 16 of the first 19 games, she has scored in double figures just once in the last four games.
"We're a different team, if she's on the floor, or she's not on the floor," Insell said. "I have challenged Tia Faleru. I told her she has to step her game up and she has to be a force for us."
- South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley led the Gamecocks to a 10-18 record in her first season. It took her three season to lead them to a winning record and four seasons to lead them to an NCAA Tournament appearance, and now in year seven, she has the Gamecocks off to a 21-0 start and a No. 1 national ranking. Staley sees some similarities in what she has built at South Carolina and what Insell is building at Ole Miss, writes David Cloninger from The State.
- After being ranked No. 18 in the D1Baseball.com's preseason top 25 rankings, Tate Blackman, who's expected to be the opening day second baseman for the Rebels, was selected as the SEC Preseason Freshman of the Year by D1Baseball.com.
- In case you missed it, check out The Season: Ole Miss Baseball Day One.
- The Mike Smith Era for Ole Miss softball begins on Thursday, as the Rebels travel to Tempe, Arizona, for a four-day, six-game tournament. For Ole Miss powder blue fans, one of the new uniforms they will be wearing this season are these, which the team wore during one of the media timeouts of the men's basketball game against Mississippi State.
- As she did on the set of College GameDay nearly four months ago, pop superstar Katy Perry stole the show at the Super Bowl. A self-proclaimed Katy Perry fan, myself, I was pleased with the inclusion of the 2008 hit, "I Kissed a Girl," and then she ignited the Ole Miss fan base, dancing with Landsharks and other costumed creatures as she delivered "Teenage Dream" and "California Girls."
- Here's more on Katy Perry and her touching down in football fandom, writes Melissa Hoppert from New York Times.
- Lastly, a congratulations to former Ole Miss running back and current New England Patriot Brandon Bolden, who became the 16th Super Bowl champion in Ole Miss history. Here's my story on his wild ride, from undrafted free agent, to Super Bowl participant, and now Super Bowl champion.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Jan. 20-26, 2015
- Senior guard Jarvis Summers scored 4 points in the final 26.6 seconds to lift Ole Miss to a 72-71 victory over Florida Saturday. Summers scored a team-high 16 points, including a jumper with 26.6 seconds left and a pair of free throw with 3.5 ticks left to give the Rebels the last-second win.
- Ole Miss leads the nation shooting 80.0 percent from the line and have hit 160 of its last 202 from the stripe. In addition to leading the nation, the Rebels would also lead the NBA in free throw percentage.
- Seven of the last nine games in the series between the Rebels and the Gators have been decided by six points or less.
- Sophomore center Dwight Coleby is averaging 9.0 points and 7.3 rebounds a game over the last four games.
- Junior guard Stefan Moody tied his career-high with 26 points and led all scorers, and sophomore forward Sebastian Saiz added nine points and 10 boards, but Ole Miss fell to Georgia 69-64 on the road Tuesday.
- The Rebels dropped a heartbreaking 64-62 game to in-state rival Mississippi State on Thursday (Jan. 22) in its lone game of the week. Ole Miss moved to 14-6, 4-3 SEC with the loss -- just its third in the last 11 games and its first loss in SEC play at Tad Smith Coliseum.
- Senior Tia Faleru posted her 10th game of double-figure rebounds with 11 rebounds against the Bulldogs. Faleru, who is leading the SEC in rebounding with 10.6 rebounds, has posted double-figure rebounds in two straight games and in seven of the last nine outings.
- Faleru is also approaching her 800th rebound and is just 62 rebounds shy of the mark. Should she reach it, she will become one of six players to score 1,000 points and grab 800 rebounds and will be the first since Armintie Price (2003-07).
- Ole Miss is approaching its 400th win at Tad Smith Coliseum and with one more win will reach the 400-win milestone. The first chance for that will come against current No. 1 South Carolina in a Sunday afternoon nationally televised contest on ESPNU on Feb. 1.
- Ole Miss won both its matches at the ITA Kick-Off in Gainesville, Florida, to advance to the National Team Indoor Final 16 Feb. 13-16 in Chicago. The Rebels are now 3-0.
- In the first round, the Rebels rallied from a 3-0 deficit to knock off No. 13 Florida 4-3. Freshman Gustav Hansson won a third-set tiebreaker at No. 3 singles to clinch the win. He finished 2-0 in singles on the weekend, as he also won his match in convincing fashion Sunday, to start the Rebels' rally against South Carolina on their way to a 4-2 win.
- The Rebels welcomed back senior Nik Scholtz and he delivered, going 3-1 in singles and doubles, including rallying on Sunday to clinch the win against South Carolina. In singles, he beat two ranked players and he teamed with freshman Zvonimir Babic for a ranked win at No. 2 doubles against Florida.
- Sophomore Ricardo Jorge stepped up big as well, winning both his matches at No. 6 singles. Against Florida, he won a huge second-set tiebreaker and went on to claim the third set to set up Gustav Hansson's match-clinching victory.
- This marks the 19th time for the Rebels to advance to the National Team Indoor Final 16.
Track & Field
- Ole Miss athletes had a record-breaking weekend in Nashville at the Vanderbilt Indoor Invitational, claiming five event victories, four facility records and two school records.
- Perhaps the star of the meet was freshman Brooke Feldmeier, who ran her first collegiate 800-meter race and clocked the No. 1 time in the NCAA and one of the best in the world so far this year with a facility-record 2:05.27. She ranks second in school history to former All-American Sofie Persson (2:04.51 in 2011).
- Senior Fabia McDonald started the weekend by breaking her own school record in the pentathlon Friday, scoring 4,057 points to rank sixth in the NCAA this year. It was her season debut and her first action since she went down with a foot injury last January.
- Junior Britt Ummels, in just her second meet with the Rebels, broke the school record in the women's mile with a 4:49.25.
- The men put on a show in several events, most notably the mile run. The Rebels finished 1-2-3-4-5 in the mile, led by sophomore Robert Domanic's facility-record 4:00.52 that ranks him No. 2 in school history and No. 3 in the NCAA. He was followed by Craig Engels (4:01.29), Daniel Bulmer (4:01.49), Trevor Gilley (4:03.58) and Wesley Gallagher (4:05.15). They now rank fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth in school history. And on this year's NCAA list, they are No. 5, No. 6, No. 13 and No. 17.
- Sophomore Jalen Miller was sensational again in the sprints, winning both the 60 (facility-record 6.58) and 200 (indoor personal-best 21.26). He has now run 6.60 or better in all four attempts over 60 meters this year. His 6.56 at Purdue ranks him No. 3 in the NCAA, while his 21.26 ranks him 23rd in the country.
- Senior Phillip Young placed top four in both the long jump (3rd, 24-9) and triple jump (4th, 51-4.5). His long jump was an indoor personal best that ranks him 12th in the nation and 11th in school history.
- No. 25 Ole Miss won a pair of matches against Jackson State, 7-0 and 4-0 to improve to 4-0 on the year.
- In their first four matches, the Rebels have only lost one individual match.
- Julia Jones won both of her matches to improve to 14-3 overall and 4-0 at No. 1 singles. She now has 87 career wins and needs just 13 to become the fifth player in program history to reach 100 for her career.
- Sophomore Alison Weisz set the school record in smallbore with a 589 at the Withrow Invitational Sunday.
- The Rebels shot season-high 2287 in smallbore, including a personal best 571 from freshman Jessica Haig.
- Haig also led the Rebels in air rifle with a personal best of 589.
Classes started on the Ole Miss campus this past week, as the men's and women's basketball teams enter the heart of Southeastern Conference play. Some of the spring sports have started their 2015 seasons, while others are gearing up for the start of their seasons. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:
- Selection Sunday is more than a month away, but in a battle of teams on the fringe of the NCAA Tournament discussion, the Ole Miss men's basketball team downed Florida 72-71 on Saturday. Going into the matchup, ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi tweeted, "The loser here is pretty much toast from an NCAA tournament perspective."
- Through six SEC games, Ole Miss is 3-3, having played six of the top eight teams from the league, according to KenPom.com. The Rebels, themselves, are the third-highest rated team (No. 34). Looking ahead, return trips at home against Arkansas and Georgia and a road game LSU loom large for the team's NCAA Tournament chances.
"It's good for our confidence," said head coach Andy Kennedy of the win. "We're not as confident of a group as I would have hoped despite some of our early wins that show we are a good basketball team. You have to be able to stack wins at this time of the year. It was obviously a vital game for us."
- Preseason All-SEC first team selection Jarvis Summers proved clutch for the Rebels, scoring each of the team's last four points, the first two on a step-back jumper from just inside the 3-point line and the last two on a pair of free throws with 3.5 seconds left after driving into the lane.
"Coach (Kennedy) always tells me to go right," Summers said. "That's my strength. I just listened to him this game and tried to make a play."
- In a similar situation, tied 77-77 on the road at No. 1 Kentucky, Summers settled for a contested 3-pointer, which was off the mark, and the Wildcats went on to win 89-86 in overtime. That was not the case Saturday against Florida.
"I beat myself up after that game," Summers said. "I just had to move forward. I told myself if I ever got in that situation again, I was going to keep going to the hole and be aggressive."
- Here's a good read on Stefan Moody from Hugh Kellenberger of The Clarion-Ledger. Check it out.
- Playing its third straight opponent ranked opponent, Ole Miss came up just short, falling to Mississippi State 64-62 on a last-second shot on Thursday night. Ole Miss went 1-2 over the three-game stretch, knocking off Georgia and losing to Texas A&M and Mississippi State by a combined 11 points. The Rebels are 14-6 overall, 4-3 in SEC play, likely needing to get to at least eight SEC wins to garner NCAA Tournament consideration.
- The result was not what head coach Matt Insell and the team wanted, but a lively crowd of 3,383 provided one of the better, if not the best, atmospheres I have experienced in five-plus years around the women's basketball program. Insell has tirelessly promoted his program, including going door-to-door on Fraternity Row the night before the Mississippi State game, and it showed Thursday.
"First, I want to thank Rebel Nation," Insell said. "What a great crowd that was. I think Oxford, Mississippi and Rebel Nation just really showed up for us tonight. They showed us how much they cared about this basketball game. The crowd was into the game the entire time. I just want to thank everyone that came."
- A lot has been written and said about The Pavilion at Ole Miss. Here's an infographic comparing it to Tad Smith Coliseum. Notice the concessions in the bottom right corner that includes the addition of Raising Cane's to the menu.
- The Ole Miss baseball team held its first spring practice on Friday and its first intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday. Here's a pretty thorough preview from Kendall Rogers on the Rebels, which are ranked No. 18 in the D1Baseball.com's preseason top 25 rankings. Don't forget, Ole Miss opens the 2015 season with a three-game home series against William & Mary, starting Friday, Feb. 13 at 4 p.m C.T.
- The lowest-ranked team in its four-team regional in Gainesville, Florida, the Ole Miss men's tennis team notched two big wins over No. 13 Florida and No. 29 South Carolina. The Rebels rallied from down 3-0 to defeat the Gators 4-3 and closed out the weekend with a 4-2 win over the Gamecocks to advance to the ITA National Team Indoor Final 16.
- The men's tennis team was bolstered by the return of senior Nik Scholtz, a three-time All-American and the reigning SEC Player of the Year. Unranked because he did not play in the fall, Scholtz defeated the 34th-ranked and 71st-ranked players this past weekend. For more on Scholtz and his decision to return to Ole Miss for his senior season, click here.
- Former Ole Miss players Cody Prewitt and Senquez Golson showed out at the Senior Bowl this week. They impressed coaches, scouts and media members, among others. Next up is the NFL Scouting Combine (Feb. 17-23). For more on their week at the Senior Bowl, click here and here.
- Another former Rebel, the New England Patriots' Brandon Bolden, will be playing in the Super Bowl next Sunday (5:30 p.m. CT, NBC). I caught up with Bolden earlier this week, so look for more on him in the days leading up to the Super Bowl.
- In case you missed it, with the start of classes, the Ole Miss football has been updated to reflect six mid-year additions, including freshman offensive lineman Javon Patterson, a U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection from Pearl, Mississippi. Looking ahead, National Signing Day (Feb. 4) is a week and a half away, so stay tuned.
- In case you missed it, part two, the Ole Miss football video department released a couple of videos over the weekend: "Home is Ole Miss" and "The Journey: Chapter 3."
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Jan. 13-19, 2015
- Ole Miss thrashed No. 19 Arkansas 96-82 on Saturday. The Rebels picked up their first true road win over a ranked opponent since 2003 and scored the second-most points ever by an opponent in Bud Walton Arena.
- Ole Miss leads the nation in free throw percentage, hitting 79.6 percent of its attempts. The Rebels have hit 142 of their last 169 (.840) attempts from the line. Junior G Stefan Moody ranks third in the SEC and 22nd in the nation shooting 88.6 percent from the free throw line.
- Sophomore C Dwight Coleby posted his first career double-double with a career-high 12 points and 10 boards against the Razorbacks.
- Junior G Stefan Moody scored 18 points and knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in the Rebels' win at No. 19 Arkansas. Moody is averaging 18.3 ppg and shooting 50.0 percent from 3-point range in SEC play.
- Senior G Jarvis Summers dished out a season-high 7 assists in the win over the Razorbacks and passed Todd Abernethy and Jason Harrison for fourth in Ole Miss history with 432 career assist. Summers needs just 35 points to become only the 14th players in SEC history with 1,500 career points and 400 career assists.
- Ole Miss started the week with a win over Georgia that snapped a 24-game losing streak to AP ranked foes, giving Ole Miss its first win over ranked foe since Jan. 23, 2011. It marked the first win over a ranked opponent at Tad Smith Coliseum since upsetting No. 12 LSU in Oxford during the 2009-10 season
- Tia Faleru picked up her eighth double-double of the season and her 28th career double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds against Texas A&M, her first double-double since having her streak of five consecutive snapped against Alabama on Jan. 11.
- Erika Sisk posted her 10th game in double figures with a team-best 15 points against Texas A&M. Sisk also extended her double-digit scoring streak to four straight and five of the last six games, while Shequila Joseph posted her third game of double figures with 10 points against Texas A&M and tied her season-high with six rebounds.
- Shandricka Sessom was back in the starting lineup after missing the last two games with concussion-like symptoms after getting injured at Florida (Jan. 8). She posted five points and five rebounds in her return.
- Ole Miss opened the Toby Hansson era with a 6-1 win at UCF.
- Junior Stefan Lindmark played his first match at No. 1 singles and won in convincing fashion 6-1, 6-1 against a player who earned all-conference honors last year.
- Senior William Kallberg and freshman Gustav Hansson improved to 9-2 overall with a 6-2 win at No. 1 doubles.
- Ole Miss went 2-0 to start in the season, shutting out the University of Hawaii, 6-0, and downing Washington, 6-1.
- Senior Julia Jones went 3-0 on the weekend, winning both of her singles matches at No. 1 in straight sets and winning at No. 2 doubles against Washington. She improved to 12-3 on the year.
- Freshman Arianne Hartono also went 3-0 on the weekend with impressive straight-set wins in singles. She is now 11-4 on the year.
- Rifle faced a pair of ranked opponents this past weekend, falling to No. 6 Kentucky, 4688-4580, and dropping a close one to No. 16 NC State, 4606-4602.
- Against the Wildcats, freshman Jessica Haig equaled her career-best with a 588 in air rifle.
- Sophomore Sarah Emery shot a personal best 578 in air rifle against NC State.
The Ole Miss men's and women's basketball teams both made some history, while the men's and women's tennis teams started their spring seasons. National Signing Day (Feb. 4) and the start of baseball season (Feb. 13) are less than a month away and loom in the minds of many Rebel fans. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:
- Coming off a home loss to LSU, where head coach Andy Kennedy questioned the team's energy and their top three scorers shot a combined 14-for-45 from the field, the men's basketball team bounced back with their biggest win of the season, winning on the road at No. 19 Arkansas. It's a huge win for Ole Miss, not only for the NCAA Tournament resume when March rolls around, but also for the team's psyche and confidence during this early part of SEC play.
"You come into this building and win by 14, it shows the potential of this team," said Kennedy on the Ole Miss IMG Sports Network after the game.
- As it did for most of the game at No. 1 Kentucky, Ole Miss played like a team comfortable playing on the road, as the Rebels shot a season-high 56.4 percent from the field and committed just 11 turnovers against an Arkansas team that entered the game forcing 16.6 turnovers per game.
- The Big 3 of Stefan Moody, Jarvis Summers and LaDarius White all scored in double figures, which the Rebels need to be successful this season, but also credit the frontcourt players, who are playing with more and more confidence on the floor. Some numbers through four games of SEC play: Sebastian Saiz (8.5 points, 5.0 rebounds), Dwight Coleby (7.5 points, 6.5 rebounds) and M.J. Rhett (7.3 points, 5.3 rebounds). Led by that frontcourt trio, Ole Miss boasts a plus-2.8 rebounding margin in SEC play.
- A week after Aaron Jones earned top-play honors on Fox Sports Live, Martavious Newby and Stefan Moody combined for an alley-oop in the win over Arkansas that earned the No. 7 spot on Saturday's Top 10 plays.
- Some perspective: For Ole Miss, it was the program's first true road win over a ranked team under ninth-year head coach Andy Kennedy, the first since the 2002-03 season. Ole Miss has now won 10 of its last 12 against Arkansas, including five of its last six games in Fayetteville.
- The NCAA RPI will be released Monday, but Ole Miss moved up No. 46 in the RPI (per Warren Nolan), with two more big RPI opportunities this week: on the road at Georgia (No. 27) and at home against Florida (No. 70).
- The women's basketball team made some history of their own, knocking off No. 18 Georgia on Thursday night, the program's first win over an AP-ranked team since the 2010-11 season, snapping a 24-game losing streak to AP-ranked opponents.
"I'm really happy with our basketball team," head coach Matt Insell said. 'What a great win for our program and where we're going in the future with our program."
- An individual note: Senior Tia Faleru is the only player in the SEC averaging a double-double, as she leads the league in rebounding (10.6) and ranks second in scoring (15.9). Her three-point play started the 8-0 Ole Miss run to end the game against Georgia.
"When she told she was ready to go, she said to go to her every possession, and that's what you want your best player to do," said Insell of Faleru, whose 3-point play started the 8-0 run to end the game. "You want your best player to want the basketball. She wanted it, and she got a big and-one play for us that kept us going. I'm really proud of her."
- Playing its second straight ranked opponent, Ole Miss led No. 11 Texas A&M for 23:01 and as late as the 12:02 mark in the second half. An 11-0 Texas A&M run proved to be the difference, as the Aggies took a 42-41 lead with 11:01 left and led the rest of the way in a 58-49 win in College Station.
- The Rebels got some good news with the return of freshman Shandricka Sessom, who had missed the previous two games with concussion-like symptoms. With her return to the starting lineup, Gracie Frizzell came off the bench, having averaged 17.5 points per game and made a combined 11 3-pointers over her two starts against Alabama and Georgia. Frizzell came off the bench against Texas A&M, but it will be interesting to see if she returns to the starting lineup at some point this season.
- Ole Miss will play its third straight ranked opponent, hosting in-state rival No. 15 Mississippi State on Thursday night in a nationally-televised matchup on the SEC Network. The Bulldogs started the season 18-0, rising as high as No. 14 in the polls, before losing back-to-back games, and enter Thursday's matchup with a 19-2 record. The teams met twice last season, with both games going to overtime and the home team holding serve in each contest.
- Two blasts from the past: Here's an interview with SMU head coach Chad Morris, who talks to Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman about Jevan Snead, whom Morris coached in high school in Texas. Here's a New York Times article on Jeremiah Masoli, who watched Oregon, his other former school, play in the national championship this past Monday.
- Speaking of the national championship, Ole Miss finished the 2014 season at No. 17 in the Associated Press poll and No. 19 in the Amway Coaches Poll, its first final national ranking since 2009 and its highest final national ranking since 2008, when they finished No. 14 in the AP poll and No. 15 in the Coaches poll. Looking ahead to next season, here's a compilation of way-too-early preseason top 25 rankings for 2015.
- Cody Prewitt and Senquez Golson will represent Ole Miss in the Senior Bowl, which will take place on Saturday at 3 p.m. CT from Mobile, Alabama, and will be televised by the NFL Network. According to CBS Sports, Prewitt is the No. 52 NFL Draft prospect, the No. 1 free safety, and a projected second round pick, while Golson is the No. 62 NFL Draft prospect, the No. 7 cornerback, and also a projected second round pick.
- The Ole Miss men's tennis team delivered Toby Hansson a 6-1 win over UCF in his first match as a head coach. Nik Scholtz, the reigning SEC Player of the Year, is expected to rejoin the team when classes start this week, ahead of the team's matches at the ITA Kickoff Weekend in Gainesville, Florida, next weekend.
- New England running back Brandon Bolden will be the 23rd former Ole Miss player, accounting for the 28th appearance overall, to play in a Super Bowl and the first since Michael Oher and Patrick Willis represented Ole Miss in Super Bowl XLVII. Bolden also laid this massive block in the Patriots' win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Jan. 6-12, 2015
- Ole Miss went 2-0 on the week with a road win at Florida and a win at home against Alabama, moving to 13-4 overall and 3-1 in SEC action while winning back-to-back SEC games for the first time since 2011-12.
- Ole Miss' win at Florida snapped a 14-game SEC road losing streak and gave Ole Miss it's first SEC road win since Jan 5, 2013, an 88-81 win also in Gainesville.
- Ole Miss' 13-4 start is the best start since 2006-07 when Ole Miss opened the season 16-4 and advanced to the Elite Eight while Ole Miss' 3-1 SEC start is the best since 2009-10 when the Rebels opened up 4-1
- Tia Faleru extended her double-double streak to five straight games with 16 points and 12 rebounds against Florida, the longest double-double streak for an Ole Miss player since Nikki Byrd in 2011 and was the longest double-double streak in Faleru's career.
- A'Queen Hayes posted her first career double-double against Florida with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Her 15 points tied her career high and the 10 rebounds was a new career high.
- The two Ole Miss double-doubles against Florida marked the first time Ole Miss has had two double-doubles since the Baylor game in 2013-14
- Gracie Frizzell, Ole Miss' resident sharp shooter, set a new single-game and Tad Smith record with a career-best eight three-pointers in Ole Miss' win over Alabama. Frizzell's eight three-pointers is the most in the SEC to date and was three off the SEC single-game record. Frizzell set career-highs in points (24), three-point FG's (8) and extended her consecutive games with a three-pointer to eight straight games.
- As a squad, Ole Miss posted a season-high 10 triples, the most since knocking down 11 against Missouri in the SEC opener in 2013-14.
- Ole Miss posted a 1-1 mark last week to open SEC play after a loss at Kentucky Tuesday and a win over South Carolina Saturday at home.
- Junior guard Stefan Moody scored 25 points and senior guard Jarvis Summers added 23 for the Rebels, who outscored Kentucky 30-26 in the paint and controlled the boards for much of the game, before falling to No. 1 Kentucky 89-86 in overtime.
- Summers led all scorers with 20 points, while Moody added 16 points, all in the second half, as Ole Miss rolled over South Carolina 65-49.
- For Summers, it was his third 20-point game in his last four games, his team-leading sixth 20-point game of the season.
- The Rebels shot 41 percent from the floor, but they were 7-of-14 from 3-point range and 18-of-22 from the free-throw line and committed just 10 turnovers.
- Defensively, the Rebels held South Carolina (9-5, 0-2 SEC) to a season-low 49 points and forced 15 turnovers, turning them into 17 points.
- Ole Miss continues to lead the nation in free throw percentage, hitting .791 of its attempts.
Track & Field
- Sophomore Jalen Miller clocked the world's two fastest 60-meter times in 2015 to lead Ole Miss in a dominating season opener at the Gene Edmonds Invite in West Lafayette, Indiana, on Saturday.
- After running a 6.57 in the prelims, Miller clocked a 6.56 in the final to claim the world's fastest time this year by five hundredths of a second. He set a personal best that is just one hundredth of a second off Mike Granger's school record and also established a meet and facility record at Purdue's indoor track.
- All told, the Rebels won nine events and broke two school records in addition to Miller's sensational short sprinting.
- The Rebel men won all but three events in which they competed and claimed victory in every individual running event in which they lined up an athlete.
- Senior Dameon Morgan established a school record in the men's 600 meters with his time of 1:18.48, breaking Thomas Johnson's record that had stood since 1991.
- In her first race in the Red and Blue, freshman Brooke Feldmeier surged past some high-level competitors to win the women's 600 in a school-record time of 1:28.42, which leads the nation this year. The previous record of 1:29.63 was set by Sofie Persson in 2011.
- After the opening weekend of 2015 competition, the following men rank top 10 in the NCAA: Miller (1st in 60m, 6.56), Darryl Brown (9th in 200m, 21.42), Robert Semien (7th in 60mH, 7.90) and Phillip Young (3rd in TJ, 51-0.75).
- The Rebels began the spring season at the Florida Gulf Coast University Invitational this past weekend and picked up 23 wins in singles and doubles against TCU, Rice and FGCU.
- Senior William Kallberg and freshman Gustav Hansson finished 5-1 in doubles, including a win over the No. 15 ranked team in the country. They are now 8-2 on the year.
- Junior Stefan Lindmark and sophomore Ricardo Jorge also posted a big win in doubles, defeating the No. 20 ranked team in the nation.
- The Rebels got some big news this past week off the court, as reigning SEC Player of the Week Nik Scholtz announced he is returning for his senior season. The three-time All-American will join the team when school starts and will seek to become the first four-time All-American in the history of the program.
The Ole Miss men's basketball team opened SEC play, while the Ole Miss women's basketball team continued SEC play, as we enter the heart of college basketball season. Over the weekend, the men's and women's teams posted wire-to-wire wins on back-to-back days. After the conclusion of NFL Divisional Round, the Rebels are guaranteed to have a representative in Super Bowl XLIX. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:
- The Ole Miss men's basketball team welcomed five newcomers, including two fifth-year transfers and two junior college transfer, and it's been a process for the team learning to play together. After an up-and-down nonconference slate, the Rebels played No. 1 Kentucky to overtime on the road and then notched a wire-to-wire 65-49 win over South Carolina to open SEC play.
"With us, every player has a strength and a weakness and what I'm trying to do is have combinations to cover ourselves, and I think we're getting better at that," head coach Kennedy said.
"It's a process," junior guard Stefan Moody said. "You can't just throw a bunch of guys together and expect them to mesh automatically. It's a process. It's going to take a little while and we're figuring it out."
- Ole Miss did not get the result it wanted on the road at No. 1 Kentucky, but the Rebels played perhaps their best game of the season, and if they play like that the rest of the way, they have a chance to play meaningful basketball come March. Ole Miss shot 49 percent from the field, including 9-of-17 from 3-point range, and scored 86 points, all season highs for Kentucky opponents.
"It doesn't really get any worse than that, especially when you have a chance to beat the No. 1 team in the country," said junior guard Stefan Moody, who led the Rebels with 25 points before cramping up in overtime. "It's a part of life. You have to take it how you got it. We lost by a few points. It was a confidence booster coming into this game (against South Carolina) and in games ahead. We went toe to toe with (Kentucky). It proved we can go toe to toe with anybody."
- In case you missed it, here's a vine of a highlight-reel dunk by Aaron Jones against No. 1 Kentucky, which earned him top-play honors on Fox Sports Live. (H/T @ColeMissSports)
- After winning 12 of its first 13 games, all in the nonconference slate, by double digits, No. 1 Kentucky has been taken to overtime in back-to-back games, first at home against Ole Miss and then on the road against Texas A&M. Speaking to the way No. 1 Kentucky played in each of the two games, Ole Miss took a better shot, and it came on the Wildcats' home floor. Against Ole Miss, Kentucky shot 42 percent from the field, including 11-of-20 from 3-point range, and went 28-of-40 from the free-throw line. Against Texas A&M, Kentucky shot 28 percent from the field, including 9-of-28 from 3-point range, and went 25-of-35 from the free-throw line.
"I told them, the standard has been changed," Kennedy said. "Through 13 games, we've seen some high points and low points. And then we went into Rupp Arena, in that environment. The only thing that bothered me about the commentary afterwards was a lot of people saying that Kentucky didn't play well. Kentucky played well. We took their best shot. My hope was that our guys saw that this is the new standard, and this is what we are capable of doing, if we take the right approach. If we take the right approach, this team has a chance."
- Watching Ole Miss on film, South Carolina head coach Frank Martin said it was easy to spot their progress through 15 games this season, pointing to the Rebels' nonconference wins over Oregon and Cincinnati, as well as the way they played Kentucky.
"They're athletic," Martin said. "They're seniors. They stay the course. They don't whine and pout. They don't roll their eyes. They play. Moody has given them an unbelievable presence to go with those other guys. Andy's got his guys playing well."
- After a 1-1 start to SEC play, the Ole Miss men has a crucial four-game stretch ahead, all against teams ranked in the RPI top 80: vs. LSU (No. 43), at Arkansas (No 14), at Georgia (No. 38) and vs. Florida (No. 79).
- With wins over Florida and Alabama this week, the Ole Miss women's basketball won back-to-back regular-season SEC games for the first time since the 2011-12, improving to 13-4 overall and 3-1 in SEC play. The 13-4 start is the best since the 2006-07 season, when the Rebels finished 24-11 and made a run to the Elite Eight.
- "We said before the SEC started, when we were 10-3, that five more wins gets us to the WNIT," head coach Matt Insell said. "We said eight more wins gets us to the NCAA Tournament. I asked them what they wanted, and they said they wanted the NCAA Tournament, so they're fighting every day to get to that eight-win mark because when you get to that eight-win mark in this league in women's basketball, I can't name a team that didn't make the NCAA Tournament after getting eight wins in this league."
- One of the"next four teams" out in the first Bracketology projection from ESPN.com women's basketball Bracketologist Charlie Creme, the Ole Miss women also have a crucial stretch ahead, starting with a home game against No. 19 Georgia on Thursday, followed by a road game at No. 8 Texas A&M, followed by a rivalry game at home against No. 14 Mississippi State.
"Georgia is coming in here, and they're ranked in the top 20 in the country, and you get a chance to get them on your home court, and you get a chance when you have a lot of momentum going within your team and your team is playing well," Insell said. "It's a huge game. If we want to get to the NCAA Tournament, we have to win a couple of those games. This week, we have a chance to play two teams this week to see where we're at and see where we're going."
- The Ole Miss men's tennis team netted a big win off the court with Nik Scholtz's Twitter announcement that he would return for his senior season. The Rebels began the 2015 season this past weekend with singles and doubles matches at the Florida Gulf Coast Invitational. They play their first dual match of the season on Friday at UCF, before starting play at the ITA Kickoff Weekend on Saturday, Jan. 24.
- Five former Ole Miss football players have been invited to play in college football postseason all-star games, headlined by Senquez Golson and Cody Prewitt, who will play in the Senior Bowl on Jan. 24. Serderius Bryant played in the Medal of Honor Bowl this past weekend, totaling three tackles and two tackles for loss.
- With Brandon Bolden (New England Patriots) and Donte Moncrief (Indianapolis Colts) both advancing to the AFC Championship, Ole Miss is guaranteed to have a former player in Super Bowl XLIX. It will be the 20th Super Bowl featuring a former Ole Miss player, and whether it's Bolden or Moncrief, Ole Miss have its 23rd different former player participate in a Super Bowl.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Dec. 29, 2014-Jan. 5, 2015
- The No. 9 Ole Miss football team finished the 2014 football season with a 9-4 record, its best since 2009, after a 42-3 defeat to No. 6 TCU in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
- The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl was the first of the inaugural New Year's Six bowls that features the top six matchups in college football.
- The loss snapped Ole Miss' school-record streak of six straight bowl wins that was tied with Florida State for longest in the nation.
- Ole Miss finished the season with the nation's top-ranked scoring defense, giving up 16.0 points per outing.
- The Rebels forced four TCU turnovers to run their season total to 32, which ranks top 10 in the nation.
- All-America CB Senquez Golson tied the school record with his 10th interception of the season... His 16 career picks are most among active NCAA players and tied for third-most in Ole Miss history.
- Ole Miss finished the season with 419.1 total offense ypg (5th-best in school history) and 263.6 passing ypg (5th-best in school history).
- Ole Miss posted a 1-1 mark last week, falling by four on the road at Dayton before routing Austin Peay in its non-conference finale.
- Ole Miss will open league play at No. 1 Kentucky Tuesday night. It marks the 13th time in the last 17 years the Rebels have opened conference play on the road. Ole Miss has won its last two SEC openers and is 28-53 all-time in league openers.
- The Rebels will face the nation's No. 1 team for the first time since a 77-62 loss at top-ranked Kentucky on Feb. 18, 2012. Ole Miss is 0-15 all-time against the top-ranked team in the country, including 12 times against the Wildcats.
- Ole Miss leads the nation hitting 78.4 percent of its free throw attempts. The Rebels hit 19-of-21 attempts (.905) against Northern Arizona and have hit 65 of their last 79 from the line (.823).
- Five Ole Miss players are shooting at least 80.0 percent from the line, including junior G Stefan Moody, who leads the SEC and is tied for ninth in the nation shooting 92.2 percent (47-of-51).
- The Ole Miss women's basketball team closed out the non-conference slate with a 79-71 (OT) win over former Rebel Yolanda Moore's Southeastern Louisiana squad.
- The win gave the Rebels a 10-3 mark in the non-conference, the best non-conference record since 2011-12 when the Rebels also went 10-3.
- Playing at home for its SEC opener for the second consecutive season, Ole Miss defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks, 71-57 for its first win in an SEC opener since defeating Vanderbilt at home in the 2010-11 opener.
- The win moved Ole Miss to 7-4 in SEC home openers in the last 10 years. Additionally, the 14-point margin of victory is the largest since defeating Alabama by 14 in the 2009-10 home opener.
- Tia Faleru posted her fourth consecutive double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds in a 64-58 loss at Kentucky. It's the longest double-double streak of the season and her career.
- Additionally, her 21 points marked her 4th game of 20+ points this season and her 15th career game of 20 or more points. Faleru now has 26 career double-doubles and moved into No. 17 on Ole Miss' all-time scorers list with 1,204 career points.
Observations from the Best Seat in the House is back, having taken a week off for the Christmas holidays and traveled to Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. The football team finished the season in a "New Year's Six" bowl, the men's basketball team closed out non-conference play, the women's basketball team opened Southeastern Conference play and the spring sports draw nearer. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:
- The Ole Miss football team ran into a buzz saw in No. 6 TCU, a team playing like it was motivated by the College Football Playoff snub and should have been in the four-team playoff. The 42-3 loss to the Horned Frogs marked the first bowl loss under head coach Hugh Freeze and the worst bowl loss in program history.
"TCU is a very good team," Freeze said. "They deserved every mention they got this year to be in the hunt for one of the four. They certainly, rightfully, deserve to be in it with the others.... To pick the four is a very difficult task. They certainly could compete with any of those in it, no question in my mind."
- It's easy for fans to be disappointed by the end of the season, but credit is due to Freeze and the 2014 team, particularly the seniors, many of whom were freshman during a 2-10 season in 2011. They helped lead the program to three straight bowl games for the first time since 1998-2000 and their nine wins are its most in a season since 2009. History will be kind to this team, as the underclassmen on this year's team look to take the program to the next level in the years to come.
"I'm extremely proud of our kids and how they've turned this program, in three short years, to being relevant and competitive. I'm just sick that it wasn't that way for them today," Freeze said.
- Playing in his last collegiate game, senior cornerback Senquez Golson provided a bright spot in the game, as he tied the school record with his 10th interception of the season, the 16th of his career, which is tied for third place in Ole Miss. A projected second-day NFL draft pick, Golson remains undecided on his plans for the spring, whether it's playing baseball or preparing for the NFL Draft.
- He did not want to go out the way he did, saying as much to the media in the postgame press conference, but just as history will be kind to this year's team, it will likely be kind to senior quarterback Bo Wallace. He had his ups and downs, and he would probably be the first to admit that, but he finishes his Ole Miss career with school record for career total offensive yards (10,478), and with 24 wins as the team's stating quarterback, he is tied with Eli Manning as the winningest quarterback in modern Ole Miss history. Among those 24 wins: Three top-10 wins, including No. 1 Alabama, two Egg Bowl wins and two bowl wins.
- Much was made about the SEC's bowl performance and the SEC East's 5-0 record and the SEC West's 2-5 record, headlined by the 0-3 record by SEC West team in the "New Year's Six" bowl games. With that being said, a couple of things to consider: The SEC tied its own record the most conference bowl wins in college football history. When comparing the records of the two divisions, be sure to look at their bowl game opponents, which includes the nation's No. 4, No. 6, No. 12 and No. 18 teams for SEC West teams. Also, should one bowl game carry more weight than the 12-game or 13-game regular season when comparing divisions and conferences?
- Speaking of the "New Year's Six," the new format pulled in historic ratings. The first half of the "New Year's Six" delivered the most-viewed and highest-rated New Year's Eve triple header on an ESPN network on record, including an average of 5,013,000 views and a 3.4 US rating for No. 6 TCU and No. 9 Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl. The semifinals on New Year's Day then delivered the largest two audiences in cable television history and the highest overnight rating for a non-championship game on ESPN and ABC, with a 15.5 rating for No. 2 Oregon and No. 3 Florida State in the Rose Bowl and a 15.3 rating for No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl. I look forward to seeing the numbers for the College Football Championship on Monday, Jan. 12.
- Looking ahead to next season, Ole Miss will have perhaps its two best offensive players in sophomore wide receiver Laquon Treadwell and sophomore offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil coming off season-ending injuries, as Tunsil suffered a broken fibula in the loss to TCU. David Chao, MD, a former NFL head team physician, said on Twitter that type of injury requires surgery, but Tunsil could make a recovery in four-to-six months. Freeze said Treadwell, now out of the boot, will recovered by about the start of spring practice, expecting him to participate in some of spring practice.
- But the biggest question heading into the offseason and the 2015 season? The quarterback position. The Rebels signed the nation's top junior college quarterback in Chad Kelly, and we'll know more about his future with the program in the coming days. And then there's redshirt freshmen Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade, neither of whom has separated from the other through two seasons working behind Bo Wallace. It will be something to watch.
- Other questions heading into the offseason and 2015 season? Who does Freeze hire to replace linebackers coach Tom Allen on his coaching staff? After signing four on junior college national signing day, including the nation's top quarterback, defensive tackle and cornerback, how does Ole Miss finish up its recruiting class on National Signing Day (Feb. 4)? How do Treadwell, Tunsil, among others recover from season-ending injuries? That and more, we'll all have to sit back and watch.
- Speaking of looking ahead to 2015, here's Chase Parham's annual look at 10 dates that are significant for Ole Miss during the next calendar year. A must-read for all Rebel fans, if you haven't already checked it out.
- While in Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, I had the opportunity to visit and tour the College Football Hall of Fame. Wow. If you're a college football fan and haven't yet visited the museum in downtown Atlanta, you need to make plans to do so.
When you walk in, you see a three-story-high wall of helmets representing the 768 teams that play college football at the FBS, FCS, Division II, Division III and NAIA level. When you walk upstairs, you walk through the history of college football, whether it's through exhibitions, many of which are interactive, or through films. And then there's some Ole Miss flavor, from a "Speed Limit 18" sign, to an Archie Manning 1970 magazine cover, to a game ball from the 2011 seven-overtime game against Arkansas, and then the helmet wall, films and interactivity of the exhibits will blow you away.
- As part of bowl week, I also had the opportunity to visit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite Hospital, shadowing three of team's 21 seniors in Cody Prewitt, Billy Busch and Charlie Scott. It was great to watch the players interact with the patients, sharing stories and brightening their day. It gave you perspective.
Another senior, Lavon Hooks, said it best: "It was a great opportunity getting to hang out with kids that might not get the same opportunities as us. It brightened my day, just being able to give back. I think it brightened their day, too, getting to play and hang out with some people they may see on TV and look up to."
- The Ole Miss men's basketball team had an interesting non-conference, defeating Creighton, Cincinnati away from Oxford, while losing to Charleston Southern and Western Kentucky on their home floor. The Rebels closed out the non-conference slate with a 9-4 record, rolling past Austin Peay 92-63 on Saturday. Ole Miss shot a season-best 54.8 percent from the floor, but head coach Andy Kennedy was most pleased by 23 assists on 34 made field goals.
"There have been a lot of things I was not expecting," said Kennedy of non-conference play. "I felt like the continuity would be a little better because we had more experience. The reality is we are still integrating new guys into the way we do things. It took us a while to figure out who's best with whom. This team needs to share the ball. We have to help each other get shots."
- Preseason All-SEC first team selection Jarvis Summers has come on strong entering the start on SEC play. He has scored in double figures in each of his last three games, including a team-high 18 points in the win over Austin Peay.
"Tonight as we were making that push, he was the guy that was being the player we need him to be," said Kenned of Summers, the Rebels' second-leading scorer. "My hope is he's getting back into a rhythm. He understands the importance that he brings to this team."
- The Rebels open SEC play on Tuesday when they play on the road at No. 1 Kentucky in Rupp Arena. Kennedy and Summers both stressed the importance of making jump shots and keeping the Wildcats off the offensive glass to keep the game close and give themselves a chance at the upset.
- The Ole Miss women's basketball team opened SEC play, defending their home court in a 71-57 win over Arkansas and then playing No. 11 Kentucky to the wire in a 64-58 loss on the road in Lexington. The Rebels led for 25:59 of the game, before a 6-0 run over the final 2:22 sealed the win for the Wildcats. Despite the loss, head coach Matt Insell and his team proved they're going to be a tough out for opponents this season.
- With the turn of the calendar, the start of the spring sports draw nearer, and something is whether three-time All-American and reigning SEC Player of the Year Nik Scholtz elects to return for his senior season in men's tennis. The Caledon, South Africa, native played in various Futures tournament this past summer and fall. With Scholtz, the Rebels would return six of their top seven player from last season, in addition to talented newcomers Gustav Hansson of Sweden and Zvonimir Babic of Croatia.
A couple of dates to watch, as far as a possible return for Scholtz, are Jan. 7, when Ole Miss opens the 2015 season in the Florida Gulf Coast Invitational, Jan. 21, when Ole Miss classes begins, and Jan. 24, when Ole Miss begins play in the ITA Kickoff Weekend.
Favorite Plays of the Year
Senquez Golson's Game-Saving Interception vs. Alabama
On one of the biggest weekends in Ole Miss football history, Senquez Golson turned in one of the biggest plays in Ole Miss football history, as he picked off Alabama quarterback Blake Sims with 37 seconds left in the game to secure a 23-17 win over No. 1 Alabama.
The game-tying touchdown, from Bo Wallace to Vince Sanders, the forced fumble by Channing Ward, and the game-winning touchdown, from Wallace to Jaylen Walton, deserve mention, but Golson's interception is the signature play that effectively ended the game.
Austin Anderson's Walk-Off HR vs. Auburn
The baseball team showed its toughness all season, on the way to Omaha and the College World Series, winning more than its fair share of close games, and none were more dramatic than Austin Anderson's 13th-inning, walk-off home run against Auburn.
The Tigers had intentionally walked him in the 9th and 11th innings, and intended to intentionally walk him in the 13th, but the Auburn pitcher left the ball too close to the plate, and Anderson sent the ball over the fence in right field.
Jaylen Walton's Long TD Run vs. Mississippi State
In the face of adversity and a three-game SEC losing streak, the football team reclaimed the Egg Bowl to cap a 9-3 regular season, their best season since 2003.
Jaylen Walton turned in a career game, rushing for 148 yards on 14 carries, highlighted by a 91-yard touchdown run that made SportsCenter's Top 10 plays and proved to be the game-winning score in a 31-17 win over Mississippi State.
Errol Robinson's Relay Throw vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
The baseball team had its share of big plays in Game 2 and Game 3 of the Super Regional against Louisiana-Lafayette that sent the Rebels to their fifth College World Series appearance and their first since 1972.
There were some big scoring plays in the two games, such as Preston Overbey's solo home run of Game 2, or Holt Perdzock's bases-clearing triple in Game 3, but I'm going to highlight the relay play from Braxton Lee to Errol Robinson to Will Allen to keep the game-tying run off the board in the seventh inning of Game 3.
(Go to 16:45 mark for Robinson's play)
Sam Kendricks' Championship Jump
Sam Kendricks delivered another national championship for Ole Miss, as he cleared 18-8.25 to become the first back-to-back NCAA outdoor champion for the Rebels since 2000-2001 and the first back-to-back outdoor pole vault champion since 2006-07.
Kendrick elected to forego his senior year of eligibility with the track & field team to pursue professional and international athletic opportunities, as he prepares for U.S. and World Championships and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Favorite Games of the Year
Football Knocks Off Top-Ranked Alabama
A weekend that began with the program's first appearance on College GameDay was closed out with a thrilling 23-17 victory over No. 1 Alabama, the program's first win over a top-ranked opponent.
Down 14-3 at halftime, the Rebels outscored the Crimson Tide 20-3 in the second half to improve to 5-0 for the first time since 1962. After the win, the fans stormed the field and tore down the goal posts. Ole Miss would go on to start the season 7-0 and rise as high as No. 3 in the national polls.
Baseball Secures a Berth in the College World Series
The baseball team preached toughness all season and it was on display as the Rebels secured a berth in the College World Series with a 10-4 win over Louisiana-Lafayette in the rubber-game of the Super Regional in Lafayette.
A well-executed relay play kept the game-tying run off the board in the seventh, and Holt Perdzock broke things open in the ninth with a bases-clearing triple as part of five-run inning for Ole Miss.
Football Recaptures Egg Bowl
Ole Miss reclaimed the prize of the football program with a 31-17 win over No. 4 Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl. It marked the first time the Rebels notched two wins over top-five teams since 1969.
The win capped a 9-3 regular season, the program's best regular season since 2003, and sent them to the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. It also closed the door on the Bulldogs' College Football Playoff hopes.
Baseball Clinches Key Series over Mississippi State
There might have bigger wins for the baseball team, but the series-clincher over Mississippi State, from the environment, to the circumstances, to the way they won, appeared to have changed the trajectory of the Rebels, who went on to advance to Omaha and the College World Series.
Coming off an extra-inning loss in the Game 2 of the series, the Rebels pounded out 20 hits to race past Mississippi State for a 12-2 win in Starkville.
Billy Chadwick Goes Out a Winner in Last SEC Home Match
Likely needing a win to advance to the postseason, the Ole Miss men's tennis team delivered legendary head coach Billy Chadwick a 4-3 win over No. 10 Texas A&M. Stefan Lindmark cliched the win with a three-set win at No. 4 singles.
The win not only sent Chadwick out a winner in his last SEC home match, but it also helped the Rebels earn their 21st straight NCAA Championship bid.
Favorite Stories of the Year
Return of the Powder Blues: How They Came to Be
As part of the Memphis home football game weekend honoring the life and spirit of Chucky Mullins, the Ole Miss football team wore powder blue helmets, replicas of the ones worn by the Rebels in 1989, the year Mullins was injured and paralyzed during the Vanderbilt game.
Kendricks Wears Two Uniforms
In one world, Sam Kendrick is a national champion and an Olympic hopeful. In another world, he is an Army officer in trainer and on track to accept a commission and begin his military career.
The historic 2013 football signing class has been instrumental in helping change the culture around the football program, helping lead the Rebels to the first nine-win regular season since 2003 and a "New Year's Six" Bowl game.
Buy-In Paying Off for Golson
Senquez Golson became the first consensus first team All-American and first unanimous choice since Michael Oher in 2008. His success on the field, he has said and his coaches have said, came from buying into the program change under head coach Hugh Freeze.
Scholtz Turns the Page on Outstanding Junior Season
Nik Scholtz became the fourth Ole Miss men's tennis player to be named SEC Player of the Year and the first to earn SEC Freshman and Player of the Year honors during his career. He earned a final national ranking of No. 14 in singles, making him a three-time All-American.
Favorite Videos of the Year
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Dec. 15-21, 2014
- Ole Miss overcame a 17-point deficit to knock off Coastal Carolina 71-68 Thursday night.
- Senior LaDarius White scored a career-high 26 points including a career-best 6 3-pointers in the victory.
- The Rebels will face Southeast Missoui Monday night in Southaven before an eight-day holiday break.
-Ole Miss extended its win streak to three straight with wins over Southern Miss and Alabama A&M. Ole Miss who had dropped its previous two contests is moves to 9-3 on the seasons with a chance to close the non-conference slate with a 10-3 record, which would be the best non-conference record since 2011-12.
-Tia Faleru posted her 23rd career double-double against Alabama A&M with 24 points and 14 rebounds. It was her first double-double since nabbing 29 points and 19 rebounds in a win over Southern on Nov. 20. Additionally, with Faleru's 24 points Ole Miss had its first 20-point scorer since the Nov 28 Utah game when Toree Thompson had a career-high 23 points.
-A'Queen Hayes earned her first career start against Southern Miss and also started the Alabama A&M game. In her first career start Hayes tallied 10 points for her second career game in double figures. In her two carer starts, Hayes is averaging 9.5 points.
-Tia Faleru played her 100th career game against Alabama A&M joining Danielle McCray as active players to play in 100 career games. Amber Singletary will also join the century club this season. Additionally, head coach Matt Insell earned his 20th career victory against Southern Miss.
The students were off for the first week of winter break, but Observations from the Best Seat in the House presses on, as the football team moves closer to the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and the men's and women's basketball teams near the end of non-conference play. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:
- Monday was a milestone day for the Forward Together campaign, as Ole Miss unveiled the master plans for the Vaught-Hemingway Stadium renovation and expansion. The three main takeaways are the expansion to 64,038 by the start of the 2016 season, accommodating 5,500 more Rebel fans, the student section expansion and move to the soon-to-be bowled-in end zone and the emphasis on quality of experience compared to quantity of number of fans. Here are two video related to the announcement: Forward Together: North End Zone Expansion and Forward Together: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Expansion Fly-Through
- Wednesday was also a big day for the football program, as head coach Hugh Freeze inked the nation's top quarterback (Chad Kelly), defensive tackle (D.J. Jones) and cornerback (Tony Bridges) on junior college national signing day. All three have the potential to play key roles on next year's team.
- Congrats to former linebackers coach Tom Allen who was named the defensive coordinator at South Florida. He is one of the most engaging and personable coaches you will meet, and talking to his players and fellow coaches, you can tell he was admired and respected at Ole Miss.
- Interestingly, this is only the second coaching staff change under head coach Hugh Freeze and the first since co-defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach Wesley McGriff left for the New Orleans after the 2012 season. Between the on-field success and the increase in the salary pool for the football staff, Ole Miss should be competitive in filling the position.
"That was the only thing I asked for," said Freeze of the increase. "Let's up that so we will remain competitive in this conference in that regard because I really like continuity. Unless a guy gets an opportunity, like a Tom Allen, where you get to run your own defense or offense. You have to understand those moves. I took those chances, and I want others to get the same opportunity. I don't want to lose someone just because it's a lateral move and we're not competitive."
- To quote the oft-used sports metaphor, the Ole Miss men's basketball team's win over Coastal Carolina was a tale of two halves. Down as many as 17, the Rebels erased a 41-28 halftime deficit behind a career-high 26 points from LaDarius White and 60.9 percent shooting in the second half.
- LaDarius White continues to be a revelation for the Rebels in his senior season, averaging 13.6 points per game, second on the team behind Stefan Moody, including 14.2 ppg over his last nine games. He's also shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor and 51.4 percent from 3-point range.
- With a win over Southeastern Louisiana after the Christmas holidays, the Ole Miss women's basketball has a chance to go 10-3 for its best non-conference record since the 2011-12 season. The Rebels open Southeastern Conference on Jan. 2 at home against Arkansas.
- Congrats to the Ole Miss student-athletes who achieved the highest cumulative grade point average (2.96) in recorded history and the 10 student-athletes who received their degrees.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Dec. 8-14, 2014
- The Ole Miss women's basketball team rebounded with a 88-48 win over South Alabama on Sunday. The win was the first after back-to-back losses for the Rebels for the first time this season. Ole Miss is now 7-3 on the season and can close out the non-conference slate with a 10-3 record should they win out the rest of the way, marking the best non-conference record since 2011-12.
- Bretta Hart had a career-night against South Alabama with a career-best 14 points going 7-of-8 from the floor. Hart had missed the previous seven games while recovering fem a minor knee injury. The South Alabama game was her first game since Nov. 16th's Mississippi Valley State game.
- Shequila Joseph also had a career night with a career-best eight assists besting her previous career-high of seven set last season at Tennessee. Joseph was two assists shy of the first 10-assist game for Ole Miss this season.
- The Rebels had five players in double figures against South Alabama, marking the first time this season Ole Miss has had five players in double figures. Ole Miss has twice had four players in double figures and last had four players in double figures against Southern on Nov. 20.
- Danielle McCray became the first of the Ole Miss seniors to reach 100 games played against South Alabama. Tia Faleru will be the next to reach the milestone as she now has played in 98 games while Amber Singletary has played in 93 career games.
- Junior Stefan Moody knocked down a career-high six 3-pointers and led the Rebels with 25 points, but Ole Miss (6-3) was unable to overcome a second-surge from Western Kentucky in a 81-74 loss Saturday.
With final exam week on the Ole Miss campus, there was not much game action, but there's still plenty to talk about, as Ole Miss finalized salary increases for head football coach Hugh Freeze and his staff, and the football team moved one week closer to the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Wednesday, Dec. 31. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:
- Freeze's new $4.3 million base salary is tied for third among Southeastern Conference head coaches and tied for seventh nationally. It increases to $5 million if the Rebels advance to the SEC Championship Game, which would be tied for second among SEC coaches and tied for tied fourth nationally.
- Also, as part of the same release, Ole Miss announced it will unveil plans, including visuals and timelines, for the expansion of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Monday, so stayed tuned for those.
- The first-ever two-time winner of the Chucky Mullins Courage Award, Deterrian Shackelford was honored for his community service and off-the-field contributions, winning the Wuerffel Trophy and being elected the AFCA Good Works Team Captain.
- The Ole Miss Alumni Association will hold its bowl bash on Tuesday, Dec. 30 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. More details here. As we get closer to Dec. 31, be sure to visit and bookmark Ole Miss Bowl Central and Chick-fil-A Bowl Central and stay tuned to @OleMissFB and @CFAPeachBowl for all things Chick-fil-A Bowl related.
- There might be a few more video between now and Dec. 31, but here are two videos to check out from Ole Miss Sports Productions: The 2014 season highlight video and the official team Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl preview video. Great work, as always.
- The Ole Miss men's basketball team moved to 6-3 on the season, suffering its third home loss in five such games this season. The Rebels led by as many as 17, and as many as 16 in the second half, but they were unable to overcome a second-half rally from Western Kentucky in an 81-74 loss Saturday.
"It's unacceptable, quite frankly," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "It's unacceptable for me, it's unacceptable for our team. I've tried and tried and tried to infuse pride. It's hard to infuse that, I have learned. We have really tried everything we could to get them to understand the importance of protecting home floor because it's so difficult to win on the road."
- As many others noted, preseason All-SEC first team selection Jarvis Summers was held to single-digit scoring for the fourth straight game against WKU. In each of the Rebels' three losses this season, he has scored just eight points.
"Basically, just got to do what I've got to do," Summers said. "I can't make no excuses. I have to get in some rhythm. It's frustrating. I can't pout. I can't cry about it. I have to continue to put the work in."
- On the positive side, Stefan Moody led the Rebels in scoring for the fourth straight game, which has included 26 points against Cincinnati, 22 against Oregon, and most recently, 25 against WKU. He's averaging 21.3 points and has gone 14-of-27 from 3-point range during the four-game stretch.
- The Ole Miss women's basketball team rebounded from back-to-back losses with perhaps its most complete performance of the season, cruising to an 88-48 win over South Alabama on Sunday. With the win, the Rebels have a chance to go 10-3 for its best non-conference record since the 2011-12 season.
- In the win over South Alabama, five players scored in double figures and the Rebels shot a season-best 53.2 percent from the field. Defensively, Ole Miss forced 31 turnovers and held South Alabama to 29.5 percent shooting, including just four made field goals and 14 points in the second half.
- Not Ole Miss related, but if you haven't already, you should check out this Marcus Mariota Heisman tribute video from the University of Oregon Athletic Video Department. Great stuff. Mariota won the award, receiving 90.9 percent of the possible points in voting, the second-highest percentage ever.
- On an Ole Miss-related note, the Rebels will face Heisman Trophy fourth-place finisher, TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin, in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Ole Miss has already faced and defeated the third-place (Alabama's Amari Cooper) and eight-place (Mississippi State's Dak Prescott) finishers for the award.
- Ole Miss will have at least two representatives in the NFL Playoffs, as Brandon Bolden's New England Patriots and Donte Moncrief's Indianpolis Colts clinched division titles Sunday. Check out this story on Moncrief from Stephen Holder on the Indianapolis Star.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Dec. 1-7, 2014
- No. 9 Ole Miss accepted an invitation to play in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, where they will face No. 6 TCU on Dec. 31 in Atlanta's Georgia Dime.
- Ole Miss is making its third straight bowl appearance in three seasons under the direction of head coach Hugh Freeze. He's the only coach in school history to guide the Rebels to bowl berths in each of his first three seasons.
- The Rebels won nine regular-season games for the first time since 2003, defeating three 10-win teams and three conference champions along the way.
- Three of the Rebels' victories came against teams playing in access bowls: Alabama (Sugar), Mississippi State (Orange) and Boise State (Fiesta). The season-opening win over the Broncos also took place in the Georgia Dome in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic.
- Ole Miss bolsters its celebrated bowl legacy with its 36th all-time appearance, tied for 18th on the NCAA Division I list of all-time bowl berths.
- The Rebels are 23-12 in bowl games, with the 23 wins tied for ninth-most in college football history. The Rebels' .657 winning percentage is second-best among all schools.
- This will mark Ole Miss' second appearance in the Peach Bowl, having defeated Georgia Tech 41-18 in the 1971 game.
- The Rebels picked up a huge road win on Sunday with a 79-73 victory over the Oregon Ducks on Sunday. Junior Stefan Moody lead Ole Miss with 22 points including four 3-pointers, as the Rebels and avenged an overtime loss at home to the Ducks last season.
- Sophomore Sebastian Saiz added 17 points and five rebounds for Ole Miss, which also had three players off the bench in double figures and outscored the Ducks 35-5 off the bench. Senior LaDarius White finished with 13 points, and senior Aaron Jones and sophomore Dwight Coleby had 10 each.
- The win gives Ole Miss three power conference wins on the season for only the second time in school history, having knocked off Cincinnati (AAC) and Creighton (Big East) at the Emerald Coast Classic. The victory also improved the Rebels to a perfect 4-0 away from Tad Smith Coliseum.
-Ole Miss went 0-2 on the week with losses to Western Kentucky and No. 11 Baylor. The Rebels move to 6-3 on the season and have dropped back-to-back games for the first time this season and have dropped both games by double figures.
-Kiara Golden had a career-night against Western Kentucky, leading the Rebels with a team-best 19 points for her second career game in double figures. Golden's 19 marked the fourth time a freshman has scored in double figures and the third time a rookie has led Ole Miss in scoring.
-Tia Faleru grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds against Baylor. It was her third game of double figure rebounds this season and she was just one point shy of her third double-double this season. In two games against Baylor, Faleru is averaging 11 rebounds.
-For the first time this season Ole Miss was held without a double figure scorer against Baylor. The last time Ole Miss didn't have at least one player in double figures was last season at Tennessee.
In the early part of the week, Athletics Director Ross Bjork and head football coach Hugh Freeze reached an agreement on a new contract. In the late part of the week, the Rebels learned their postseason bowl destination. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:
- Bjork and Freeze broke the news of a new contract via Twitter early Tuesday. The terms of the new contract will be released as they are finalized and are expected in the coming days.
- For the second straight season, No. 9 Ole Miss will end its season in the same city in which it began it, having defeated Boise State in Atlanta in its season opener and now returning to Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 31 against No. 6 TCU.
"It's an exciting time in college athletics, and we are thrilled to be one of the teams selected in the first 'New Year's Six' bowls," Freeze said. "We are honored to accept this great invitation and take on an outstanding TCU team. Atlanta is a place that is very dear to our program, and it's important to us that we represent our great university."
- When the regular season was said and done, Ole Miss had defeated the only two teams to be ranked No. 1 in the CFB Playoff Rankings (Alabama and Mississippi State) and three 10-win teams (Alabama, Boise State, Mississippi State), all of whom are also playing in "New Year's Six Bowls." Check out this infographic recapping the Rebels' 2014 season.
- TCU was ranked No. 3 in the College Football Playoff rankings last week, only to fall to No. 6 behind No. 3 Florida State, No. 4 Ohio State and No. 5 Baylor in the final rankings. Despite his team's exclusion from the national semifinals, TCU head coach Gary Patterson doesn't expect a letdown.
"I don't think it will linger at all," Patterson said. "Ole Miss has been ranked as high as third in the national standings. So, for us, we know we're playing a very good football team. We want to prove that we were a team that should have been in the playoffs, and the Peach Bowl and playing Ole Miss is exactly the game we should be in."
- Freeze has become the only coach in school history to guide Ole Miss to bowl berths in each of his first three seasons.
- Ole Miss will put its 23-12 bowl record (.657 winning percentage), the second-best in the nation, and a six-game bowl win streak, tied with Florida State for the longest in the nation, on the line against TCU.
- The matchup presents the No. 1 scoring defense (Ole Miss) against the nation's No. 2 scoring offense (TCU), which as both coaches noted on the media teleconference is kind of ironic, given Freeze's background as offensive coach and Patterson's background as a defensive coach.
"He's the defensive guru that I have wanted to learn from," said Freeze of Patterson.
- As Chase Parham of RebelGrove/Rivals.com noted on Twitter, Bo Wallace has a chance to the be the first Ole Miss quarterback in school history to start and win three bowl games, having earned MVP honors in bowl wins over Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech the last two years.
- The Rebels' return to Atlanta is another homecoming of sorts for nine players from the Atlanta area, headlined by Evan Engram, one of the nation's best tight ends, Mike Hilton, the Rebels' leading tackler and Robert Nkmediche, a Lombardi Award semifinalist.
- Ole Miss has traveled well for bowl games in recent years, and within hours, discounted Ole Miss student tickets for the Chick-fil-A Bowl sold out. More ticket info here.
"We were really excited to find out about the announcement of both TCU and Ole Miss because both teams are renowned for their passionate fan bases, and so we believe we'll be in for our 18th straight sellout with both fan bases flocking to Atlanta to support two of the top-10 teams in the country," said Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl president and CEO.
- Be sure to visit and bookmark Ole Miss Bowl Central and Chick-fil-A Bowl Central and stay tuned to @OleMissFB and @CFAPeachBowl for all things Chick-fil-A Bowl related.
- Men's basketball head coach Andy Kennedy notched perhaps the best non-conference win of his nine-year tenure, as Ole Miss defeated Oregon 79-73 in Eugene on Sunday afternoon. Stefan Moody led the Rebels with 22 points, including this first-half buzzer beater.
- Through eight games, Ole Miss has three quality non-conference wins, all away from home (vs. Creighton, vs. Cincinnati, at Oregon), while both of its losses came at home against Charleston Southern and TCU.
- Similar to Kennedy who sent a message to his team a couple of weeks ago, women's basketball head coach Matt Insell said his team has to get their effort back right and their toughness has to get better, having lost back-to-back games for the first time this season.
"We have to go back to the drawing board this week and figure out some things," Insell said. "I'm going to break down film and figure out what we can fix as a basketball team and why we're not playing as well as we played over Thanksgiving break and how we can start getting back to playing better before we head into SEC play."
- It's final exam week on the Ole Miss campus, so check out this creative hype video from Ole Miss Sports Productions.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Nov. 24-30, 2014
- No. 18 Ole Miss won the annual "Egg Bowl" rivalry 31-17 over No. 4 Mississippi State in front of another sold-out crowd at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Saturday afternoon.
- The Rebels finish the regular season with nine wins for the first time since 2003.
- This was the third win over a ranked opponent in 2014, the most in the regular season since 1969.
- Already without Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss lost fellow wideout Vince Sanders in the second quarter, and a banged-up Bo Wallace behind a banged-up offensive line posted 532 total yards (2nd-most in SEC play this year) and 205 rushing yards (most in SEC play this year).
- Jaylen Walton rushed for a career-high 148 yards, including a highlight-reel 91-yard touchdown, and Evan Engram helped fill the void in the receiving corps with a career-high 176 receiving yards (fourth-most in a game in Ole Miss history) on five catches.
- The Rebel defense held Mississippi State to a season low-tying 17 points and racked up nine tackles for loss and three sacks, the most the Bulldogs have allowed this season.
- Ole Miss finished the regular season with the nation's No. 1 scoring defense, allowing just 13.8 points per outing.
- Ole Miss completed a prefect 2-0 week to capture the inaugural Emerald Coast Classic championship Saturday with a 66-64 win over Cincinnati.
- Junior guard Stefan Moody scored a career-high 26 points, including 17 in the second half, as Ole Miss handed Cincinnati its first loss of the season. The Rebels held the Bearcats to just 30.4 percent shooting from the floor including an almost 10-minute stretch with a field goal in the second half.
- Ole Miss advanced to the championship game with a 75-68 win over No. 23 Creighton in the semifinals. It marked the Rebels' first win over a ranked for since taking down No. 18 Wisconsin the in second round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Senior Jarvis Summers led Ole Miss with 23 points, while senior LaDarius White added 18, including 16 in the second half.
- White is averaging 13.0 ppg during the last five games, all wins for the Rebels, and is shooting 58.9 percent from the field.
- The Ole Miss women's basketball team picked up its first in-season tournament victory since 2011-12 and the first of the Matt Insell era by winning the 2014 Nugget Classic Championship. Ole Miss defeated Utah, 52-38, in opening round action and clinched the championship with a 77-65 win over Nevada.
- Ole Miss' win over Utah marked the first victory for the women's basketball team over a Power Five non-conference foe since defeating Illinois during the 2009-10 season -- that victory also came at an in-season tournament.
-Toree Thompson had a career-night against Utah, scoring a career-high 23 points against Utah and following that up with 15 points and going 8-of-8 from the free-throw line against Nevada. Her efforts earned her MVP of the 2014 Nugget Classic. She was joined by teammate Tia Faleru who was named to the All-Tournament team.
-The wins were Ole Miss' first road/neutral-site wins of the 2014-15 season. Prior to the Nugget Classic, Ole Miss' last non-conference road win was at South Alabama on Dec. 16, 2013. The Rebels did defeat Arkansas in a neutral-site game at the SEC Tournament last season.
- Ole Miss finished the first season under head coach Steven McRoberts with a 22-10 overall record, 8-10 in the SEC
- The Rebels posted the best start in school history (14-0), the most wins since the 2007 season and the most SEC wins since the 2010 season
- The Rebels finished 12-4 at home to equal the most home wins in school history. In the 3-0 win over Georgia, the Rebels posted a school-record .432 attack percentage and ended the year with a school-record .254 percentage.
- Junior middle blocker Nakeyta Clair was named to the All-SEC Team, becoming the first Rebel to earn the honor since former All-American Regina Thomas in 2011. Clair set the single-season record for kills with 366 and moved into eighth on the career list with 818. She finished the year third in the SEC in hitting percentage at .405, which ranks second all-time in a season at Ole Miss.
- Sophomore setter Aubrey Edie ended the year third in the SEC in assists with 11.30 per set. She set the single-season record at Ole Miss with 1,322 assists and moved into third all-time with 2,271. Her career-high 62 assists in a win at Mississippi State set the single-match record.
- Sophomore Melanie Crow set the single-season record for aces with 42, including a career-high 5 in wins over Alabama and Georgia. In addition, Crow finished second in a season in kills (352) behind Clair's single-season record of 366.
- Freshman Lexi Thompson shined for the Rebels, posting 323 kills, which ranks as the fourth most in a single season and the most by a freshman in school history.
Ole Miss collected a lot of hardware over the weekend, as the football team reclaimed the Egg Bowl trophy and the men's and women's basketball returned home with regular-season tournament championship. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:
- In the face of adversity, the Ole Miss football team turned in a complete performance, highlighted by an explosive offense and suffocating defense, in a 31-17 win over No. 4 Mississippi State to cap a 9-3 regular season. Check out what everyone was saying about the Rebels' Egg Bowl win.
"I kind of look at the big picture, and I know there are people in this program who probably disagree and that's OK," head coach Freeze said. "They're entitled to that. "To be sitting here 9-3, to have beaten the No. 1 team in the nation and the No. 4 team in the nation. We lost some very difficult games in conference on the road. We have come miles and miles in three short years. Anytime you end the season with nine wins and the Egg Bowl in your possession, that's a dang good year."
-Hugh Freeze called a great game, maybe his best as the head coach at Ole Miss, getting the ball to the team's playmakers with opportunities to make big plays, as the Rebels averaged 8.6 yards per play, including seven plays that gained 30 or more yards, on the way to 532 yards of total offense.
"It was a combination of having the right play called at the right time, so part of it was the scheme," Freeze said. "The plan was good, and then the kids executed it," Freeze said.
- One of those explosive plays was a 91-yard highlight-reel touchdown run by Jaylen Walton that not only proved to be the game-winning score, but also earned the No. 3 spot on SportsCenter's top 10 plays Saturday night.
- Bo Wallace cemented his legacy, throwing for nearly 300 yards and adding a touchdown run, all on a sprained ankle. Already the school's all-time leader in total offense, Wallace became the first Ole Miss quarterback to defeat two top-five teams since Archie Manning in 1969 and became the first quarterback to lead Ole Miss to nine regular-season wins since Eli Manning in 2003.
- Defensively, Ole Miss held Mississippi State to a season-low tying 17 points and 445 yards of total offense, nearly 67 yards below its season average. The Rebels racked up nine tackles for loss and three sacks and held Dak Prescott to 48 yards on 24 carries.
"They're pretty good," said Freeze of Mississippi State. "They're going to get some yards. They have all year. At the same time, I'm not surprised. We are the No. 1 team in the country in scoring defense. We've been stingy with giving up points in the red zone. It was great to see, but I'm not really surprised."
- Speaking of, Ole Miss finished the regular season ranked No. 1 nationally in scoring defense (13.8), more than two points fewer than No. 2 Stanford (16.0) and gave up a nation-low 18 touchdowns, three fewer than UCF and Alabama (21).
- The home team continued its dominance in recent years, with the home team winning every meeting since 1999 except for 2003 in Starkville and 2010 in Oxford.
- On a related note, it was not quite the same as King Kobraz's "Feed Moncrief" two years ago, but Rebel Nation, particularly its students, have adopted Lil Jon's "Missisisppi Throw It Up (Remix)" and "Outta Your Mind" as their own this year, and it made for a great home field advantage.
- Ole Miss may not be a contender for the four-team playoff, but they may be a contender for a berth in a "New Year's Six" bowl, which this year includes the Fiesta, Cotton, Peach and Orange Bowls. CBS Sports' Jerry Palm projects Ole Miss to the Gator Bowl and play Iowa.
- The men's basketball team picked up two key wins, knocking off No. 23 Creighton, its first win over a ranked team since the 2013 NCAA Tournament, and Cincinnati to claim the Emerald Coast Classic Championship. The Rebels continued their strong start defensively, holding the Bearcats to a season-low 30.4 percent from the floor in a 66-54 win in the championship.
"We've posted two quality wins against teams (Creighton, Cincinnati) that are going to have good seasons," head coach Andy Kennedy told the AP. "We played just as hard tonight like we did against Creighton, but not as well. Still, this was a good win for our program to beat a team of this caliber."
- Stefan Moody turned in his best game in an Ole Miss uniform, scoring a career-high 26 points against Cincinnati to earn tournament MVP honors. If he keeps it up, he's going to be fun to watch.
"I've been telling people that he has explosive scoring ability," Kennedy said. "He carried the load for us. Good teams have good options. Tonight it was Stefan."
- The women's basketball team improved to 6-1, defeating Utah and Nevada to claim the Nugget Classic. After a road game at Western Kentucky on Thursday night, the Rebels return home for a much-anticipated matchup with No. 13 Baylor on Sunday afternoon. In case you forgot, Ole Miss played then-No. 9 Baylor to an 87-80 loss in Waco last year.
- The volleyball team made a strong final push under first-year head coach Steven McRoberts, defeating Alabama and Georgia to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive entering their regular-season finale against Texas A&M. The Rebels led 2-1 after taking the second and third sets, but the Aggies rallied to win sets four and five to take the match 3-2.
"It's tough to end it with a gut-wrenching loss," McRoberts said. "I'm thankful for this first year, that we've laid a solid foundation moving forward. Hopefully, our team is willing to put in the effort to get over that hump, so that we're celebrating at this point next year instead of being done at Thanksgiving."
- Former Ole Miss wide receiver Donte Moncrief capped the weekend with another big game, hauling in three catches for a career-high 134 yards, including touchdowns of 48 and 79 yards, his second and third career touchdowns. He and teammates T.Y. Hilton also threw up the Landshark, as they planned to do, and received the game ball after the game.
- To close, let me congratulate Metz Camfield, who has also been a part of this weekly feature, whose last day with Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations was Saturday. Starting next week, he will be the editor of CoachCal.com, so follow him over there and @MetzCamfield.
It's that busy time of the year with the Ole Miss football, volleyball, men's and women's basketball teams all in action. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was in Ole Miss sports:
- A slow start (17-0 first-quarter deficit), a stalled running game (33 carries for 37 yards) and six turnovers (two in the red zone) all had a hand in a 30-0 loss at Arkansas, ending the Rebels' SEC West title hopes. There's not much else to say.
"I told our kids in locker room," Freeze said, '"I don't like the way we finished year two and I don't like the way we played tonight.'
- It's clear Ole Miss misses Laquon Treadwell, not just his production, but also his leadership and playmaking abilities. Playing without the sophomore star for the first time in SEC play, Ole Miss was shut out for the first time this season. The Rebels managed just three plays of 20 or more yards, and their active leading receiver, Vince Sanders, was held without a catch in the contest.
- Give the defense credit for keeping as close as they did for as long as they did. Facing a short field for much of the game, the Ole Miss defense allowed just one touchdown in five trips to the red zone for Arkansas. The Razorbacks started on average from their own 43-yard line and they had scoring drives of 52, 24, 49, 41, 0 and 0 yards, respectively.
- Ole Miss also found itself on the wrong side of history, as Arkansas became the first unranked team to ever shut out two ranked opponents in back-to-back games.
- With Arkansas becoming bowl eligible, an entire division will advance to the postseason for the first time in Southeastern Conference history. What's more impressive, the SEC West is a combined a 38-3 against non-SEC West opponents, including a combined 28-0 against non-conference opponents.
- For the second straight season, both SEC divisions will be determined on the final weekend. Alabama and Missouri each control their destiny, while Georgia needs an Arkansas win over Missouri, and Mississippi State needs a win over Ole Miss and an Auburn win over Alabama. Ole Miss, like Arkansas and Auburn, will play a spoiler role, looking to eliminate Mississippi State from SEC West title contention.
"If you can't get up for that one, you probably don't need to be playing," linebacker Deterrian Shackelford said. "It's everything, it's the Egg Bowl. And for the seniors, it's Senior Day. If I have to motivate people for next week, they probably shouldn't be playing."
- Ole Miss volleyball's Nakeyta Clair set the school single-season kills record in the rally scoring era, putting down nine kills in a four-set loss to No. 6 Florida this past Friday. The Rebels bounced back with a five-set win over Alabama on Sunday, the second match in a four-match homestand to close out the regular season. Ole Miss will host Texas A&M on Friday for Senior Day, where the Rebels will honor the senior trio Marie-Pierre Bakima, Cara Fisher and Rachael Weathersby.
- Father, Rick, and Middle Tennessee State got the best of son, Matt, and Ole Miss, in the first-ever meeting between father and son head coach in NCAA Division I women's basketball history. The result was not what Matt and the Rebels wanted, but the matchup provided a tough test for a young team learning every game and created some buzz and excitement surrounding the program.
- Here's a nice story on Rick and Matt Insell from Will Borthick from the Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Check it out.
- The Ole Miss men's basketball team rebounded nicely from a heartbreaking overtime loss to Charleston Southern, rattling off three straight wins over Troy, Southern and Northern Arizona, going into this weekend's game in Niceville, Florida. The Rebels will face Creighton and then either Cincinnati or Middle Tennessee State. The Blue Jays, which return one starter from last year's 27-8 team, is off to a 4-0 start, including a win over No. 18 Oklahoma.
- Head coach Andy Kennedy said he has been surprised by how much he has learned a lot about his team, one that includes five newcomers, and he spoke very honestly about what he has learned through four games: "We're not as tough physically as I would have hoped," said Kennedy after an 80-74 win over Northern Arizona. "We make excuses. I didn't know this group would do that. I know some of it is a defense mechanism. I get that. I have done this a long time. Sometimes, that's the easy way out. It's the default mode. I get it, but we have to get tougher. We have to play to our abilities. I don't think we have played to our ability yet."
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Nov. 10-16, 2014
- The Ole Miss women's basketball team opened up the 2014-15 season with two wins over the weekend. The Rebels took down Grambling 92-67 in the season opener on Friday and followed that up with a 91-38 win over Mississippi Valley State on Sunday. Ole Miss is 2-0 for the first time under Insell and the first time since it opened 5-0 in 2012-13.
- Tia Faleru became Ole Miss' 26th 1,000-point scorer with 19 points in the victory over Mississippi Valley. She is the first 1,000-point scorer since Valencia McFarland hit the mark as a junior in 2012-13. Faleru is sitting at 1,001 career points.
- Ole Miss had 5,696 fans on hand to see it open the season at its annual School Kids game on Friday. The 5,696 fans were the second most to see an Ole Miss women's basketball game and just 175 fans shy of the largest crowd ever to see an Ole Miss women's basketball game.
- For the first time in Ole Miss cross country history, the Rebels claimed the South Region Championship to earn a berth in the NCAA Championship. The Rebels' 54 points was 42 points better than runner-up No. 21 Florida State in a decisive victory.
- Junior Wesley Gallagher (30:18.60) led the South champions in the 10K event, good for third overall. Freshman Sean Tobin (30:19.30) and sophomore Robert Domanic (30:20.00) finished right on his heels in fourth and fifth, respectively.
- Sophomore Trevor Gilley (30:58.30) clocked the 19th overall time, and freshman Taylor Caldwell (31:02.00) finished 24th overall to round out the Rebels' five scoring times. Mark Robertson's (31:14.50) 29th finish, while not scoring for Ole Miss, was better than every other team's fourth-place finisher.
- Gallagher, Tobin, Domanic, Gilley and Caldwell all earned All-Region honors. Last season, Domanic was the only All-Region selection for the Rebels.
- The three top-five finishers match the previous program total of top-five regional finishes all-time. Barnabas Kirui finished first in 2006 and second in 2009, and Bernard Kuria was fourth in 1997.
- The Rebels surged to first in the region after finishing ninth last year. The Rebels had finished no better than seventh since 2005 at regionals.
- The Ole Miss women finished 13th out of 29 teams at the regional, led by Margaret Harkness at 55th overall. The finish concludes the season for the young squad.
- Ole Miss dropped its season opener 66-65 in overtime to Charleston Southern on Friday.
- It marked the first loss in a season opener for the Rebels under Andy Kennedy and the first since 2003.
- Junior Martavious Newby led the Rebels with 14 points, one off his career high, on 4-of-5 shooting from the field including a couple of 3-pointers.
- Ole Miss dropped a pair of matches this past weekend, falling to No. 15 Kentucky 3-1 at home, and then losing at Missouri 3-2. The Rebels won the first set in both matches. Against Missouri, the Rebels led 2-1 and it was tied 24-24 in the fourth set before the Tigers won three of the final four points to extend it to a fifth set.
- The Rebels are now 2-2 in five-setters this year.
- Freshman Lexi Thompson led the Rebels against Kentucky with 21 kills.
- At Missouri, junior Ty Laporte recorded a career-high 23 kills, while senior Marie-Pierre Bakima notched a career-best 23 digs.
- Junior middle blocker Nakeyta Clair needs just seven kills this coming weekend to set the Ole Miss single season record in the rally scoring era.
The Ole Miss football team was off, but it was a busy week in Ole Miss athletics nevertheless, as the men's and women's basketball teams opened their respective seasons. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:
- The Ole Miss football team did not play Saturday, but the Rebels got the help they needed to remain in the Southeastern Conference Western Division race, as Alabama defeated Mississippi State and then Georgia defeated Auburn. To win the SEC West, Ole Miss still has to win on the road at Arkansas and at home against Mississippi State, and then Auburn must defeat Alabama on Nov. 29.
- On the other side, in the SEC Eastern Division, Missouri controls its own destiny at 8-2 overall and 5-1 in SEC play, with games remaining on the road at Tennessee and at home against Arkansas. If Missouri falters, Georgia would win the SEC East title at 6-2 in the SEC.
- Speaking of Arkansas, the Razorbacks were going to beat somebody, and they finally did it by shutting out LSU 17-0 to snap their 17-game losing streak. Stat of the game: Arkansas held LSU to just 123 yards of total offense.
- Bruce Feldman wrote about Body Blow theory last year, as it related to Stanford football. The same theory can perhaps be applied to this week's Ole Miss-Arkansas matchup. SEC teams are just 1-4 in games the week after playing LSU with the lone exception being Alabama's 25-20 win over Mississippi State.
- If Ole Miss defeats Arkansas and Mississippi State defeats Vanderbilt, Nov. 29 sets up for another memorable day in the SEC Western Division. Ole Miss and Mississippi State would both remain in the SEC Western Division race, while Alabama would control its own destiny and Auburn would look to play spoiler.
- Ole Miss moved up two spots to No. 8 in the Associated Press and coaches polls by virtue of losses by Arizona State and Auburn. The Rebels are the highest-ranked two-loss team in the country
- The men's basketball team dropped an overtime heartbreaker to Charleston Southern in its season opener. Ole Miss went 19-of-63 from the field and 6-of-30 from 3-point range, but it was unable to overcome a 54-50 rebounding deficiency, as the Buccaneers won the game 65-64 on a tip-in dunk with 0.1 seconds left in overtime.
"I have been doing this for 10 years, and I have never had one like this," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "You have to do your best to learn from it. It's easier said than done. It's going to hurt. You want it to hurt. They were stunned in there. They should be."
- One of the bright spots was the play of junior guard Martavious Newby, who led the team with 14 points and seven rebounds. He's a stabilizing force and calming influence, providing a toughness that Kennedy said he hopes can become more contagious and spread throughout the team.
- The women's basketball team is off to a 2-0 start with wins over Grambling State and Mississippi Valley State. Ole Miss suffocated MVSU, as they held the Lady Devilettes to just 38 points and forced 46 turnovers, turning them into 51 points off turnovers.
"I have coached teams that have forced that number of turnovers," head coach Matt Insell said. "That's a number we look at. We can gauge our hustle on how many turnovers we force and how many deflections we get. Sometimes you may not turn a team over a lot, but you get a lot of deflections. That's just as good as a turnover. We really gauge a lot of what we're doing on turnovers, deflections and steals. If those numbers are high, we played pretty darned good defensively."
- Newcomers make up six of the top seven scorers, with five of them already finishing in double figures this season. Leading the way, however, is senior forward Tia Faleru averaging 21 points and 12.5 rebounds through two games. She also became the 26th 1,000-point scorer in program history.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Nov. 3-9, 2014
- Ole Miss took a break from the rugged Southeastern Conference and earned a 48-0 shutout win over Presbyterian on Saturday.
- It was the Rebels' first shutout since beating Tulane 39-0 in 2012.
- The Rebels matched last year's win total of eight. They are 8-2 for the first time since 2003.
- Ole Miss dominated every facet of the game, out-gaining the Blue Hose in total yards (640-156), rushing yards (402-89), passing yards (238-67) and first downs (22-10).
- He only played the first half, but senior quarterback Bo Wallace accounted for three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) and inched closer to Eli Manning's school record for career total yards. Wallace now needs only 111 yards to eclipse Manning and move into the top 10 in the all-time SEC record book.
- Backup running backs Jordan Wilkins (171 yards, one touchdown) and Mark Dodson (128 yards, two touchdowns) both had career-best days. Combined, they had four runs of 50+ yards.
- The Rebel defense did not allow Presbyterian to reach the red zone all day and racked up a season high-tying 12 tackles for loss.
- Ole Miss went on a 30-4 run over a 9:57 stretch in the first half, turning a 14-11 deficit into a 41-18 lead on the way to a resounding 97-58 win in its lone exhibition game of the 2014-15 season.
- Senior Jarvis Summers lead the team in scoring with 16 points, while a trio of newcomers in Stefan Moody (14 points), Roderick Lawrence (14 points) and Terence Smith (10 points) all posted double figures. Sophomore forward Sebastian Saiz led all players with 14 rebounds.
- The Ole Miss women's basketball team cruised to a 111-43 exhibition win over Christian Brothers University on Friday.
- Freshman Toree Thompson led the way with 25 points and nine assists while Kelsey Briggs, Tia Faleru and Bretta Hart combined for 22 rebounds in the win.
- Each of Ole Miss' six freshmen scored in the contest and each of the 13 players who played earned a spot on the stat sheet.
- Ole Miss went 1-1 last week, defeating Mississippi State 3-1 and losing to Texas A&M 3-1, both on the road.
With the win at Mississippi State, the Rebels have reached 20 wins for
the first time since the 2007 season, when they finished 25-8. The
Rebels swept the season series with MSU and have now won four straight
and six of the last seven meetings.
- Head coach Steven McRoberts now has 16 20-win seasons in 18 years as a head coach.
Junior Nakeyta Clair hit .492 on the week, averaging 4.38 kills per
set. She has now hit above .300 in 21 of 26 matches, including 14 above
.400. With five blocks on the week, Clair became the second player in
school history in the rally scoring era to reach 300 career blocks.
Sophomore setter Aubrey Edie recorded a career-high 62 assists against
Mississippi State to set the single match record in the rally scoring
era and then set the single season record Sunday at Texas A&M with
53 assists. She now has 1,037 assists to date this year and needs 14 to
notch 2,000 for her career.
- Freshman Lexi Thompson posted
back-to-back double-doubles and now has seven for the season. She
averaged 3.38 kills and 4.38 digs per set for the week.
- Senior Julia Jones competed in the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships and went 2-2 , including defeating the No. 50 ranked player in the nation and the No. 1 ranked player in Division II.
- Jones finished the fall with a 10-3 record including the USTA/ITA Southern Regional Singles title.
- Men's Tennis wrapped up the fall last week at the USTA Futures in Birmingham and at the Commodore Classic in Nashville.
- Four players reached the final round of qualifying at the USTA Futures, while Stefan Lindmark and Gustav Hansson qualified for the main draw, with Lindmark advancing to the second round.
- At the Commodore Classic, the Rebels earned 16 wins in singles and doubles.
- Senior Blake Morris fired an impressive, career-low, single round 7-under 65 to lead the Ole Miss men's golf team on the final day of the Warrior Princeville Makai Invitational.
- Morris carded seven birdies, including four in a six-hole stretch, en route to a season-high seventh-place finish, posting a three-round score of 13-under, 203.
- As a team, the Rebels finished in fourth with a three-round score of 31-under, 833, tying their season-best finish as a team.
- After posting a career-low single round score in the second round, sophomore Noah West carded a career-low tournament score of 8-under, 208, and tied for 15th-place.
- Ole Miss women's golf concluded its fall slate at the Jim West Challenge.
- The Rebels placed 10th with a score of 928. Alison Hovatter and Stani Schiavone led the Ole Miss contingent, finishing 22nd with 54-hole scores of 230.
- Ole Miss played one of its better rounds this fall in the final round with a 305, which is the sixth best round for the Rebels during the fall.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Oct. 27-Nov. 2, 2014
- No. 4 Ole Miss lost a heartbreaker to No. 3 Auburn on Saturday night, 35-31.
- In addition to losing the game, the Rebels lost star receiver Laquon Treadwell on what looked to be the go-ahead touchdown with less than two minutes left, but ended up being a fumble, turnover and season-ending broken leg for Treadwell.
- Bo Wallace continued his strong play in SEC games with three more total touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) for nearly 400 total yards, and no interceptions.
- Senquez Golson had an interception for the fifth straight game and is up to nine picks on the year, which leads the SEC and ranks second nationally.
- Three Rebels had 100+ receiving yards (Evan Engram 123, Vince Sanders 105, Laquon Treadwell 103) for the first time in the Hugh Freeze era.
- In their only match of the week, Ole Miss shut out South Carolina 3-0 Sunday at the Gillom Sports Center to improve to 19-5 overall and 5-5 in the SEC. With the win, the Rebels snapped a two-match losing streak and improved to 10-1 at home.
- The win avenged an earlier loss this season to the Gamecocks in Columbia, South Carolina.
- The Rebels have posted the most wins since the 2010 season, when they finished 19-11.
- Ole Miss earned its first win of the season when hitting below .200 thanks to a strong defensive effort of 52 digs, including three players in double digits.
- Junior Nakeyta Clair recorded three blocks to bring her career total to 299. She needs just one more to become the second player in school history to record 300 in a career in the rally scoring era.
- The Ole Miss men's cross country team raced to a runner-up finish at the SEC Championships on Friday, tying the 1968 second-place result as the best in program history. The Rebels finished just six points behind SEC Champion Arkansas.
- Junior Wesley Gallagher finished third overall in the 8K (24:21.28) to lead the Rebels.
- Gallagher is the third Rebel in program history to earn a top-three finish at an SEC Championship and the first since Barnabas Kirui won the SEC title in 2010.
- Freshman Sean Tobin (24:37.91) and sophomore Robert Domanic (24:38.50) clocked in at sixth and seventh, respectively, to propel Ole Miss to the historic finish.
- The Rebels placed six runners in the top 29. Freshman Taylor Caldwell (25:02.17) finished 19th, freshman Mark Robertson (25:11.41) placed 25th and sophomore Trevor Gilley (25:20.63) was 29th.
- Gallagher, Tobin and Domanic earned All-SEC first team honors by placing among the top seven finishers. Three All-SEC selections are the most in program history. Tobin's time was the fastest for any freshman on Friday, earning him All-Freshman team honors. Caldwell and Robertson joined him on the All-Freshman team, marking the most Rebels on the All-Freshman team in program history, as well.
- The women's cross country team battled injuries and finished 12th at the SEC Championship. Senior Margaret Harkness led the way at 54th overall with a time of 21:32.18. Freshman Shelby Brown finished right behind her at 55th with a time of 21:32.95. The Rebels raced a young team consisting of six freshmen, two sophomores and a senior.
- Ole Miss closed out the 2014 soccer season Thursday night with an overall record of 8-6-5. The Rebels finished the year with a 3-2, double overtime loss against the Tennessee Volunteers.
- Senior goalkeeper Kelly McCormick finished her career atop the all-time records list at Ole Miss in wins (42), saves (297), shutouts (22) and minutes in goal (6,839).
- Head coach Matt Mott passed the 50-win mark this season, as he has averaged 10 wins a season in his first five years at Ole Miss.
- The Rebels competed in the Roberta Allison Fall Classic this past weekend and picked up some more big wins, with two players advancing to the final of their respective draws and two doubles teams reaching the semifinals.
- Senior Erin Stephens knocked off the No. 21 ranked player in the nation, Ronit Yurovsky of Michigan, in straight sets, and freshman Arianne Hartono defeated 42nd-ranked Georgina Petrasc of Mississippi State in straight sets.
- Five members of the men's tennis team were in Birmingham, Alabama, competing in the Players' Choice Open at the Highland Tennis Center. Four players advanced to the final round of qualifying, while junior Stefan Lindmark and freshman Gustav Hansson advanced to the main draw with straight set wins Monday. They will begin play in the main draw Tuesday.
- Ole Miss women's golf opened its final tournament of the season Sunday at the Jim West Challenge in Bourne, Texas.
- After the opening round, Ole Miss was sitting in ninth with a score of 314, and three players tied for 30th with a score of 6-over-par, 78.
In this week's edition of Observations from the Best Seat in the House, Metz Camfield and I teamed up to give you our thoughts and opinions of the week that was in Ole Miss athletics. There's a lot on our minds, so let's get into it:
Metz Camfield - First of all, everyone in Rebel Nation and beyond is thinking about Laquon Treadwell and hoping for a speedy and full recovery. He's a remarkable talent, but the way he carries himself both in games and out of games is also something to admire and makes him an easy guy to root for. The injury occurred because Treadwell was working so hard, dragging a defender and doing everything he could to get into the end zone, all qualities that Ole Miss fans admire about him, and opposing fans respect about him.
Austin Miller - We all wish Laquon Traadwell a speedy and full recovery. The talented sophomore underwent surgery late Saturday night to repair a fractured fibula and dislocated ankle. He posted this message on his Instagram account Sunday morning:
"Not everything in life is set out to be easy, & not every plan we have for ourselves work out in our favor. Even the greatest & most powerful people we praise or look up to have huge downfalls, but it takes a strong person & an even stronger mindset to prepare for that major come back. It didn't kill me, so watch as I become stronger. Thanks for the prayers everyone, God bless."
Bo Wallace also posted a message on his Instagram account Sunday afternoon in support of his injured teammate:
"Played my last down with one of the best to ever put on an Ole Miss uniform and one of the best leaders I have been around. It was a great ride @successfulquon the best is yet to come for you!"
MC - While you can never "replace" a talent like Treadwell, the Rebels have a very talented receiving corps, including senior Vince Sanders and sophomore tight end Evan Engram, who each topped the 100-yard mark against Auburn. Sanders, Engram, Quincy Adeboyejo, et al will have to step up for the final three games of the regular season in order to fill the void caused by Treadwell's absence. They are capable of doing that.
AM - A lot has been said and written about Treadwell's injury and the impact going forward. Here's an all-encompassing look from the Clarion-Ledger's Hugh Kellenberger.
MC - Bo Wallace once again showed his resolve Saturday night by bouncing back from the LSU game in a big way. Wallace threw for 341 yards and two touchdowns, completed 70 percent of his passes (that percentage could have been higher if not for some desperation throws on the final drive), and also ran for a team-high 61 yards and one touchdown.
AM - Bo Wallace might not have had his winning moment Saturday, but he bounced back from one of the worst games of his career with one of the best games of his career to give his team a chance, as he has done time and time again during his Ole Miss career.
"He played well," co-offensive coordinator Dan Werner said. "Guys made plays for him. I haven't seen the stats but I feel like he threw the ball pretty well. He played well enough to win, but he just didn't get the breaks."
AM - It may have gone largely unnoticed, but Ben Still deserves a lot of credit for playing through a sprained MCL in his knee. When starting left tackle Laremy Tunsil was unable to go due to a bicep and shoulder injury, Fahn Cooper moved from right tackle to left tackle, Robert Conyers moved from center to right tackle, and Still stepped into the center spot.
"Man, he just gutted it out," head coach Hugh Freeze said. "He'll be so sore. He'll be hurting the rest of the week for sure, and I'm just proud of him. I told him that at halftime. I'm just crazy proud of him."
MC - There's no use in getting upset about the injuries Ole Miss has endured in the past two weeks. Being upset about the injuries won't cause the student-athletes to get healthy faster, they'll simply cloud your ability to fully enjoy the ones who are healthy and the season that remains. Injuries are a part of sports, especially one as physical as football.
Engram, who suffered a season-ending injury last year as a freshman, said it well after the game yesterday: "It's part of the game, and it stinks to see how much work we put in. Especially guys like Laquon (Treadwell) and Denzel (Nkemdiche), but we love each other and will fight for each other the rest of the season. In one play it could be gone. Last year I experienced that and now guys will have to step up."
AM - With the loss to Auburn, Ole Miss lost control of its destiny to the SEC Western Division title and the College Football Playoff. It's a long shot at this point, but there's a path. It starts with winning out against Presbyterian, Arkansas and Mississippi State and then getting a lot of help.
At No. 12 in the latest AP poll and No. 13 in the latest coaches poll, Ole Miss is the highest-ranked two-loss team. The Rebels debuted at No. 4 in the first College Football Playoff rankings, and it will be interesting to see how far they drop in the second edition of the rankings Tuesday.
"When you watch the game, if they're really watching games, we can't drop far," Wallace said. "We lost a game by that much. I just watched the replay of Laquon (Treadwell). We lost it by that much. I don't see how far they can drop us. Our season is still alive, we feel like. We'll find out Tuesday how far we fall, but we're going to keep fighting, and crazy things can happen."
AM - To that point, CBS Sports bracketology/bowls expert Jerry Palm projects Ole Miss to play in the Peach Bowl, one of the new selection committee bowl games, against Marshall. There's still a lot to play for, as the Rebels close out the regular season.
AM - The ending to the game likely evoked two painful memories for Ole Miss fans: Billy Cannon's 1959 Halloween night punt return and Eli Manning tripping over his lineman's foot on a fourth down against LSU in 2003.
The Rebels went on to win a share of the national title in 1959, 1960 and 1962, while 2003 seemed to mark the end of an era. Parity reigns today, and runs like those of John Vaught's don't happen in modern college football, but like those teams, Ole Miss is back on the national football map, and there's hope and optimism surrounding a new normal for the football program.
AM - The football team was not alone in heartbreak this weekend. Needing only a draw against Tennessee to secure its place in the SEC Tournament, the Ole Miss soccer team conceded a golden goal with less than three minutes left in the second overtime and was eliminated from contention as the Lady Vols advanced in the final spot.
AM - The Ole Miss volleyball team avenged an earlier 3-2 loss to South Carolina, as the Rebels shut out the Gamecocks 3-0. With the win, Ole Miss improved to 19-5 overall and moved into sole possession of sixth place in the SEC standings.
AM - This time, a week from now, we'll have observations on the men's and women's basketball teams from a preseason press conference Tuesday and an exhibition doubleheader Friday. So stayed tuned for those.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Oct. 20-26, 2014
- Ole Miss took its first loss of the season with a 10-7 defeat to No. 23 LSU in Baton Rouge.
- The Rebels held LSU to 10 points and created four turnovers (two fumbles, two interceptions).
- The Rebels have forced multiple turnovers in seven of eight games this year and have forced at least one turnover in 31 straight games, which leads the nation.
- Cornerbacks Senquez Golson and Mike Hilton both had interceptions, increasing Ole Miss' national lead to 17.
- This was the latest in the year that Ole Miss suffered its first loss since the 1963 season.
- The LSU crowd of 102,321 marked the second straight Rebel road game in which the opponent set a school record for attendance. At Texas A&M, it was even a Southeastern Conference record and state of Texas football record.
- Ole Miss picked up four crucial points in the SEC standings over the weekend with a draw against No. 21 Missouri and a 2-1 win at Vanderbilt.
- Junior midfielder Jessica Hiskey scored a pair of goals on the week, including the game-winner at Vanderbilt on Sunday. She has two game winners in three matches against the Commodores and also added an assist on the Rebels' other goal Sunday.
- The Rebels seek to clinch a berth in the SEC Tournament for the third straight season and make a push for the NCAA Tournament against Tennessee on Thursday night at 7 p.m.
- Ole Miss will honor its lone senior Thursday night when it recognizes goalkeeper Kelly McCormick prior to the start of the match against the Lady Vols.
- Ole Miss lost a pair of matches last week, suffering its first home loss of the season, 3-0 to LSU on Wednesday and then falling to Tennessee on the road Sunday.
- It's the team's first two-match losing streak since the opening weekend of SEC play.
- Ole Miss is 16-0 overall and 4-0 in the SEC when hitting above .200, but just 2-5 and 0-5 in league play when hitting under .200.
- Despite hitting well under her average last week, junior middle blocker Nakyeta Clair still ranks second in the SEC in hitting percentage at .411.
- With 82 total blocks so far this year, Clair has moved into second all-time on the Ole Miss charts in the rally scoring era with 296.
- The Rebels hosted the Ole Miss Invitational this past weekend, welcoming in Georgia, Texas Tech and Vanderbilt.
- The Rebels posted 13 total wins in singles and doubles on the weekend.
- Senior Julia Jones went 2-1 in singles, including knocking off the No. 6 ranked player in the nation from Georgia. With two more wins, Jones improved to 8-1 and earned her fourth win over a ranked opponent this year.
In this week's edition of Observations from the Best Seat in the House, Metz Camfield and I teamed up to give you our thoughts and opinions of the week that was in Ole Miss athletics. I was able to travel with the football team to Baton Rouge, Louisiana for Saturday's SEC West showdown between Ole Miss and LSU. Here's what we have looking back on the previous week:
Austin Miller - Give a lot of credit to the Ole Miss "Landshark" defense that gave the team a chance Saturday, forcing four turnovers and limiting LSU to 10 points in four red-zone trips, but the offense couldn't take advantage of their opportunities, particularly late in the game.
"Our kids fought," head coach Hugh Freeze said. "Our defense gave us a chance to win the game, to be in the game, but we could not manage any points."
AM - Offensively, LSU bludgeoned the Ole Miss defense, executing 55 run plays compared to 16 pass plays, as the Tigers rushed for 264 yards. The two scoring drives for LSU: 17 plays, 90 yards, 9:07 and 13 plays, 95 yards, 5:59, featured a combined 25 run plays.
"They just wore us down and kept the ball from us," Freeze said. "We didn't have but maybe two possessions in the second quarter. They just ate the clock, and they're really good up front. That offensive line is really solid, and their backs are really good. That's the first time we've faced an offense quite like that."
AM - Defensively, LSU held Ole Miss to 107 yards of total offense in the second half, forcing five straight punts to start the half, including four three-and-outs. The Rebels finally put together some first downs on their last two drives, which ended in a turnover on downs and an interception with two seconds left.
"They were pretty good, number one," Freeze said. "They were able to stay in two-high on first and second down and stop our run game. We struggled there with (left tackle) Laremy (Tunsil) out for most of the second half, and we had to move some people around. That caused us some issues with playing younger kids, and they struggled a little bit in this environment against a really good defense."
AM - The Ole Miss defense extended two impressive streaks, having forced at least one turnover in 31 straight games and having allowed 20 or fewer points in 10 straight games. Both are the longest active streaks in the FBS.
AM - Another bright spot, in addition to the stingy, opportunistic Ole Miss defense, was the punting brilliance of Will Gleeson who landed four of his six punts inside the 10-yard line. For the season, he has landed 20 of his 38 punts inside the 20-yard line.
AM - Ole Miss played in front of a stadium-record crowd for the second straight road game (102,321), the second-largest crowd Ole Miss has ever played in front of, and it had an impact on the game. Maybe it did not a significant impact, but it had an impact nonetheless. Personally, Saturday night was as loud a stadium as I have ever heard covering Ole Miss.
AM - The history backs it up, as LSU improved to 46-3 during Saturday night home games under head coach Les Miles with the three losses coming against teams that were either ranked No. 1 at the time of the game or reached No. 1 at some point during that season.
Metz Camfield - I thought it was interesting that after the win the LSU fans rushed the field. For Ole Miss, this should come as a sign of respect and another sign of the "new normal." The football program has now gotten to a point where a win by an opposing team is so significant that its fans rush the field.
AM - Two more impressive stats that speak to LSU under Miles: The Tigers are now 21-16 when trailing at halftime, and it was their 24th fourth-quarter comeback.
AM - As Freeze noted in his postgame press conference and CBS Sports bracketology/bowls expert Jerry Palm notes here, Ole Miss remains in control of its destiny in the SEC Western Division and likely the College Football Playoff.
MC - The Rebels' dream season is still very much in tact, as Ole Miss has just one loss and a number of highly-ranked opponents still on the schedule. If Ole Miss wins out, it will represent the Western Division in the SEC Championship game and will almost be guaranteed a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoffs thanks to a number of impressive wins.
AM - Looking ahead, Ole Miss hosts Auburn in a de facto playoff game featuring one-loss teams. Two things to watch this week: An injury update from Freeze on Monday, including the status of Denzel Nkemdiche, Robert Nkemdiche, Laremy Tunsil, Cody Prewitt and Ben Still, and the release of the first playoff committee rankings on Tuesday.
AM - The Ole Miss soccer team picked up three big points, rallying past Vanderbilt 2-1 on the road, ahead of their final regular-season match against Tennessee at 7 p.m. Thursday. Both teams will be looking to secure a spot in the 10-team SEC Tournament. It's also Senior Night for goalkeeper Kelly McCormick, the all-time wins leader for a goalkeeper at Ole Miss.
AM - Congrats to former Ole Miss wide receiver Donte Moncrief, now of the Indianapolis Colts, who hauled in seven catches for 113 yards and his first career touchdown.
AM - In case you missed it, here's a unique video from Ole Miss Sports Productions: Landshark Symphony set to Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Oct. 13-19, 2014
- Ole Miss rode its dominant defense to a 34-3 homecoming win over Tennessee on Saturday to improve to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in Southeastern Conference play.
- The Rebels are 7-0 for just the second time in school history. The other time was in 1962 when the team went 10-0 and earned a share of the national title.
- The Rebel defense held Tennessee without a touchdown and limited the Vols to zero rushing yards in yet another impressive showing. The "Landshark" defense now leads the nation allowing just 10.6 points per outing.
- Senquez Golson intercepted two more passes to increase his SEC lead to seven interceptions, which ranks second nationally.
- Freshman DE Marquis Haynes had 2.5 sacks (of the team's seven total) and now ranks third in the conference and tied for 10th in the nation with 6.5 sacks this year.
- The Vaught-Hemingway Stadium crowd of 62,081 was third-largest in school history.
- Ole Miss went 2-0 last week, earning a 3-1 win at Auburn followed by a 3-2 win at Alabama to improve to 18-3 overall and 4-3 in the SEC.
- The win at Auburn marked the Rebels' first SEC road win of the season and snapped a three-match losing streak to the Tigers.
- Ole Miss rallied from a 2-1 deficit to hand Alabama its first home loss of the season on Sunday. The Rebels have now won five of the last eight meetings against the Crimson Tide, which had an RPI of 29 coming into the match.
- Freshman Lexi Thompson notched a career-high 23 kills in the win against Auburn and then posted a double-double of 15 kills and 14 digs in the win at Alabama.
- Aubrey Edie tallied 48 assists at Auburn and then recorded 56 assists at Alabama, paving the way for four Ole Miss players to record double-digit kills, including Thompson, Nakeyta Clair, Melanie Crow and Ty Laporte.
- Clair tallied 13 kills and four blocks while hitting .333 at Auburn. Against Alabama, she posted a team-high 17 kills, including the match clincher, and hit .560. She now has 13 matches with at least 10 kills and 17 matches with at least a .300 hitting percentage.
- The Rebels, winners of three in a row, are now the only conference team undefeated at home (9-0). The Rebels currently own the best overall record in the league at 18-3 and moved up in the standings to fifth after the weekend wins.
- Aubrey Edie was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week. That makes five of the first eight weeks for the Rebels to earn one of the league's weekly honors. The Rebels lead the league with five different players recognized to date.
- The Rebels participated in the USTA/ITA Southern Regionals last weekend in Auburn, Alabama. Junior Stefan Lindmark reached the semifinals in singles and senior William Kallberg and freshman Gustav Hansson reached the semifinals in doubles.
- It marked the third year in a row and the fourth year in the last five for the Rebels to have a singles semifinalist. It also marked the fourth year in the last five for the Rebels to have a doubles semifinalist as well.
- Junior Joe Rogers and freshman Zvonimir Babic teamed up for the first time to reach the quarterfinals in doubles.
Cross Country - Men
- Against a field consisting of nine of the top 30 teams in the nation, the Ole Miss men's cross country team grabbed an eighth-place finish in the Pre-Nationals Invitational on Saturday.
- Freshman Sean Tobin led Ole Miss in his second meet by clocking a time of 25:03.4 in the 8K, good for 48th overall.
- Junior Wes Gallagher (25:12.7) and sophomore Robert Domanic (24:36.88) finished 55th and 61st, respectively, to round out the top three Rebels at the meet.
Cross Country - Women
- The Ole Miss women raced a young team in the 6K, consisting of four freshmen, two sophomores and a senior.
- Freshman Shelby Brown (22:46.4) recorded the best time for the Rebels for the second consecutive meet.
- Ole Miss had an 0-2 weekend, dropping a pair of road matches at Kentucky and South Carolina.
Ole Miss returns home to host Missouri on Friday night after an
extended road swing that has seen the Rebels go almost a month without
playing a home match.
- Senior goalkeeper Kelly McCormick will set
the school record for shutout victories (23) with her next shutout this
season, currently she is tied with Brittany Gillespie who set the mark
- Two of the final three regular-season matches will be at
home for the Rebels, which also host Tennessee on Oct. 30 to close out
the regular season on Senior Day, honoring McCormick.
- The Ole Miss women's golf team sent Alison Hovatter, Maria Toennessen and Sofia Idoyaga as individuals to the Mercedes Benz Championship over the weekend.
- Hovatter led the Rebels, finishing in a tie for 22nd-place with a three-day score of 224.
- Hovatter's 224 is a season-low 54-hole score and her second round score of 70 was a season-low for 18 holes.
It's Sunday, so that means it's time for this week's Observations from the Best Seat in the House. There was no shortage of observations surrounding the Homecoming festivities this weekend. Let's get into it:
1. When "College GameDay" visits Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Saturday, it will be the third time in four weeks a nationally-televised college football pregame show will air on-site prior to an Ole Miss game.
If Ole Miss and Auburn continue to win, "College GameDay" producer Lee Fitting said GameDay would likely return to Oxford on Nov. 1, making it four times in five weeks. And if Ole Miss and Mississippi State continue to win? "College GameDay" could visit Oxford an unprecedented three times this season.
2. The SEC West might no longer be undefeated against SEC East teams, but it placed four teams in the top five of the latest AP Poll. Mississippi State and Ole Miss held at Nos. 1 and 3, respectively, while Alabama moved up three spots to No. 4 and Auburn moved up a spot to No. 5.
It's the first time one league has ever had four of the nation's top five teams in the AP Poll, much less the same division. Ole Miss has already defeated one (23-17 vs. Alabama) and gets the other two at home (Nov. 1 vs. Auburn, Nov. 29 vs. Mississippi State).
3. That being said, I have said it, Metz has said it, and Coach Freeze has said something to the same effect: For fans who are worried about polls and playoff projections, rest assured, if Ole Miss keeps winning, everything will take care of itself.
4. Don't look now, but LSU might have regained its mojo, having won its last two games (30-27 at Florida, 41-3 vs. Kentucky) and returning to the national rankings. Strange things tend to happen in this rivalry, and then you add a role reversal with Ole Miss as the favored team and a night game in Death Valley to the equation, and it should make for an intriguing matchup.
5. Speaking to the media Friday, Marcus Spears compared this year's Ole Miss team to his 2003 LSU team, which finished 13-1 and defeated Oklahoma 21-14 in the Sugar Bowl to win the BCS National Championship.
The 2003 LSU team was led by a dominant defense that allowed just 11.0 points per game and forced 33 turnovers, returning seven for touchdowns. Offensively, the Tigers had an efficient quarterback in Matt Mauck and some explosive playmakers in Michael Clayton, Devery Henderson and Skyler Green.
As you can tell, there are some definite similarities between the two teams.
6. Another mistake-free game from Bo Wallace. Through four SEC games, Wallace has yet to turn the ball over, while throwing seven touchdowns and running in another two. In case you missed it, you want to watch his appearance on the Dan Patrick Show earlier this week, where he poked fun at the "Good Bo, Bad Bo" narrative.
7. Senquez Golson picked off two more passes, giving him seven for the season, which leads the SEC and ranks second nationally. It was his second multi-interception game of the season, and the third of his career. The other? 2012 at LSU. Golson also now has an interception in three straight games.
8. What a difference a year makes on the defensive line. In last year's matchup with LSU, also seven games into the season, Ole Miss was forced to move Bryon Bennett from defensive tackle to defensive end out of necessity because of injuries. A year later, the Rebels are rotating 11-12 guys on the defensive line and redshirting a trio of talented freshmen.
"For most of the guys, we try to rotate them with an even number of reps for some games," defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said. "Robert (Nkemdiche) is going to be in there a little bit more because he's a little bit of a freak at that 3-technique and means so much to us doing that. Most of them get close to the same number of reps."
9. One of those 11-12 guys is freshman Marquis Haynes, the reigning SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week, who accounted for 2.5 of the Rebels' 7.0 sacks against Tennessee. He has 4.5 sacks over the last two games and 6.5 sacks for the season, 1.5 sacks shy of Jadaveon Clowney's freshman record.
"Marquis Haynes gets better every week," head coach Hugh Freeze said. "I told a lot of people in preseason, if they called me and they asked me who nobody knows about that was going to make a name for themselves, and I would say without hesitation it was going to be Marquis Haynes. He's proving to do that."
10. Not to pat ourselves on the back, but it's impeccable how well players have performed when they're featured in the game day programs. Notably, Senquez Golson sealed the win over Alabama when he was featured in the Alabama game day program. And Saturday against Tennessee, Mike Hilton intercepted a pass when he was featured in the player spotlight. Go back and look.
11. This was the best Square Jam yet. There was what looked to be the biggest crowd in the history of the three-year event and a star-studded panel of judges, and then Stefan Moody and Roderick Lawrence put on a show in the slam dunk contest. Earlier this summer, Moody said he had a 46-inch vertical jump, and he showed it off, as he rocked the rim to take home the title.
12. There's a lot of excitement surrounding the newcomers on the men's side. Three of the newcomers are among Sports Illustrated's projected top 100 transfer scorers: Moody (14th, 11.4 ppg), Terence Smith (34th, 8.9 ppg) and M.J. Rhett (94th, 4.7 ppg). Sports Illustrated also projects Jarvis Summers sixth (averaging 18.8 ppg) in their projection of the nation's top 100 scorers.
13. The Ole Miss volleyball found some answers on the road, winning at Auburn and Alabama this weekend, running its win streak to three matches in the process. Ole Miss returns home to host LSU in a nationally-televised match on the SEC Network.
14. We always plug him, but don't miss out on Josh McCoy's photo gallery from Square Jam. Great action and great backdrop made some great photos.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Oct. 6-12, 2014
The No. 3 Ole Miss Rebels showed they belong among the nation's upper
crust with a dominating 35-20 win at No. 14 Texas A&M on Saturday.
Ole Miss jumped out to a 21-0 first-half lead and led 35-7 in the
fourth quarter before a pair of late Aggie touchdown strikes.
- The Rebels improved to 6-0 for the first time since 1962 and only the sixth time in school history.
The Rebel defense held Texas A&M scoreless in the first half for
the first time in the Kevin Sumlin era, and limited the Aggies to a
season-low 20 total points.
- Cody Prewitt returned an interception
75 yards for a touchdown and Keith Lewis added a 21-yard fumble return
for a score, marking the first time Ole Miss had two defensive
touchdowns in a game since 1996 vs. Georgia.
- Bo Wallace accounted
for three touchdowns (one passing, two rushing) and has yet to turn the
ball over in a Southeastern Conference game this year.
Ole Miss went 1-1 last week, falling to Arkansas on the road 3-0 before
downing Mississippi State 3-0 at home Sunday. The Rebels improved to
16-3 overall and 2-3 in the SEC.
- With Sunday's win, the Rebels set
the school record for most consecutive home wins (9), and are off to
their best start since the 1989 season when they started 17-2.
- Ole Miss improved to 68-23 against Mississippi State and has won seven of the last eight meetings.
The Rebels hit .402 in the win over Mississippi State, which is their
best hitting percentage in an SEC match this year and the second best
- The Rebels rank among the top five in the SEC in hitting
percentage, opponent hitting percentage, kills per set, assists per set,
service aces per set and blocks per set.
- Junior Nakeyta Clair
continues to rank second in the league in hitting percentage at .425.
She also ranks seventh in kills per set at 3.45. Aubrey Edie ranks
fourth in assists per set at 11.15.
Ole Miss participated in the USTA/ITA Southern Regionals and senior
Julia Jones captured the singles title with an impressive run. In the
final, she rallied to defeat the top seed, Pleun Burgmans of Auburn,
5-7, 6-4, 7-6(4) to punch her ticket to the USTA/ITA National Indoor
Championships, which will be held in November at the Billie Jean King
USTA National Tennis Center.
• Competing in her first tournament of the fall, Jones defeated the Nos. 36, 42 and 61 ranked players to begin the year 6-0.
Jones was the fourth singles finalist in the last five years for the
Rebels, and the fourth player in school history to win it.
the Rebels had a great tournament at the USTA/ITA Southern Regionals,
with freshman Arianne Hartono reaching the quarterfinals, and the
doubles team of Erin Stephens and Iris Verboven advancing to the
semifinals before losing to the No. 1 ranked team in the nation in the
• Ole Miss dropped both its matches this past weekend, falling to No. 5 Murray State and No. 9 Nebraska.
• Against Nebraska, freshman Jessica Haig equaled her career-best with a 588 in air rifle.
Sophomore Ben Wolcott notched his third top-20 finish of the young
season, placing 11th at the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate in Tuscaloosa,
- Wolcott fired a three-day total of 211 to just miss the top 10.
The Rebels finished in a tie for 10th with Georgia State and UT-San
Antonio after a team total of 293 in the final round gave them a
three-round total of 873.
- The Ole Miss
women's golf team traveled to the UNC Tar Heel Invitational in North
Carolina, the home state of senior Taelor Rubin (Raleigh, N.C.)
- The Rebels placed 18th and saw sophomore Maria Toennessen card a career-low round of 72 in the second round.
In this week's edition of Observations from the Best Seat in the House, Metz Camfield and I teamed up to give you our thoughts and opinions of the week that was in Ole Miss athletics. I was able to travel with the football team to College Station, Texas, and it was a great experience. Here's what we have looking back on the previous week:
Austin Miller - The best seat in the house Saturday was among the 110,633 at Texas A&M's Kyle Field, a football record crowd in the state of Texas, an SEC record, and the largest crowd that Ole Miss has ever played in front of. The Rebels silenced the record crowd in a wire-to-wire 35-20 win that never felt as close as the final score indicated.
AM - Attending Midnight Yell was another big item to check off my bucket list. Seeing and experiencing other schools' traditions is one of the best parts of covering a team, and this was my first time to visit Texas A&M. I watched, more than I participated, but between the clapping, swaying, singing and yelling, it's something else. Here's a quick video.
AM - Texas A&M is in the middle of a $450 million renovation of Kyle Field. Half of the stadium was demolished and rebuilt before the 2014 season, and the other half will be demolished and rebuilt before the 2015 season, bringing an expanded seating capacity of 102,500, making it one of the five largest stadiums in college football.
AM - The press box at Kyle Field is located on the 9th level of 10, and it literally sways during the Aggie War Hymn before the game and before the fourth quarter. It makes for a surreal experience, but it's not a recommended one for those who suffer from a fear of heights.
AM - When you travel with the team, you travel first-class, from the chartered planes and buses, to the hotel accommodations. The game ended before 11:30 p.m., and we arrived back in Oxford shortly before 3:30 a.m. That's traveling in style.
Metz Camfield - Ole Miss' impressive showing in the Lone Star State started from the very beginning. After holding Texas A&M to a three-and-out on the Aggies' opening possession, Ole Miss got its offense in gear by going 69 yards on five plays to take a 7-0 lead and temporarily silence 110,633. I took this as a major sign of maturity with this team coming off a major victory over then-top ranked Alabama to come out strong on the road in a hostile environment. If the Rebels had gotten off to a slow start and allowed Texas A&M to take an early lead - no matter the margin - the entire game could have been different.
MC - It seems senior quarterback Bo Wallace is realizing he doesn't need to be the one to win games for this football team. When you have a defense as talented, as impressive and as overwhelming as the Rebels' is, the quarterback doesn't need to force the issue. Over the last two weeks, Wallace has not committed a single turnover, and while his numbers haven't been as over the top as they have in the past (to be fair, Ole Miss' past two opponents have been two top-15 teams in Alabama and Texas A&M), his performances have been quite possibly his best two of the season.
AM - Wallace may have laid the "Good Bo, Bad Bo" narrative to rest with his performance against Alabama. And against Texas A&M, he may have emerged as a serious Heisman Trophy candidate. There might be more talented players on the team, there might be players with a brighter NFL future on the team, but it's hard to argue there's a more valuable player on the team. And that's sometimes enough, especially if you're the quarterback of a national championship contender.
MC - With this defense, if the Ole Miss offense does not commit a turnover, the Rebels are as difficult a team to beat as there is in the country. Period.
AM - The Ole Miss defense allowed 455 total yards but allowed just 5.2 yards per play against a Texas A&M offense that ranked third nationally in total offense (583.2 ypg) and fifth nationally in yards per play (7.5). The Rebels allowed just 54 rushing yards on 35 carries, a 1.5 yards per carry average.
AM - The Ole Miss defense was not only stingy, but it was also opportunistic, forcing three turnovers and returning two of them for touchdowns. The Rebels have forced at least one turnover for 29 straight games, the second-longest active streak among FBS schools.
AM - You might have missed it among the other big-time players and big-time plays on defense, but sophomore Tony Conner led the Rebels with a career-high 11 tackles, his second straight game with a career high in tackles.
AM - With the first-half suspension of Trae Elston, Mike Hilton slid over from cornerback to Rover safety and Kendarius Webster made his first career start at cornerback, as they helped the Rebels pitch a first-half shutout. Hilton has now started at every position in the secondary, having started at Huskie, cornerback, free safety and now Rover safety.
"Mike is so smart," said defensive coordinator Dave Wommack of Hilton. "I brought him in Sunday last weekend started going through the film and he kept shaking his head. I said, 'How do you know this?' He said, 'Coach I played Huskie so I understand rover too.' He has a great football IQ and he is one of the most valuable players on our defense."
MC - To anybody getting caught up in the polls, worrying about whether Ole Miss is currently projected to be in the College Football Playoffs or what seed it'd be right now, just stop. It doesn't matter right now. First off, there are way too many weeks left in the season. Secondly, if Ole Miss continues winning, everything will take care of itself. Enjoy the ride. It'd be a shame to stress yourself out about those types of things and look back on the year kicking yourself for not enjoying it as much as you could.
AM - Ole Miss is No. 3 in both polls, picking up five first-place votes in the Coaches Poll and three first-place votes in the AP Poll. For fans who are worried about polls and playoff projections, rest assured, if the Rebels keep winning, everything will take care of itself.
"We beat the number one team in the country last week, by some polls, and then we beat a top-15 opponent in their house in front of 110,000 tonight," head coach Hugh Freeze said. "I'll tell our team tomorrow, 'No one, no poll and no media gets to decide for us how we define ourselves,' and I'll tell them that again tomorrow.
"It's good for our fans. They like that stuff. We could lose every game left on our schedule with the league we play in, so we better just focus on us. It would be great to be voted wherever they vote us. We would consider that an honor and we'll try to represent and be worthy of that voting. I'll tell our team, 'We don't give credence to it until the end of the year. That's when it really matters.'
"I do think the SEC West deserves two in the playoffs, though."
AM - As of Sunday, Oct. 12, the road to Atlanta goes through Mississippi. As the last two undefeated teams in the SEC West, two of just six remaining unbeaten FBS teams, Ole Miss and Mississippi State control their own destiny.
AM - With that said, if you haven't already locked up your Egg Bowl tickets, you might want to get on that. Think about the seating capacity of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. It might not only be the biggest Egg Bowl ever, it might be the hardest ticket for a regular season college football game ever.
AM - In case you missed it, here's the story of the Ole Miss Landsharks from ESPN's Tom Rinaldi and the latest episode of The Season: Ole Miss Football. You want to watch both, if you haven't already.
MC - Also, don't miss out on Josh McCoy's photo gallery of the football game at Texas A&M.
AM - The Ole Miss volleyball team swept arch-rival Mississippi State 3-0 Sunday to improve to 16-3 overall and 2-3 in the SEC. The Rebels also remained unbeaten at home, improving to 9-0 at the Gillom Center this season.
AM - Former Ole Miss Rebel Lance Lynn gets the start for the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 2 of the NLCS against the San Francisco Giants. In Game 2 of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Lynn took a no-decision, as he allowed two runs on seven hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Sept. 29-Oct. 5, 2014
- Ole Miss outscored then-No. 1 Alabama 20-3 in the second half Saturday en route to a thrilling 23-17 victory over the Crimson Tide. It was the Rebels' first win over a top-ranked opponent in program history.
- Senior quarterback Bo Wallace went 18-31 for 251 yards, three touchdowns and no turnovers. Wallace finished the game by completing each of his final three pass attempts for 57 yards and two touchdowns. The win was the Rebels' first over Alabama since 2003 when Eli Manning was the Ole Miss quarterback.
- Despite Alabama entering the game averaging 42.0 points, the Ole Miss defense held the Crimson Tide to just 10 points. The Rebels also held Alabama to 3.8 yards per carry, which is nearly two yards fewer than its season average.
- Senior cornerback Senquez Golson sealed the game with an interception with 37 seconds remaining in the back of the Ole Miss end zone. Ole Miss has forced a turnover in 28 straight games, which ranks among the top five streaks nationally.
- The Rebels are 5-0 for the first time since 1962. Ole Miss is also 2-0 in Southeastern Conference play.
- The Rebels posted a fourth undefeated weekend after playing Auburn to a 2-2 draw and posting the shutout victory over Alabama this past weekend.
- Senior goalkeeper Kelly McCormick tied for first on the all-time shutout list at Ole Miss with a 1-0 victory at Alabama on Sunday. McCormick has 21 shutout wins for her career.
- Ole Miss will now have a bye week after moving the match with Georgia to the season-opener for the SEC Network, and return to action in two weeks with road matches at Kentucky and South Carolina.
- Jennifer Miller scored her second goal of the season, hitting the game-winner in the 1-0 victory at Alabama to extend the Rebels' win streak over the Crimson Tide to four matches.
- Ole Miss downed defending SEC Champion Missouri 3-0 in its only match of the week, snapping the Tigers' 20-match SEC win streak dating back to Nov. 23, 2012. The Rebels improved to 3-0 against Missouri in Oxford.
- Junior Nakeyta Clair posted a team-high 14 kills and hit .500 to lead the offensive attack, also adding three blocks defensively. Clair ranks second in the SEC in hitting percentage at .425.
- Freshman Taylor Alexander, in just her third start, posted a career-high eight blocks to lead the defensive effort. She had four blocks in the second set to help the Rebels erase a 22-16 deficit and win the set 25-23. For her efforts, Alexander was named the SEC Freshman of the Week.
- With the win, the Rebels improved to 8-0 at home this season.
- Head coach Steven McRoberts earned his 490th career win in the victory over Missouri.
- The Rebels rank second in the SEC in hitting percentage (.271), second in opponent hitting percentage (.167), third in assists per set (12.61), fourth in kills per set (13.54) and fourth in blocks per set (2.47).
- Ole Miss hosted its second annual "Shoot Pink" match Saturday as part of the Ole Miss Invitational. The Rebels posted a 4603 aggregate score with a 2336 in air rifle to finish sixth overall.
- The Rebels were paced by two freshmen. Jessica Haig fired a 588, while Nadia Hata posted a 586 in air rifle. Sophomore Alison Weisz shot a 583 in air rifle.
- In smallbore, the Rebels were led by freshman Shelby Sandstrom, who turned in a 569.
- The Ole Miss men's golf team placed three players in the top 20 of a tournament for the first time since 2012.
- Seniors Joe Lewis and Blake Morris, and sophomore Noah West help propel the Rebels to a fourth-place finish at the 2014 Shoal Creek Invitational.
- With first-year head coach Chris Malloy at the helm, Ole Miss has finished in the top five in two of its three tournaments this season.
Cross Country - Men's Team
- The Ole Miss men's cross country team, ranked fourth in the USTFCCCA South Region, finished second in the Greater Louisville Classic on Saturday. The finish was above 12 other regionally ranked teams and all four other SEC teams competing.
- Junior Wes Gallagher led Ole Miss in his first event as a Rebel. The Northeastern transfer clocked a time of 24:00.74 in the 8K, good for seventh overall. The Rebels placed six runners in the top 33.
- Gallagher, Robert Domanic, Sean Tobin, Daniel Bulmer, Taylor Caldwell and Mark Shaw all made their first appearance of the season in the strong performance for the Rebels.
Cross Country - Women's Team
- The Ole Miss women placed 17th overall in the 5K race. Freshman Shelby Brown turned in a time of 18:10.51 to pace the Rebels. Brown has improved on her 5K time in each race this season. She's shaved 38.82 seconds from her opening meet time.
- Ole Miss raced a young squad at the meet. The nine Rebels competing included six freshmen and two sophomores.
- The women's basketball team officially opened the 2014-15 season with its first practice on Sunday, Oct. 5 inside the Tuohy Center.
- The Rebels will open the regular season campaign Nov. 14 when they host Grambling for the 12th annual School Kids game at 11 a.m.
- The men's basketball team officially opened the 2014-15 season with its first practice Friday, Oct. 3 inside the Tuohy Center.
- The Rebels open their season Nov. 14 with a home game against Charleston Southern at 6:00 p.m.
It's Sunday, so that means it's time for this week's Observations from the Best Seat in the House. There was no shortage of observations this week. Let's get into it:
1. It's the day after, and I still can't believe yesterday happened. Ole Miss became the epicenter of college football, from ESPN's "College GameDay," to Katy Perry, to the game itself, to the celebration and national attention that followed. It could not have been a better day for the football program, athletics department and the university itself.
"Let's utilize the filter, the platform and the marketing power of athletics to then help the entire university," said Athletics Director Ross Bjork earlier this week. "This is one of those examples that because of athletics the university can be put on a pedestal in a great way to showcase all the great things that are happening. That's a responsibility that we take very seriously.
"We're not the most important thing, but we happen to be the most visible and this will be one of those examples where because of athletics that visibility takes hold and now we can show the world how beautiful our campus is and the hospitality of the Ole Miss family."
2. Let's start with "College GameDay." The crew loved it and the fans loved the show's first visit to the Grove, to the tune of the highest overnight rating this season. The passion and hospitality of Ole Miss fans and the beauty and atmosphere of the Grove were on full display.
And depending on future results, the show may make a return later this season, either Nov. 1 vs. Auburn or Nov. 29 vs. Mississippi State.
3. Beside the bliss of standing within shouting distance of Katy Perry as she made her way to the GameDay set to make her picks, which was a great moment for me, she was great for Ole Miss. With her fame and popularity, she got people to tune into GameDay and then promptly stole the show.
She picked the Rebels, which started a full-on embrace of Ole Miss and Oxford, as she hugged the Black Bear mascot, became a regular on the Jumbotron wearing an Ole Miss visor, stormed the field with the masses of fans and then celebrated with them at the bar at Funky's. I can't begin to describe what her ties to Ole Miss, if even for a day, means to the university.
4. There are a lot of places you can start with the game itself, but I'm going to start with Bo Wallace.
The much-maligned quarterback had his day, much like Andrew Ritter had against LSU last year, becoming the first quarterback since Eli Manning to defeat Alabama.
He completed 18-of-31 passes for 251 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions, completing each of his final three pass attempts for 57 yards and two touchdowns with the game on the line. "Good Bo, Bad Bo" had been the popular narrative entering the game, one that Wallace hoped to have rid of once and for all.
"That thing's the most annoying thing I've ever heard," Wallace said. "I also feel like I'm the only quarterback in the nation who throws interceptions. Hopefully I can be 'Good Bo' the rest of the year."
5. When called upon, to keep Ole Miss in the game in the first half and then win the game on the final drive, the Rebels defense rose to the challenge as they have all season. Sound familiar?
The Ole Miss defense allowed just 10 points, despite facing an Alabama offense that entered the game averaging 42.0 points. The Rebels also created two timely turnovers, one of which led to the game-winning touchdown, and the other effectively ended the game.
6. Including the fumble returned for a touchdown by Alabama, the Ole Miss defense has given up just four touchdowns this season, the fewest in the nation. The Rebels also rank second in scoring defense, giving up just 10.2 points per game, and rank fifth in total defense (277.6 ypg) and yards per play allowed (4.1 yard per play).
7. To quote the great philosopher Drake, the Ole Miss senior class started from the bottom, and now they're here.
From a forgettable 2-10 season, to a 5-0 start and a top-five national ranking. There are a lot of talented underclassmen on the roster, but these seniors who stayed have showed out themselves and have provided invaluable leadership so far this season.
"After the 2-10 season and we lost our head coach, a lot of players were thinking about getting out," senior Senquez Golson said. "I almost left to go play baseball and we talked to the coaches and we just decided to stay."
8. For the historic 2013 signing class, Saturday was another moment of validation, the first win over a top-ranked team in program history and the Rebels' first win over Alabama since 2003. They all played big roles in the win and creating a "new normal" in Oxford.
"I came here with the 2013 class to change the culture around here," said sophomore Robert Nkemdiche, the consensus No. 1 recruit in the nation from that class. "We came to do something different. I could have gone to Alabama or LSU, but I wanted to come here and make a difference. And that's what we have done. I'm really proud of ourselves."
9. Ole Miss' win over Alabama was just one shockwave as part of Shakeout Saturday that saw five of the top eight teams in the AP poll lose on the same weekend. Florida State, Auburn and Baylor survived, while Oregon, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and UCLA joined Alabama in defeat.
10. As part of the shakeout, Ole Miss moved into a tie with Mississippi State for No. 3 in the AP poll. And with Auburn at No. 2, three of the top four teams in the AP poll reside in the SEC West. Mississippi State hosts Auburn and ESPN's "College GameDay" this Saturday.
11. The eyes of college football descended on Ole Miss. To see what everyone is saying in local and national news and the best tweets from Saturday and Sunday morning, click here.
12. There are a lot of great photos and videos out there from Saturday. Here is a photo of the mass of fans storming the field, a video of fans tearing down the goal posts and a video of the game-winning touchdown.
13. Speaking of photos and video, Josh McCoy did yeoman's working covering the days leading up to and including "College GameDay" and the win over Alabama. Check out his gallery from the Alabama game here.
And a tip of the hat to Michael Thompson, Micah Ginn and the rest of the marketing and productions staff for creating a big-time atmosphere in the stadium to match the big-time atmosphere in the Grove.
14. I would stay tuned for what might be the best episode of "The Season: Ole Miss Football" yet.
15. Lost in the euphoria of "College GameDay" and the historic win over Alabama, volleyball head coach Steven McRoberts and his team had a signature moment of their own. Missouri came in as the defending SEC Champion with a 20-match conference win streak, and the Rebels swept the Tigers 3-0 in front of a nationally-televised audience on the SEC Network.
"It's huge," said junior Nakeyta Clair who led the team with 14 kills and a .500 hitting percentage in the match. "It shows not only us, but it shows our fans that we can do it this year. We have a lot of confidence in ourselves this year. It didn't faze us they were SEC champs last year."
16. Senior goalkeeper Kelly McCormick tied the school shutout record with the Ole Miss soccer team's 1-0 win at Alabama on Sunday. The Rebels grabbed four points on the road this weekend, as they also played Auburn to a 2-2 draw Friday.
17. The Ole Miss men's basketball team opened fall practice Friday, and the team's trip to the Bahamas in August is already paying dividends. Don't forget Square Jam is set for Friday, Oct. 17, the day before the football team's homecoming game against Tennessee, and the men's and women's basketball teams open their respective seasons Friday, Nov. 14.
"We're so far ahead based on what we had the opportunity to experience in the Bahamas," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "We have been with this team for 10 practices in July and August, and then we had two games in the Bahamas, so I feel much further along with this group.
"We already put in some of our baseline stuff so that we can start to make adjustments based on what we saw this summer. Our foundation is pretty much set. Now, we're building off that based on the skill-set of our players."
18. Two former Ole Miss Rebels in Aaron Barrett (Washington) and Lance Lynn (St. Louis) are still playing in the MLB Playoffs. He took a no-decision, but Lynn worked six strong innings, giving up two runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts and two walks in Game 2 of the NLDS against Los Angeles on Saturday.
19. Looking ahead, it doesn't get any easier for the football team as Ole Miss travels to No. 14 Texas A&M this Saturday. With an 8 p.m. kickoff on ESPN, Kyle Field should be rocking. A trademark under head coach Hugh Freeze has been a team that bounces back from the highest highs and the lowest lows, but the spotlight has never shined as bright as it does right now.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Sept. 22-28, 2014
- No. 10 Ole Miss used a dominant defensive effort to put away Memphis 24-3 on Saturday, setting up one of the biggest games in recent history this coming Saturday against the Alabama Crimson Tide.
- The Rebels allowed just 104 total yards the entire evening, including 23 rushing yards on 31 carries. Excluding one 42-yard pass play by Memphis in the first quarter, the Rebel defense allowed just 62 total yards on the other 61 plays from scrimmage.
- The 104 total yards allowed were the fewest since giving up 24 yards to Mississippi State in 2008.
- Sophomore Laquon Treadwell had five catches for a career-high 123 yards and a career high-tying two touchdowns to lead the offense.
- Memphis native Jaylen Walton had a game-high 78 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown.
- The defense has allowed only two touchdowns this season, which is the fewest in the nation.
- Ole Miss improved to 4-0 for the first time since 1970.
- Ole Miss went 0-1-1 on the weekend, splitting a match with Arkansas on Thursday before falling 2-1 to No. 10 Texas A&M on Sunday.
- Sophomore forward Gretchen Harknett bent in her second goal of the season to help the Rebels play Arkansas to a double overtime draw.
- Junior defender Maddie Friedmann scored her first goal of the season with a header off a double-assisted goal Sunday afternoon to put the Rebels on the board against No. 10 Texas A&M.
- After the weekend, Ole Miss is now 4-1-3 at home this season with the lone loss coming at the hands of the 10th-ranked Aggies.
- Ole Miss will now hit the road in SEC play and not play a home match over the next three weeks before closing things out with two of the last three matches of the season at home.
- The Rebels dropped both their matches on the opening weekend of SEC play to fall to 14-2 overall and 0-2 in conference.
- Friday, the Rebels lost a five-setter at South Carolina after having a 2-0 lead. They had match point in the fourth set, but the Gamecocks won the final three points to force a fifth set. In the fifth set, the Rebels led 12-11 but the Gamecocks won four straight points to take the match 3-2.
- Against South Carolina, junior Nakeyta Clair equaled her career-high with 20 kills and hit .395, and also had four blocks. Clair ranks third in the SEC in hitting percentage at .420.
- Freshman Taylor Alexander got her first start of the year against South Carolina and finished with nine kills, a .375 hitting percentage and four blocks.
- Five Rebels competed in the pre-qualifying at the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Freshman Gustav Hansson won his first round match, but none of the five advanced to the qualifying. The Rebels will have two players in the qualifying with Stefan Lindmark and William Kallberg in singles, and two doubles teams with Lindmark/Hansson and Kallberg/Ricardo Jorge.
- Junior Mai El Kamash won three matches in pre-qualifying at the Riviera ITA All-American Championships to advance to the qualifying tournament, which begins Tuesday in Pacific Palisades, California. She improved to 4-1 on the year.
It's Sunday, so that means it's time for this week's Observations from the Best Seat in the House. I'll handle the bulk of the notes this week, but we also have some insight from Austin Miller here as well. Let's get started:
1. Did you hear ESPN's College GameDay is coming to town
? Unless you legitimately live under a rock - a rock that blocks out all outside sound - you have heard this. It's going to be awesome. What a great day that will be for Ole Miss, this university and this town. Finally, the premier college football pregame show will visit the premier college football tailgating scene. The buzz that will surround Oxford and that football game will be palpable all week. Can't wait.
2. That Ole Miss defense is legit. The Rebels allowed just 104 total yards, and just 23 rushing yards on 31 carries. For those without a calculator, that's 0.74 yards per carry. Here's another stat nugget I enjoyed from that game: Memphis ran 62 plays, and if you take out the Tigers' 42-yard pass play in the first quarter, the Rebel defense allowed just 62 total yards on the other 61 plays from scrimmage. If you still haven't gotten a calculator, that's 1.02 yards per play.
3. Let's not forget this was a Memphis offense that accumulated 469 yards on the road against UCLA earlier this season. In that game, which the Tigers, despite having to travel across the country, only lost by seven points, Memphis had 164 yards rushing and 305 passing yards. Oh, by the way, UCLA is ranked No. 8 in the latest Associated Press top 25.
4. As the calendar turns to October, fans will be treated to a loaded slate in the Southeastern Conference this upcoming weekend, including three successive top-15 matchups in the SEC West: No. 6 Texas A&M at No. 12 Mississippi State (11 a.m. CT, ESPN), followed by No. 1 Alabama at No. 11 Ole Miss (2:30 p.m., CBS) and No. 15 LSU at No. 5 Auburn (6 p.m., ESPN). We're going to learn a lot about this division next week.
5. Want to know how good the top of the SEC West has been in recent years? With Alabama coming to town ranked No. 1 in the AP poll that makes five straight years Ole Miss has faced the nation's top-ranked team: Auburn in 2010, LSU in 2011 and Alabama in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
6. Ole Miss boasts the nation's third-best scoring defense, allowing just 8.5 points per game. More impressively, Ole Miss has given up just two touchdowns all season, the fewest in the nation. Big reason why; opponents have scored just two touchdowns in 10 trips to the red zone.
7. To that point, Memphis ran just two plays inside the 20-yard line Saturday and came away with three points. Among the four games played, opponents have run 37 plays inside the 20 and come away with 29 points.
8. I thought it was so great with all of the festivities surrounding Chucky Mullins, his memory and legacy, that Deterrian Shackelford, the guy who wears No. 38 in Mullins' honor, led the team in tackles Saturday.
9. The committee of running backs approach produced favorable numbers Saturday. Juniors Jaylen Walton (10 carries for 78 yards) and I'Tavius Mathers (14 carries for 57 yards) combined for 135 yards on 24 carries. Freshman Jordan Wilkins contributed with five carries for 33 yards and sophomore Mark Dodson had five carries for 16 yards.
10. After catching seven passes for 105 yards and one touchdown against Boise State in week one, sophomore wide receiver Laquon Treadwell had been held to a combined eight catches for 79 yards and no scores against Vanderbilt and Louisiana-Lafayette. The preseason All-SEC selection broke out a bit Saturday though, catching five passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns against the Tigers.
11. If you enjoyed the powder blue helmets Saturday against Memphis, check out this story by Austin Miller documenting the decision making that led to the Rebels wearing this helmet, as well as how it was kept on the hush throughout the week: http://www.olemisssports.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/092814aab.html
12. Did you see Josh McCoy's photo gallery of the football game? If you answer that question with a 'No,' well I just don't know what to say. He's the best in the game. Check it out here: http://www.olemisssports.com/view.gal?id=167161
. You can also follow him on Twitter at @OleMissPix
13. It was a tough weekend for the Ole Miss volleyball team. The Rebels closed out the non-conference portion of their schedule with a perfect 14-0 mark, the best in program history, but opened SEC play Friday with a tough five-set loss at South Carolina, followed by a three-set loss at No. 10 Florida, which is always a very difficult place to play for any team. This Rebel team is playing good volleyball and is a lot of fun to watch. Be sure to show this team your support and head out to the Gillom Center on Wednesday for a huge SEC match against Missouri at 6 p.m. CT.
14. The Ole Miss soccer team went 0-1-1 on the week in a pair of SEC home matches against Arkansas and No. 10 Texas A&M. After a 1-1 tie Friday against the Razorbacks in a really physical contest, Ole Miss lost 2-1 Sunday against the highly ranked Aggies. Ole Miss scored the first goal against Texas A&M in the 62nd minute, but Texas A&M responded with goals in the 72nd and 79th minute. The Rebels will head out on a four-match SEC road swing now with two matches next weekend in the Yellowhammer State against Alabama and Auburn, respectively.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Sept. 15-21, 2014
- Ole Miss went 4-0 to capture the Rebel Classic and improve to 14-0 on the season.
- Through four weeks of the season, the Rebels have equaled last year's win total (14-17).
- Sophomore setter Aubrey Edie was named the Rebel Classic MVP ... Edie tallied 127 assists, (9.77 per set), to earn her fourth consecutive all-tournament honor ... The Fayetteville, Arkansas, native also posted 12 total blocks ... Junior middle blockers Nakeyta Clair and Ty Laporte were also named to the Rebel Classic All-Tournament Team ... Laporte finished with 34 kills and hit .500, while adding 13 total blocks to earn her third straight all-tournament honor ... Clair posted 30 kills on a .533 attack percentage and added a team-leading 20 total blocks, including seven solo.
- In the win over Samford, the Rebels hit a school-record .431 with just five errors.
- The Rebels rank first in the SEC in hitting percentage (.286), kills per set (13.98) and assists per set (13.06).
- The Ole Miss soccer team went 1-1 on the week with a 1-0 win at Mississippi State on Friday before falling at UCF 4-0 on Sunday.
- Addie Forbus scored in under a minute to give the Rebels a 1-0 win at Mississippi State and a second consecutive win in the Magnolia Cup.
- The shutout win over Mississippi State was the fourth of the season for the Rebels and 21st career shutout for senior goalkeeper Kelly McCormick.
- McCormick needs one more shutout to tie the career record of 22 set by Brittany Gillespie in 2003.
- The Ole Miss women's golf team finished 17th at the 2014 Cougar Classic at Yemans Hall in Charleston, South Carolina. Stani Schiavone was the Rebels' top finisher after tying for 30th-place with a three-day score of 219.
- Sophomore Madisen Bentley, who is playing her first season at Ole Miss after transferring from Portland State, made her debut in the Ole Miss lineup last week. She posted her best round in the third round with a 4-over-par 76.
-Rookie Sofia Idoyaga had her best round of collegiate golf to date at the Cougar Classic, posting a 3-over-par 75 in the final round, while draining a career-best five birdies.
- Sophomore Ben Wolcott fired an impressive 1-under-par 70 in the final round of the DICK'S Collegiate Challenge Cup to tie for 18th-place, marking his fifth top-20 finish of his Rebel career.
- As a team, Ole Miss finished in eighth-place. The Rebels have placed in the top 10 in their first two tournaments of the season.
- In the ACC-SEC Conference Challenge, junior Connor Davis carded Ole Miss' only win against Clemson. Davis downed the Tigers' Miller Capps 3&2 in match play.
- The Rebels kicked off the season at the SEC Fall Classic in Gainesville, Florida. Junior Stefan Lindmark and sophomore Ricardo Jorge teamed up in their first tournament together to reach the semifinals in doubles, but lost a tight match 8-7(6).
- In singles, senior William Kallberg advanced to the third round. Jorge finished as the runner-up in the singles consolation after they did not play the final due to Ole Miss' travel plans. One of his three wins included a triumph over the 46th-ranked player in the nation, who teammate Stefan Lindmark defeated Friday in the main draw first round.
This is the fourth installment of Observations from the Best Seat in the House. The idea of this weekly feature will be to bring you all some of our observations from the previous week in Ole Miss Sports. This week was a combined effort with Metz Camfield. Let's get into it:
1. The Ole Miss football team was on a bye week, but the volleyball and soccer teams went a combined 5-1 on the weekend, as both of those teams wrapped up nonconference play.
2. As much fun as it is covering Ole Miss home and away games, and they are, it's also fun to have a Saturday to watch games from 11 a.m. - and thanks to the late-game dramatics between Oregon and Washington State - until late into the night. That game, along with Mississippi State-LSU and Florida State-Clemson were the highlights for me, but it was an overall great day of football.
3. After moving up four spots the previous week, Ole Miss remained No. 10 in the latest Associated Press poll, one of six SEC West teams ranked in the top 17. Think about that, approximately one of every three teams in the top 17 are from the same division of the SEC. That's insane.
4. Among those six SEC West teams is Mississippi State, which entered the top 25 at No. 14 after its road win over LSU. Its inclusion marks the first time since the final poll of 1999 that both Mississippi schools are ranked in the Associated Press top 25.
5. Oct. 4 is shaping up to be a potentially huge day in Mississippi with No. 10 Ole Miss hosting No. 3 Alabama and No. 14 Mississippi State hosting No. 6 Texas A&M. Standing in the way are Memphis (at Ole Miss) and Arkansas (vs. Texas A&M in Dallas).
6. When asked what he wanted to get out of the bye week, head coach Hugh Freeze said he wanted to build depth and work on two-minute, third-down and red-zone offense. Those are some areas to watch in the Rebels' matchup with Memphis on Saturday.
7. Speaking of Memphis, the Tigers are 2-1 to start the season for the first time since 2004. That was also the last time Memphis defeated Ole Miss. Don't forget, earlier this season, Memphis put a scare into then-No. 11 UCLA in Los Angeles before falling short 42-35.
8. Much has been said and written about Bo Wallace's start to the 2014 season. Here's a nice story on Wallace from Chase Parham of Rebel Grove/Rivals.com earlier this week. Check it out.
9. Following the program's first College World Series appearance since 1972 and a top-four national finish, Ole Miss baseball head coach Mike Bianco's contract was extended to run through the 2018 season. Well-deserved for the all-time winningest coach in Ole Miss history.
10. The new ball that will be used in college baseball this season, which features lowered seams, is definitely going to make a difference. While it doesn't seem to come off the bat any hotter, it does carry further. In talking with coaches and players after Saturday's scrimmage, there were a few balls hit Friday and Saturday that would have been fly ball outs last year. This will certainly be a topic again as we get closer to the season, but this is a good thing for college baseball.
11. Former Rebels Aaron Barrett (Washington Nationals) and Lance Lynn (St. Louis) have clinched berths in the postseason, with Barrett and the Nationals having already clinched the NL East Division. Tip of the hat to them.
12. Sticking with the theme of former Rebels in the big leagues, how about a shout out to Chris Coghlan of the Chicago Cubs and Drew Pomeranz of the Oakland A's? Coghlan went 4-4 with two home runs and four RBIs Saturday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, his second home run, a two-run shot in the eighth inning, proved to be the game-winner. Pomeranz, meanwhile, finished with a strong line against the Philadelphia Phillies in a start, going 5.0 innings, with one hit, zero runs, zero earned runs, two walks and six strikeouts.
13. Amory, Mississippi, native Addie Forbus scored in the first minute, and the Ole Miss defense made it stand up, as the Rebels defeated Mississippi State 1-0 to retain possession of the Magnolia Cup. It marked the Rebels' first win in Starkville since 2009. Congrats to Coach Matt Mott and the girls.
14. With a 4-0 weekend, the Ole Miss volleyball team remained undefeated at 14-0, matching last year's win total ahead of the start of SEC play. The Rebels open SEC play with matches at South Carolina and Florida, which will likely serve as a measuring stick for the team after being pushed to five sets just once in the nonconference.
15. The Ole Miss athletics department will be honoring the life and legacy of former Ole Miss football player Chucky Mullins this weekend. He will be inducted posthumously into the M-Club Hall of Fame and Ole Miss will rename Coliseum Drive "Chucky Mullins Drive." For more on the celebration of Chucky Mullins, click here.
16. In case you missed it, here's Episode 4 of The Season: Ole Miss Football, which includes a touching tribute to the late Stan Sandroni.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Sept. 8-14, 2014
- Ole Miss captured the Magnolia Invitational this past weekend to improve to 10-0, its best start in school history.
- The Rebels downed UAB and Mercer 3-0 and then defeated Jacksonville State 3-1 after dropping the first set for the first time all year.
- Freshman Lexi Thompson was named the tournament MVP, while Ty Laporte and Aubrey Edie joined her on the all-tournament team.
- Thompson averaged 2.80 kills, 3.00 digs and 0.50 blocks and aces per set to lead the Rebels to the title. She tallied a career-high 18 kills, and a career-best 17 digs in the 3-1 win against Jacksonville State. With the Rebels dropping the first set for the first time all year, Thompson tallied 7 of her 18 kills in the second set, as the Rebels evened the match.
- Laporte finished the tournament with 28 kills and 9 blocks and hit .375. Edie posted 122 assists (12.2 per set), to earn her third straight all-tournament team honor.
- Ole Miss used a high-octane offense and suffocating defense to claim a 56-15 win over Louisiana-Lafayette in its home opener Saturday.
- The Rebels (3-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) moved up from No. 14 to No. 10 in the Associated Press poll, their first top-10 ranking since week four of the 2009 season.
- The Rebel offense produced its second-highest scoring output of the Hugh Freeze era and accumulated 554 total yards in the rout.
- Bo Wallace completed 23 of 28 passes for 316 yards and four touchdowns, notching his third straight 300-yard performance and the 10th of his career, which ties him with Eli Manning for the school record.
- Vince Sanders set career highs of eight catches, 125 yards and two touchdowns, all in the first half.
- The Rebels have surrendered only two touchdowns to their opponents this year and rank fourth nationally with just 10.3 points allowed per game.
- The Rebel defense snagged three more interceptions against the Ragin' Cajuns and now leads the nation with eight this season.
- The Ole Miss soccer team went 2-0 on the week with a pair of shutout victories over Austin Peay (2-0) and Middle Tennessee (4-0) on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
- Junior forward Olivia Harrison led the Rebels against the Lady Governors on Friday with a pair of goals in a three-minute span. Ole Miss out-shot Austin Peay 18-7 on the road in Clarksville, Tennessee.
- Unlike Ole Miss' win over Austin Peay, the Rebels spread out the scoring against Middle Tennessee with four different goal scorers, including sophomore Georgia Russell's first career goal, and one goal each from Addie Forbus, Gretchen Harknett and Jennifer Miller.
- The two shutouts by senior goalkeeper Kelly McCormick were her first two of the season and give her 19 for her career.
- Freshman Arianne Hartono won the Country Club of Little Rock Invitational on Sunday for her first title with the Rebels. In the final, she defeated Houston's top player, Desponita Vogasari, who is ranked No. 68 in the preseason ITA Singles Rankings.
- Before winning the singles title, Hartono teamed with junior Mai El Kamash to capture the doubles title in their first tournament together. The duo defeated 59th-ranked and the top-seeded duo of Arkansas, Yang Pang and Sasha Shkorupeieva, 8-6 in the final. On Saturday, Hartono and El Kamash took out the No. 2 seed from the University of Houston.
- The Rebels opened the 2014-15 season with the Memphis FedEx Intercollegiate (Sept. 8-9). Ole Miss took third-place with a score of 886 and Abby Newton claimed medalist honors. The third-place finish was Ole Miss' highest finish since taking runner-up honors at the UNC Tar Heel Classic in 2012-13.
- Newton's win at the Memphis FedEx Intercollegiate was the first individual title for the Rebels since Natalie Gleadall won the Cougar Classic in 2010.
- Several Rebels set new career marks at the tournament. Newton's second-round score of 68 was an 18-hole career-low, while her three-day tournament score of 210 was also a new 54-hole career low. Ole Miss' 886 is the sixth lowest total for the Rebels.
- The Ole Miss men's golf team claimed fourth-place at the Sam Hall Intercollegiate in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
- Junior Connor Davis finished the tournament with a career-low, three-round score of 208. He tied for fifth-place, which is a career-best for the two-year letterwinner.
- Senior Joe Lewis and sophomore Ben Wolcott fired career-low tournament scores of 212 and 213, respectively.
Men's Cross Country
- The Ole Miss men's cross country team grabbed a third-place finish in the Commodore Classic, besting both SEC rivals Mississippi State and Vanderbilt at the event.
- Just as in the first meet of the season, freshman Mark Robertson posted the best time for the Rebels. His time of 25:00.31 in the 8K was good for 10th overall in the field of 242 runners.
- The Rebels have a first-place and third-place finish on the season, while sending only a portion of the team to the meets.
Women's Cross Country
- The Ole Miss women's cross country team placed sixth in a field of 17 teams at the Commodore Classic.
- For the second time in as many events, Mary Alex England finished with the best run for Ole Miss. Her time of 17.23.33 in the 5K placed eighth overall of 260 runners.
This is the third installment of Observations from the Best Seat in the House. The idea of this weekly feature will be to bring you all some of our observations from the previous week in Ole Miss Sports. This week was a combined effort with Metz Camfield. Let's get into it:
1. Another week, another unbeaten record in Ole Miss Sports. The football, volleyball and soccer teams went a combined 6-0 on the weekend, highlighted by volleyball improving to 10-0, its best start in school history, and football breaking into the top 10 of the AP poll.
2. It was a good looking crowd Saturday as 60,937 filled Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and were treated to a fantastic, and convincing, opening half. We know Rebel Nation will turn out again in two weeks against Memphis on Sept. 27.
3. On the field, Ole Miss has gone as Bo Wallace has gone, and Wallace leads the nation in completion percentage (75.5 percent), including 80.5 percent of his passes since the start of the second half against Boise State.
4. Wallace's complete stat line since the start of the second half against Boise State: 58-of-72, 875 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception.
"It's what I'm expecting out of myself," Wallace said. "I'm trying to get in a rhythm as soon as I walk out. Get in a rhythm, and I have felt good the past couple of games. I'm playing how I expect myself to play. I have to continue it each week."
5. With the help of long touchdown runs from I'Tavius Mathers and Jaylen Walton, the Rebels eclipsed 200 yards rushing for the first time this season. Co-offensive coordinator Dan Werner was pleased with the explosive plays in the running game, but he wants more consistent three and four-yard runs. He also noted opposing defense have been selling out to stop the run.
"I keep saying it every week, and it doesn't look like it's great, but we did have a bunch of yards," Werner said. "It opens up the passing game. If they're going to take the run away, we're going to pass it and get some big plays."
6. It's not Shark Week anymore on the Discovery Channel, but it seems like episodes keep airing during Ole Miss football games with that vicious Landshark Defense. The Rebels have allowed just two touchdowns in their first three games and only 189 passing yards in their past two games.
7. The pass defense ranks second in the SEC and 7th nationally, giving up just 4.4 yards per attempt. The biggest area of concern appears to be the run defense, as opponents are averaging 4.4 yards per rush, which is 12th in the SEC and 84th nationally.
8. Starting cornerback Mike Hilton and Senquez Golson continue to show up and make plays. Hilton picked off his first pass of the season and leads the team with 16 tackles and four pass break-ups, while Golson picked off two passes, including one that he returned 59 yards for a touchdown.
9. With their three interceptions, Ole Miss leads the nation with eight interceptions and ranks fifth nationally with nine turnovers forced. Individually, Golson is one of five players with three interceptions on the season.
10. With a 56-15 win over Louisiana-Lafayette, Ole Miss moved up four spots to No. 10 in the latest Associated Press poll, good for fifth among SEC Western Division teams. The Rebels play each of the other four teams in a five-week stretch starting with No. 3 Alabama on Oct. 4.
11. The SEC West is a combined 18-0 against non-SEC West teams, including wins over Boise State, South Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Texas Tech. The lone loss among SEC West teams this season was Arkansas' 45-21 loss at fellow SEC West team Auburn.
12. It was in doubt for a couple of sets, but the Ole Miss volleyball team rallied to defeat Jacksonville State 3-1 to capture the Magnolia Invitational and improve to 10-0 on the season. The Rebels have four more nonconference matches, at home in the Rebel Classic, before entering SEC play.
13. Freshman Lexi Thompson helped Ole Miss through the second and third sets, putting down a combined 13 kills in the two sets, to give the Rebels a 2-1 lead in the match against Jacksonville State. She finished with a career-high 18 kills and 17 digs and earned tournament MVP honors.
"I expected a change, but I didn't expect this big of a change," Thompson said. "I knew that we would do better, and I was excited to see what we would do with a new coach, and we're going well beyond any expectations."
14. After battling injuries for much of her Ole Miss career, Georgia Russell scored her first collegiate goal in a 4-0 win over MTSU Sunday. It was a cool moment for the Tupelo, Mississippi, native, one of four native Mississippians on this year's roster. Russell was one of three players to score her first goal of the season, along with Jennifer Miller and Gretchen Harknett.
"It was a struggle," Russell said. "I had to get back in shape and get my touch back on the ball. I hurt my ankle last season. It's been a struggle and I'm getting there. It looks like things are coming together. I'm 100 percent healthy, and I want to keep it that way."
15. A couple of interesting road trips on the horizon for Ole Miss soccer this weekend. On Friday, the Rebels travel to Mississippi State for a match that will be televised on the SEC Network. On Sunday, they play at UCF, the alma mater of Ole Miss head coach Matt Mott.
16. In case you missed it, here's Episode 3 of The Season: Ole Miss Football and photo gallery and infographic from the win over Louisiana-Lafayette.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Sept. 1-7, 2014
- Ole Miss moved up to No. 14 in the AP poll and No. 15 in the USA Today Coaches poll after its dominating 41-3 victory at Vanderbilt on Saturday.
- It was the Rebels' largest margin of victory against an SEC opponent since beating Mississippi State 45-0 in 2008.
- Ole Miss ranks fifth in the nation in scoring defense (8.0 ppg) and second nationally with five interceptions.
- Ole Miss outgained Vandy 331-76 in total offense at halftime and finished 547-167. The Rebels also piled up 34 first downs -- the most in a game under Freeze.
- Vanderbilt didn't get past midfield against the Rebels until the final couple minutes of the third quarter, and the Commodores had to settle for a field goal after recovering DeVante Kincade's fumble at the Ole Miss 5 in the fourth quarter.
- The Rebels captured the Memphis Invitational this past weekend, defeating Memphis (3-2), Arkansas State (3-1) and UT-Martin (3-1) to win their second consecutive tournament title to open the year.
- Junior Nakeyta Clair, sophomore Aubrey Edie and junior Ty Laporte were named to the All-Tournament team, while Clair earned Most Valuable Player honors for the second week in a row.
- Clair finished the tournament with 55 kills, nine blocks and hit .463. She posted double-digit kills in all three matches, including a career-high 20 in the win over UT-Martin. Laporte finished with 13 blocks (1.00 bps) and equaled her career-best (eight) in the win against Memphis. Edie tallied 149 assists (11.40 aps).
- The Rebels are 7-0 to start the year for the first time since the 2007 season. They are also the only SEC team still undefeated on the season.
- For the weekend, the Rebels averaged 14.00 kills per set and 1.85 blocks per set. In the tournament finale, the Rebels hit .312 to defeat UT-Martin 3-1.
- Senior Cara Fisher was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week last week for her performance at the Buffalo Classic.
- Olivia Harrison tallied her first career hat trick, including the golden goal, to give Ole Miss a 3-2 double overtime win over Minnesota on Friday.
- Harrison scored two goals in three minutes Friday night against the Gophers to tie the match for the Rebels.
- Harrison and sophomore Addie Forbus had two of the three hat tricks recorded by an SEC team this weekend following Harrison's performance on Friday night.
- Jessica Hiskey tallied her third goal of the season in a 1-1 draw with Memphis on Sunday night as the Rebels went undefeated on the weekend.
This is the second installment of Observations from the Best Seat in the House. The idea of this weekly feature will be to bring you all some of our observations from the previous week in Ole Miss sports. Let's get into it:
1. What a weekend. The football, volleyball and soccer teams went a combined 5-0-1 on the weekend, headlined by the 15th-ranked football team's 41-3 win over Vanderbilt at Nashville's LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans.
2. Let's start there. Head coach Hugh Freeze may have downplayed the play of his team in his postgame press conference, but Saturday's win over Vanderbilt may have been the Rebels' most complete performance in the Hugh Freeze era.
3. Since the first half against Boise State, Bo Wallace has completed 35-of-44 passes for 559 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Between the Boise State second half and Vanderbilt first half, he threw for 488 yards, which would have broken Archie Manning's single-game school record.
"He didn't make any bad decisions, or anything that was even close," said co-offensive coordinator Dan Werner of Wallace's performance against Vanderbilt.
4. A lot of it is the small sample size, but here are some more fun stats: Bo Wallace is seventh nationally averaging 10.7 yards per attempt and has accounted for a nation-best 15 passing plays of 20 yards of more. That's a big credit to Wallace getting the ball in the hands of his talented group of receivers.
"We had a good game plan, and guys were running wide open the whole night," said Wallace after the Vanderbilt game. "Guys made some plays after the catch, and we put up some yards."
5. Another note: The 41-3 win over Vanderbilt was the Rebels' largest margin of victory in an SEC game since defeating Mississippi State 45-0 in 2008.
6. On a very related note, the margin of victory (38) was also former football player Chucky Mullins' jersey number, while the total number of points (44) was also former Vanderbilt football player Brad Gaines' jersey number. The SEC Storied documentary "It's Time," centered on the the inspirational friendship between Mullins and Gaines, debuted on Thursday on the SEC Network.
7. Robert Nkemdiche called the defense's performance in the season opener against Boise State the new normal. The defense showed up again, as they allowed only a fourth-quarter field goal and 167 yards of total offense against Vanderbilt. Through two games, the Rebels have allowed just 4.19 yards per play and just eight plays of 20 yards of more.
"We stopped the run primarily and we got some pressure on the quarterback and we didn't give up explosive plays and I think that's key for us this year," head coach Hugh Freeze said after the win over Vanderbilt. "We want to make people drive to earn points and I think we did that well."
8. Speaking of Nkemdiche, the former consensus No. 1 overall recruit recorded his first sack of the season, the third of his career, against Vanderbilt. It likely won't be his last.
9. It may get lost in the team's overall performance, but Cliff Coleman may have turned in the play of the game, making his first interception and returning it 39 yards for his first career touchdown to keep the momentum in the Rebels' favor and stretch their lead to 27-0 early in the third quarter.
10. Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack earlier said this freshman class was a hit across the board. Through two games, Kendarius Webster has been the one who has stood out. He had a well-timed pass breakup late in the game against Boise State and had two massive tackles to keep the shutout intact against Vanderbilt.
11. The reigning national punter of the week, Will Gleeson did not see the field, as Ole Miss did not punt in a game for the first time since 2002. Andrew Fletcher connected on each of his first two career field-goal attempts, one from 31 yards and another 25 yards, while Gary Wunderlich made his collegiate debut kicking off four times with three touchbacks and one kick out of bounds.
12. College GameDay producer Lee Fitting has said the Ole Miss looks like a strong a candidate for a visit from College GameDay on Oct. 4 if Ole Miss and Alabama are undefeated. It would be their first trip to the Grove. Home games against Louisiana-Lafayette and Memphis stand in the way for Ole Miss, while home games against Southern Miss and Florida stand in the way for Alabama.
13. With that said, don't sleep on Memphis. Under second-year head coach Justin Fuente, Memphis put a scare into No. 11 UCLA before falling short 42-35. The Tigers rolled up 469 yards of total offense, led by second-year quarterback Paxton Lynch who threw for 305 yards and accounted for two touchdowns.
14. The Ole Miss volleyball team is the last undefeated team in the SEC. With a 3-0 weekend to win the Memphis Invitational, the Rebels improved to 7-0 on the season for the first time since 2007, when they started a school-best 9-0.
15. In their first match of the weekend at Memphis, the Rebels saved a match point down 14-13 in the fifth and decisive set before scoring the next two points to clinch the match. Those are the kinds of wins where you can see the mentality change that first-year head coach Steven McRoberts has talked about since arriving in Oxford.
16. The Ole Miss soccer team had their own share of dramatics this weekend. Down 2-0, Olivia Harrison netted a pair of goals within four minutes of each other in the final 12 minutes of regulation to force extra time against Minnesota. She capped off her hat trick with the golden goal in the second overtime period.
17. Even more impressive, it was the second straight game where an Ole Miss player scored a hat trick, with Addie Forbus scoring three goals in their previous match against Louisiana-Lafayette.
18. The NFL is back, and so is the large contingent of former Rebels among its ranks. Mike Wallace caught a game-tying touchdown, as the Miami Dolphins scored 23 unanswered to rally to defeat the New England Patriots. On the defensive side of the ball, Greg Hardy, who was third in the NFL in sacks last year, recorded his first sack of the season, while Patrick Willis intercepted a pass and led his team in tackles.
19. Looking ahead, there's another big weekend on campus upcoming with volleyball's first three home matches of the season as part of the Magnolia Invitational on Thursday and Friday, football's home opener against Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday, and a home soccer match against Middle Tennessee State on Sunday.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Aug. 25-31, 2014
No. 18 Ole Miss opened the 2014 season with a 35-13 win over Boise
State in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Atlanta's Georgia Dome.
The Rebels led 7-6 entering the fourth quarter when senior quarterback
Bo Wallace and the offense exploded for 28 fourth-quarter points to
cruise to victory.
- Wallace passed for 387 yards and four
touchdowns, and receivers Laquon Treadwell and Cody Core both set career
highs and went over 100 receiving yards.
- The Rebel defense picked
off the Broncos four times, including Cody Prewitt's 10th career
interception that ranks him top 10 in school history.
- Logging his
first start, junior wide receiver Cody Core finished with four catches
for a career-high 110 yards and his first two career touchdowns.
Ole Miss kicked off the Steven McRoberts era this past weekend by
winning the Buffalo Classic. The Rebels defeated Canisius, Siena, Lehigh
and Buffalo all by 3-0 scores to capture their first tournament title
away from home since 2007.
- The Rebels started the year 4-0 for the
first time since 2007 and swept their first four matches for the first
time since 1984.
- Melanie Crow, Aubrey Edie and Nakyeta Clair were
named to the All-Tournament Team, while Clair earned Most Valuable
- The Rebels averaged 15.0 kills per set, led by
Crow, who posted 46 kills for an average of 3.83 kills per set. Crow
came up with several big kills in Sunday's win over Buffalo to stave off
the Bulls and also added 13 blocks, 7 service aces and hit .320 for the
- Clair finished the tournament with 42 kills and 13 blocks and hit .381, while Edie tallied 149 assists (12.42 per set).
The Ole Miss men's cross country team opened the 2014 season on a high
note, tying for first at the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic. Three
runners finished in the top 10 for the Rebels.
- In his first event
as a Rebel, freshman Mark Robertson recorded the best time for Ole Miss
in the four-mile run. His time of 20:07.74 was good for second overall
in the event.
- The first-place finish was against a field consisting of four regionally ranked teams.
- The Rebel women's cross country team finished third in the Twilight Classic, ahead of two other regionally ranked teams.
- Sophomore Mary Alex England's fifth-place finish in the 5K led the way for the Rebels.
- Of the 10 Rebels who competed in the opening event, five were freshmen and four were sophomores.
Sophomore Addie Forbus turned in her first hat trick and added two
assists to help the Rebels defeat Louisiana-Lafayette 5-1 on Sunday.
- Junior Jessica Hiskey added a pair of goals against Louisiana-Lafayette as the Rebels improved to 2-1-1 on the season.
The Rebels split on the weekend, dropping a road contest at Louisville
1-0 on Friday before picking up the win over the Ragin' Cajuns to close
out play in week two of competition.
This is a new concept we've created for the Ole Miss Sports Blog that we're calling Observations from the Best Seat in the House. The idea of this weekly feature will be to bring you all some of our observations from the previous week in Ole Miss sports. Some of these will be stat nuggets, some of these will be links to great work from other people, and some will simply be casual observations about a game/subject/whatever. Sometimes I'll be posting these weekly features, sometimes it will be Austin Miller, and sometimes we'll team up for it. We'll keep it professional, of course, but we're also going to have some fun with this because it is a blog after all. Let's get started:
1.) Great season-opening win by the Ole Miss football team. Was it always pretty? No. Does it matter? Not really. At the end of the day, the Rebels are 1-0, which is a fact half the teams in the country cannot say.
2.) He plays a position that doesn't always (OK, ever) get a whole lot of attention, but can we please give a shout out to Will Gleeson? The Punter from Down Under was a beast Thursday night against Boise State. Not only did he punt for distance, he also punted with precision, landing three of his four punts inside the Broncos' 20-yard line, including a 70-yarder that stopped at the 7.
3.) Here's a nice story on Gleeson from Hugh Kellenberger of The Clarion-Ledger from back on Aug. 10. Check it out
4.) We had read and heard about the Ole Miss defense throughout fall camp, but when they're going against the Ole Miss offense there (obviously) aren't any big hits so as to prevent injury. Well, my guess is those defensive players had a little energy built up. There were some absolutely massive hits Thursday from a number of folks. Check out this Vine showing three of the bigger hits: https://vine.co/v/MlV2vObKAxE
5.) In camp, defensive line coach Chris Kiffin said he expected really big things from sophomore defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche. The former consensus No. 1 overall recruit didn't disappoint. While his stats weren't necessarily eye-opening, if you watched the game you saw how much attention he drew from the Broncos, which thus freed up his teammates for three sacks and 10 tackles for loss. I really liked this quote from Nkemdiche after the game: "The Rebel defense really made a statement and are really getting an identity. You better get used to it. It's the new normal for us."
6.) Senquez Golson had a big-time game for the Rebels against Boise State. The senior from Pascagoula, Mississippi, made a game-high tying eight solo tackles, including one tackle for a loss and he also had a key interception in the end zone.
7.) Speaking of that interception in the end zone, the key to the game may have been the Rebels' defense bending but never breaking in the first half. Boise State had two drives stall inside the Ole Miss 5-yard line. In total, the Broncos ran seven plays inside the Ole Miss 5 and came away with just three points. If Boise State scores two touchdowns there the whole game could have been different.
8.) Stop me if you've heard this before: Cody Prewitt picked off a pass. The first team All-American picked up right where he left off a year ago when he led the Southeastern Conference with six interceptions.
9.) While there wound up being a lot of good that came from Thursday's game, there were also a couple head scratchers. Fourteen penalties is a whale of a number, first game or not, and that's surely something Coach Freeze and the rest of the Rebel coaching staff will be focusing on prior to their next game at Vanderbilt. Of the 14 penalties, half came as a result of false start calls ... in the first half.
10.) Ole Miss will also look to kick start its running game its next time out. Ole Miss finished the day with 34 rushes for just 71 yards and a touchdown. I, for one, believe the Ole Miss running back corps is a position of strength and the remainder of the year will be a different story.
11.) Here's a fun fact: With Thursday's win, Ole Miss Football is now 8-0 all-time in the month of August.
12.) Did you see Josh McCoy's photo gallery of the football game? Do yourself a favor and click here to check it out: http://www.olemisssports.com/view.gal?id=164946
. He's the best photographer in the biz, folks. You can also follow him on Twitter at @OleMissPix
13.) What a great weekend for the Ole Miss volleyball team as it kicked off the Steven McRoberts era in grand fashion by going 4-0 in Buffalo, New York, at the Buffalo Classic.
14.) The Rebels didn't drop a set throughout the entirety of the tournament. The Rebels' 4-0 start is their best start since 2007, and it's their first time opening a season without dropping a set in their first four matches since 1984. Wow. The volleyball team will play in three matches next week (Sept. 5-6) in nearby Memphis, Tennessee, before hosting two tournaments in back-to-back weekends Sept. 11-12 and Sept. 18-20.
15.) The Ole Miss soccer team also continued its strong start to the year with a 1-1 weekend that saw it bounce back from a 1-0 loss at Louisville on Friday with a 5-1 win over Louisiana-Lafayette at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium on Sunday. Love seeing a team respond from its first loss with five goals and a victory.
16.) The soccer team is now 2-1-1 after facing four tough opponents to open the season. Come on out to support your Rebels this upcoming week for two home games against Minnesota and Memphis on Sept. 5 and Sept. 7, respectively. It's a fun environment and the team really feeds off a strong crowd.
We Are Ole Miss from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.
In case you missed it, "Forward Together: We Are Ole Miss" from earlier this year:
Forward Together: We Are Ole Miss from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.
The SEC Network will debut at 5 p.m. CT Thursday with its flagship news and information show, SEC Now, live from all 14 SEC campuses.
The debut of SEC Now on Thursday will be a three-hour special hosted by Dari Nowkhah and Maria Taylor, and they will be joined by Brent Musburger, Paul Finebaum, Greg McElroy and Booger McFarland. There will be live whip-around reporting from each of the school's 14 campuses, with reporter Kaylee Hartung stationed at Ole Miss.
The three-hour special will be followed by the premiere of "SEC Storied: The Stars of Aligned" at 8 p.m. CT and will feature Shepard Smith representing Ole Miss.
The first two weeks of the network will also feature customized programming to feature 14 schools in 14 days. The "Best of Ole Miss" block of programming will air on Monday, Aug. 18 starting at 11 p.m. CT and will include "SEC Storied: Book of Manning," the 2008 game vs. Florida, the 2002 game vs. Florida, the 2003 game vs. Auburn and the 2013 game vs. LSU. The first two weeks will also include the soccer team's season opener vs. Georgia on Friday, Aug. 22 at 6 p.m. CT.
During the fall season, Ole Miss has 10 games scheduled to be featured live on the SEC Network, with the possibility of that number increasing with additional football games being picked up by the channel during the season. Ole Miss also has 30 total soccer and volleyball matches that will be offered exclusively as SEC Network+ events on WatchESPN and SECNetwork.com.
More from Ole Miss Sports:
Ole Miss to be Featured Heavily on SEC Network
Ole Miss-SEC Network Info
More from ESPN:
SEC Network Debuts with School-Specific Programming for First Two Weeks on Air
SEC Network and SEC Network + Now Available on WatchESPN
More from SEC Network:
The SEC Network Channel Finder
Ole Miss All-Access Preview
With the launch of the SEC Network just eight days away, ESPN released new animations for each of the 14 schools in the Southeastern Conference.
From the ESPN MediaZone press release:
Each school worked closely with the network to develop authentic and
timeless school IDs, including a 15-second "Quad" ID. All 14 Quad IDs
open with an iconic campus image which will then circulate into
legendary and current athletic imagery of coaches, players, fans and
school tradition. Each ID ends on a virtual SEC Network campus quad that
encapsulates the pageantry and passion of the individual school.
Below is the animation for Ole Miss. To check out the animations of the other 13 schools in the conference, go here
The United States' run in the 2014 World Cup came to an end with a 2-1 extra-time loss to Belgium in the Round of 16. For many fans, it's also the end of the road, but for a few Ole Miss coaches, current players and former players, their teams march on to the quarterfinals, which start Friday.
The Round of 16 match between the United States and Belgium averaged 16,491,000 viewers and a 9.8 US HH rating, making it the second most viewed men's soccer match in the United States ever, behind the 18,220,000 viewers and 9.6 US HH rating for the opening round match between the United States and Portugal.
For comparison, just two 2013 college football games -- the BCS Championship game between Florida State and Auburn (14.8) and the Rose Bowl between Stanford and Michigan State (10.2) -- outdrew those two United States soccer matches.
Ole Miss soccer head coach Matt Mott has closely followed the World Cup and looks for a bump in attendance and interest, as the Rebels kick off the 2014 season with the first-ever live event broadcast on the SEC Network when they host Georgia on Friday, August 22 at 5 p.m.
"This coming fall it will have a great effect," said Mott on Head to Head Radio, Tuesday. "It will help our attendance and help attendance throughout the country. People are excited about it. We're growing in fans all the time and growing in kids who are playing. We're so close. The World Cup will end here in the next couple of weeks, and a few weeks after that we get going. World Cup years are always great for our sport."
As for those with rooting interests whose native countries in the World Cup, former soccer player Rafaelle Souza and volleyball assistant coach Ronaldo Pacheco have represented Brazil for their respective national teams.
Souza, who now plays for the Houston Dash of the National Women's Soccer League, made her first and only appearance for Brazil in 2012. She may also figure in the mix for the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada (June 6-July 5).
Pacheco grew up playing soccer, then briefly basketball, before the start of his volleyball playing career (1983-2001), where he played on 10 different teams, including the Brazilian National Team.
"Every single boy in Brazil wants to play soccer," Pacheco said. "I was too tall when I was 13 and I did not have enough skills to play soccer. Playing soccer in Brazil is like playing basketball here in the United States. There are too many good players. To succeed, you have to be good plus you have to be lucky. When I was younger, I played every single day. We would play in the streets or go to the park and play."
After his playing career, Pacheco served as an assistant coach for the women's national team from 2004-07 and helped Brazil to a fourth-place finish at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. It's that coaching experience he brings to the Ole Miss volleyball staff, having most recently spent the past two seasons at Tulsa as an assistant coach.
"It's really nice, before the game, to listen to your national anthem," Pacheco said. "I loved playing for the national team. I loved the pressure. It's not just go and play. You have to perform. People will say this or say that, and you have to learn to deal with all that. When I worked as an assistant coach, in 2004, it was almost like soccer because the soccer [team] wasn't doing well at that time, and volleyball had a stretch where the men's national team won three world championships in a row."
Like Souza and Pacheco, women's tennis head coach Mark Beyers grew up around soccer in his native Netherlands. His father played professional soccer, and he remembers going to AFC Ajax matches when he was younger.
"It's hard to keep up with all the clubs in Holland," Beyers said. "I try to follow them, but it's hard. With the World Cup, you get to see all the games. Even though I live in the U.S., I'm still Dutch. When you watch the national team play, that patriotism comes up. The other day, the game against Mexico, it was a mixture of English and Dutch being yelled at the TV."
A few other players and former players with ties to teams remaining in the World Cup are rising women's tennis senior Iris Verboven, also from the Netherlands, senior Marie-Pierre Bakima from France, freshman middle distance runner Julius Lembke from Germany, and former men's tennis players Marcel and Chris Thiemann from Germany, who have remained at Ole Miss while working on graduate degrees in accounting.
"In soccer, you have a lot of trash-talking and bragging rights if you do win," said Beyers, mentioning the Thiemann's with Germany. "It's a lot of fun. I'm excited that the United States is embracing it so much. The ratings are off the charts."
Matt Mott On Head To Head Radio (starts at 50:10 mark)
Rafaelle Souza Talks World Cup Brazil
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
May 12-18, 2014
- Ole Miss claimed the Southeastern Conference Western Division title and the overall No. 2 seed at the SEC Tournament with a series win at Texas A&M this past weekend.
- The Rebels posted a 40-16 record in the regular season with a 19-11 mark in SEC play. It's the fifth 40-win series in the Bianco era and sixth in program history.
- Will Allen and Austin Anderson were named semifinalists for the Dick Howser Trophy by the NCBWS, presented annually to the organization's Player of the Year.
- Allen was also named one of 15 semifinalists for the Johnny Bench Award honoring the top collegiate catcher in the nation.
- Ole Miss will open SEC Tournament play Wednesday in game two of the day against the winner of the previous day's game between Arkansas and Texas A&M.
Track & Field
- The No. 18 nationally ranked Ole Miss men achieved their best finish in 30 years with a fifth-place showing at the SEC Outdoor Championships.
- Senior Ricky Robertson and junior Sam Kendricks stole the show with sensational SEC titles within a couple of minutes of each other Sunday in the high jump (7-3.25) and pole vault (18-6), respectively.
- Robertson earned the SEC Commissioner's Trophy for scoring the most points at the meet (23), as he placed first in the high jump, second in the triple jump and fourth in the long jump. It was the second time in his career to win the award (2012 indoors), and he's the second straight Rebel to win the outdoor award (Isiah Young last year).
- Kendricks set a Kentucky facility record with his winning pole vault of 18-6. He captured his first SEC outdoor title and second league crown overall.
- Freshmen Robert Domanic, Sean Tobin and Trevor Gilley all scored team points for Ole Miss, led by Domanic's runner-up finish in the 1,500 meters (3:49.02) and Tobin's third-place showing in the 5,000 meters (14:16.74).
- The Rebels scored 78 points, including a whopping 67 on Sunday's final day of competition. It was their second-highest point total at an SEC outdoor meet in program history.
- The NCAA East Preliminary is up next. The top 48 athletes in each individual event and top 24 relays from the East region will compete May 29-31 in Jacksonville, Florida, for the right to advance to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon, June 11-14.
- Nik Scholtz begins his quest for a national championship as the NCAA Singles Championship begins Wednesday. Scholtz is seeded 9-16 in singles for the third year in a row. In 2012, he reached the quarterfinals.
- Head Coach Billy Chadwick will be inducted into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Hall of Fame on Wednesday night in Athens, Georgia. He becomes the second representative from Ole Miss to be inducted, joining 1995 NCAA doubles champion Mahesh Bhupathi, who entered the hall of fame in 2010.
- Senior Johan Backstrom was named to the Capital One Academic All-District At-Large Team for the second year in a row. The Uppsala, Sweden, native posted a 4.0 grade point average this spring and boasts a 3.92 cumulative GPA.
- Associate head coach Toby Hansson, who will take over as head coach after Chadwick's retirement, completed his first recruiting class last week, signing the top recruit from Croatia (Zvonimir Babic) and the top recruit from Egypt (Mazen Osama). They join Sweden's top recruit, Gustav Hansson, who signed in the fall.
- Junior standout golfer Blake Morris competed in the NCAA Auburn Regional in Auburn, Alabama, over the weekend.
- Morris carded a three-round total of 235 and tied for 64th-place overall.
- This concludes the 2013-14 men's golf season.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
May 5-11, 2014
- Ole Miss maintained its lead in the SEC Western Division standings with a series win over Georgia this past weekend.
- Junior outfielder Auston Bousfield continues to lead the SEC in batting average and hits, and drove in both runs in Sunday's 2-1 win in 10 innings.
- Junior right-handed pitcher Chris Ellis improved to 8-0 on the year with the win over Georgia in the series opener Friday.
- With the series win, Ole Miss is now tied with Georgia in the all-time series 37-37.
- Ole Miss closes out the regular season at Arkansas State on Tuesday and at Texas A&M this weekend.
- The Rebels rallied to defeat No. 30 Northwestern 4-1 to advance to the second round of the NCAA Championships before falling in a tight match to No. 13 Notre Dame 4-2. The Rebels' season ends at 16-14 overall. They made their 21st consecutive NCAA appearance.
- Freshman Ricardo Jorge went 3-0 in singles and doubles in the NCAAs, winning both his singles matches in straight sets, to put the Rebels on the board in both matches after they had dropped the doubles point.
- Senior Johan Backstrom rallied to clinch the win over Northwestern, the second time he has clinched a win in the NCAA Championships.
- With the Rebels' team season coming to a close, the 35-year career of head coach Billy Chadwick comes to an end with five overall SEC championships, 10 SEC West titles, three SEC Tournament championships, 23 NCAA appearances, one NCAA finals appearance, four NCAA Final Four appearances, nine NCAA quarterfinal appearances and 16 Sweet Sixteen appearances.
- Junior Nik Scholtz will compete in the NCAA Singles Championship beginning May 21 in Athens, Ga. He is seeded 9-16, marking the third straight year for the South African to be seeded.
- The Rebels came back to defeat No. 26 Texas Tech in an exciting 4-3 match to advance to the second round of the NCAA Championships before falling to No. 3 UCLA 4-0. The Rebels ended the season at 14-10 overall. They made their sixth straight NCAA appearance under head coach Mark Beyers.
- Junior Julia Jones rallied after dropping a close first set tiebreaker to win 6-2 in the third and clinch the opening win for the Rebels. The win improved the series lead against Texas Tech to 3-1. Jones finished the year with a team-leading 27-11 overall record, 16-7 in dual matches. She earned All-SEC second team honors after going 8-5 in the SEC. Jones also teamed with freshman Zalina Khairudinova for a 15-6 record in doubles.
- Junior Erin Stephens ended the year on an 11-match winning streak.
- Senior Caroline Rohde-Moe ended her four-year career with an 84-58 overall record. She earned All-SEC honors twice and graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Mississippi.
- Sophomore Abby Newton competed in the 2014 NCAA East Regional and finished 38th in the individual standings.
- The Katy, Texas, native saved her best round for the final day, firing a 2-under-par 70, giving her a three-day score of 220. The 70 was her first round under par this spring.
- She also nailed an eagle on opening day action Thursday, her first this season and the third for an Ole Miss player this spring.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewApril 28-May 4, 2014Baseball
- Ole Miss moved into first place in the Southeastern Conference Western Division with a series win over Arkansas this past weekend.
- The Rebels have now won five SEC series and nine series overall this season, with two weekends left in the regular season.
- Auston Bousfield leads the SEC in hits (77) and average (.368) after the weekend, and is in the top four in runs scored and steals.
- Will Allen is second in the SEC in average (.359) and RBI (51), and is in the top three in home runs (7).Track & Field
- Ole Miss showed Saturday it belongs among the best track & field teams in the country with a strong performance at the five-team LSU Invitational, its final tune up for the May 15-18 SEC Championships.
- The 16th-ranked Rebel men finished third in the team standings with 110 points behind No. 2 Texas A&M (166) and No. 10 LSU (143). No. 1 Florida was fourth (104), followed by Miami (28). On the women's side, No. 7 LSU took the title at home with 158 points, followed by No. 3 Texas A&M (135), No. 2 Florida (100), Miami (84) and Ole Miss (73).
- The Ole Miss men and women finished the day with numerous personal and seasonal bests, and a total of six event victories.
- Junior Phillip Young had an outstanding day in three different events. He won the triple jump with a big mark of 52-10.25 that ranks him fourth in the NCAA this year and sixth in school history. He also placed third in the long jump (24-6.25) and anchored the Rebels' 4x400-meter relay squad that finished runner-up in a season-best 3:08.38.
- Freshman Robert Domanic was the top collegiate finisher in the 1,500 meters with a personal-best 3:44.78 that ranks him third-best in school history and top 50 in the NCAA this year. Ole Miss finished 1-2-3 in the 800 meters, led by freshman Sean Tobin in 1:48.79. Junior newcomers Dameon Morgan and Holland Sherrer clocked lifetime bests of 1:49.50 and 1:49.54, respectively.
- On the women's side, freshmen Mary Alex England and Saga Barzowski captured event titles in the 5,000 meters and 3,000-meter steeplechase, respectively.Men's Tennis
- The Rebels earned their 21st consecutive and 23rd overall NCAA appearance. They will head to South Bend, Ind., May 10-11 for the first and second rounds. The Rebels will face Northwestern in the first round Saturday at 10 a.m. CT. The winner of that match will meet the winner of the match between Notre Dame/Wisconsin-Green Bay, Sunday at 1 p.m. for the right to advance to the sweet 16.
- Ole Miss is 2-0 all-time against Northwestern. In their last meeting (2007), the Rebels defeated the Wildcats 5-2 in Evanston, Ill. This will be the first meeting in the NCAA Championships.
- This marks the second time for the Rebels to begin NCAA play in South Bend. The last time they did so (1995), the Rebels advanced to the championship match in Athens, Ga., site of this year's sweet 16.
- Junior Nik Scholtz earned the SEC's automatic bid to the NCAA Singles Championship, and is seeded Nos. 9-16. It marks the third consecutive year for him to be seeded. The NCAA Singles Championship begins May 21, following the conclusion of the team championships.Women's Tennis
- The Rebels earned their sixth consecutive, and 17th overall, NCAA bid. They will head to Los Angeles to take on Texas Tech in the first round, Friday at 12 p.m. CT. The winner of that match will meet the winner of UCLA/Sacramento State in the second round Saturday at 5 p.m. CT.
- The Lady Raiders and Rebels have met three times, with Ole Miss leading the series 2-1. Last season, Texas Tech hosted Ole Miss in the first and second rounds of the NCAA Championships, but the two did not meet.
- Ole Miss is one of 40 teams in Division I tennis to have both its men's and women's tennis teams in the NCAA Championships. This is the sixth consecutive year both Rebel teams have made it in the same year.Women's Golf
- Sophomore Abby Newton was selected to compete as an individual in the 2014 NCAA East Regional in Tallahassee, Fla., May 8-10. Newton was one of 18 individuals selected to compete.
- This marks the seventh consecutive year Ole Miss will be represented at the NCAA Championships. Softball
- Ole Miss concluded its season last weekend in Knoxville, Tenn., against the then-No. 8 Tennessee Lady Vols.
- Ole Miss jumped out to early leads in games one and two against the Lady Vols, but could not close out the Lady Vols in either game. The Rebels dropped the series and season finale Sunday, allowing just two runs and one hit in innings 2-6 after giving up three runs in the bottom of the first.
- The 2014 Rebels (22-31, 3-21 SEC) set team program records in hits (396), RBI (217), walks (150), and tied the program record with five saves. It's the third straight year Ole Miss has increased its season hit total.
- Individually, junior Allison Brown and senior RT Cantillo each logged 11-game hitting streaks, which tie the school's third longest streak. Cantillo, who was drafted in the fifth round of the National Pro Fastpitch College Draft by the Chicago Bandits
, finished the 2014 season with the second best single-season batting average in program history (.424), the fourth most hits (61), tied the fifth most runs scored (35), tied the fourth most walks (30), tied the 10th best slugging percentage (.556) and logged the third best on-base percentage (.522). Brown's 12 doubles in 2014 are tied for the sixth most in single-season history behind the 17 she hit as a sophomore in 2013. Senior Londen Ladner tied the single season record for the ninth most home runs (seven) and also tied the mark for the seventh most RBIs (34).
- Ole Miss is graduating six seniors in Cantillo, Shelby Jo Fenter, Carly Hummel, Ladner, Natalie Nimmo and Marina Parra.
Above are two completed image outside and inside the Manning Center. Inside the full gallery are images from some of the construction centered around the Manning Center, Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, and the new basketball arena at the University of Mississippi. Older images are from the 2012-2013 season. Construction images are from July 1, 2013 to today, and the completed images come from the 2013-2014 season. Currently, construction is underway for the new parking garage and new basketball arena. To learn more about concepts and ways to get involved, please visit http://forwardtogetherrebels.com/site
Here's the link to the full photo gallery
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
April 21-27, 2014
- Ole Miss went on the road and swept No. 17 Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., this past weekend for only the third time in school history, and the first time since 2002.
- The Rebels scored 39 runs on the weekend, the most in a three-game SEC series in school history. Ole Miss also tallied 49 hits and six home runs.
- Junior outfielder Auston Bousfield hit .714 for the series with eight runs scored and seven RBIs to help pace the Rebels' offense in the sweep.
- Ole Miss will host four games this week, including a Wednesday night contest with Southern Miss and a weekend series against Arkansas.
Track & Field
- The No. 11 nationally ranked Ole Miss men's team competed at the Arkansas State Red Wolves Open this past weekend, while the Rebel women split between the Drake Relays and the Red Wolves Open.
- Between the two squads, Ole Miss collected six event victories and posted some of its best results of the season.
- Freshman Jalen Miller once again burned the track in the 100 and 200 meters. He placed runner-up in both events to former Rebel and Olympian Isiah Young (running unattached). Miller equaled his personal best of 10.24 in the 100 and ran 21.02 in the 200 as the top collegiate finisher.
- Sophomore Nathan Loe won the hammer throw with a heave of 209-7 that was just shy of his school record of 210-3. Loe has now placed in the top two at all five outdoor meets this year.
- On Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa, freshman Mary Alex England won the Drake Relays 10,000 meters and set a school record with her time of 34:48.66. Amazingly, it was her first ever competitive race at that distance.
- Other victories for the men went to freshman Will Spiers in the 1,500 (personal-best 4:00.95), junior Robert Semien in the 110 hurdles (14.19) and the 4x400 relay (3:11.84), while Margaret Harkness claimed the women's 1,500 title in Jonesboro (4:45.77).
- Junior Nik Scholtz (Caledon, South Africa) was named the SEC Men's Tennis Player of the Year last week. Scholtz is the highest ranked player, nationally, in the SEC at No. 9. He finished the regular season 15-1 at No. 1 singles, 8-1 in the SEC.
- Scholtz became the fourth Rebel to earn the league's top honor, and the first player in program history to earn freshman of the year and player of the year honors during his career.
- The Rebels are expected to earn their 21st consecutive NCAA appearance when the selections are announced Tuesday at 4 p.m. The announcement of the 64 teams and 16 host sites will be broadcast on NCAA.com.
- Junior Julia Jones earned All-SEC Second Team honors as the league office announced the 2014 postseason awards last week. Jones (St. Petersburg, Fla.) owns a team-leading 26-10 overall record, 15-6 in dual matches and 8-5 in the SEC. She posted a 4-2 record at No. 2 singles, 11-4 at No. 3 singles. Jones also went 15-5 in doubles with freshman Zalina Khairudinova, 7-3 in the SEC.
- This marks the second time for Jones to be recognized by the league office, as she was named to the all-freshman team in 2012.
- The Rebels have had at least one member of the squad named to the all-SEC team every year of head coach Mark Beyers' career (13 years).
- The Rebels are expected to earn their sixth consecutive NCAA appearance when the selections are announced Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. The announcement of the 64 teams and 16 host sites will be broadcast on NCAA.com.
- Ole Miss celebrated Senior Weekend last week against then-No. 24 LSU by recognizing two of its six seniors - RT Cantillo, Shelby Jo Fenter, Carly Hummel, Londen Ladner, Natalie Nimmo and Marina Parra - prior to each game of the three-game series.
- Ole Miss couldn't get its offense going in the series' opening two games though, and couldn't slow down the Tigers in Sunday's series finale.
- Redshirt freshman Alyssa Invergo went 3-6 with an RBI in the series vs. LSU, while Nimmo batted in three runs over the course of the three games.
- Ole Miss will close out its regular season schedule with a three-game series at No. 8 Tennessee beginning Friday at 5 p.m. CT. Game two will begin Saturday at 1 p.m., and game three is scheduled for Sunday at noon and will be televised by Fox Sports Network.
- The Ole Miss men's golf team competed at the 2014 SEC Championships at St. Simmons Island, Ga., at the Sea Island Golf and Country Club.
- Junior Joe Lewis was the Rebels' top competitor, carding a three-day total of 217 and tying for 43rd place.
- As a team, Ole Miss finished in 14th with a tournament total of 875.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
April 14-20, 2014
- Ole Miss went 1-2 last week vs. No. 7 LSU, dropping a 13-inning affair in the series opener before taking game two and falling in the series finale.
- Ole Miss became the first team in the Southeastern Conference to hit the 30-win mark with a 5-1 win over No. 7 LSU on Friday night.
- Junior outfielder Auston Bousfield leads the SEC in hits with 61 on the season and leads the team in hitting at a .347 clip.
- Senior catcher Will Allen is second in the SEC in RBIs (42), while junior first baseman Sikes Orvis is second in home runs (9).
- Ole Miss will play four road games this week, including the Governor's Cup game Tuesday vs. MSU, and a three-game series at Kentucky this weekend.
Track & Field
- The No. 11 Ole Miss men had a successful week at the historic Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif.
- The biggest highlight came Friday when freshman Sean Tobin shattered a 29-year-old school record in the 1,500 meters with a time of 3:42.07. He moved up to No. 7 in the NCAA this year and is also ranked 11th nationally in the 800.
- Several other Rebel freshmen stood out in California. Robert Domanic ran a personal-best time of 14:08.78 in his first college outdoor 5,000 meters to rank fifth in school history. Jalen Miller (10.30 in the 100, 21.01 in the 200) and Kailo Moore (personal-best 21.07 in the 200) shined in the short sprints. Trevor Gilley achieved a personal best in the 1,500 (3:47.43) and moved into the top 10 in school history
- Senior Ricky Robertson won silver in the high jump with a clearance of 7-3.75. Junior Phillip Young recorded a season-best 51-9.75 in the triple jump and moved up to 10th in the NCAA this year and ninth in school history. Junior Robert Semien won a bronze medal in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.07.
- At the War Eagle Invitational in Auburn, sophomore Nathan Loe won the hammer throw with a heave of 200-9.
- The Ole Miss men and women are in action this week at the A-State Red Wolves Open (men) and the Drake Relays (women).
- The Rebels went 1-1 at the SEC Tournament, knocking off No. 18 Tennessee 4-2 in the second round before falling to No. 11 Kentucky in a close 4-2 match in the quarterfinals.
- Stefan Lindmark clinched the win over Tennessee for his second consecutive clinch against an SEC opponent. He defeated Jarryd Chaplin 6-0 in the third set at No. 3 singles to clinch the Rebels' fifth straight against the Volunteers. Lindmark also teamed up with William Kallberg to upset the No. 1 ranked doubles team in the nation to clinch the doubles point. The Swedish duo handed the Vol tandem just their second SEC loss since 2012.
- Nik Scholtz won both his singles matches to improve to 15-1 at No. 1 singles, including a win over Kentucky's Tom Jomby, ranked No. 11, for the second time this year. It marked Scholtz' fourth top-12 win of the season. His win over No. 27 ranked Hunter Reese gave the Rebels a 3-2 lead and set up Lindmark's clinching victory against Tennessee.
- Johan Backstrom and Joe Rogers improved to 9-3 overall and 7-3 at No. 3 doubles with a huge win against Tennessee. For the second straight SEC match, the duo faced match points but rallied to win 8-7(7) to set up their teammates' clinching win at No. 1 doubles.
- The Rebels (13-9) dropped their opening match in the SEC Tournament second round to South Carolina, 4-2.
- Junior Julia Jones won her match in straight sets to improve to 26-10 overall, 15-6 in dual matches.
- Junior Erin Stephens earned her 10th straight victory.
- The Ole Miss men's golf team hosted the Reunion Intercollegiate at the Reunion Golf and Country Club in Madison, Miss.
- Junior Blake Morris finished with a two-round score of even-par 144 and claimed second-place. This marked Morris' fourth top-five finish of the season.
- Morris helped lead Ole Miss to a fourth-place finish as a team, which marked the second-straight tournament the Rebels have posted a top-five finish.
- The Rebels will be back in action April 25-27 at the SEC Championships in Sea Island, Ga.
- The Ole Miss women's golf team closed out action at the SEC Championships on Sunday in 14th-place with a three-day score of 925 (313-305-307-925). Abby Newton and Alison Hovatter led the Rebels with scores of 228 and 230, respectively. Ole Miss will now wait to see if it is selected for the NCAA Regionals on May 5.
- Ole Miss went 2-3 last week, cruising in a home doubleheader against Alcorn State before dropping three games at No. 13 Missouri.
- The Rebels were red-hot Tuesday at the Ole Miss Softball Complex as they emphatically beat Alcorn State 18-5 (5) and 13-1 (5), respectively.
- Behind a season-high 18 hits, Ole Miss scored a season-high 18 runs and cruised in game one of the doubleheader. The Rebels' 18 runs scored were their highest total since scoring 22 runs Feb. 13, 2008. The Rebels scored in each of the eight innings it came up to bat in the two games combined, and of the 15 outs they recorded in game two Tuesday, 11 came by way of strikeout.
- After taking a one-run lead in the top of the seventh of the series opener Friday at Missouri, Ole Miss lost 5-3 on a walk-off three-run home run. The Rebels then fell 2-0 in game two of the doubleheader despite allowing just four hits against the Tigers, which entered the series with the second most hits in the SEC. Ole Miss couldn't get its bats going Saturday and dropped the series finale at Missouri 9-1 (6).
- The Rebels open a three-game home series Friday vs. LSU. Ole Miss will recognize its six seniors in the series with two seniors honored prior to the start of each game.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
March 31-April 6, 2014
- Ole Miss picked up its second sweep in SEC play with three wins over the Auburn Tigers this past weekend, including a doubleheader sweep Saturday.
- Left-handed pitcher Christian Trent posted a complete-game shutout of the Tigers on Saturday. It was his first complete game and his first shutout as a Rebel.
- Austin Anderson hit a three-run home run Friday night in the 13th inning to propel the Rebels to an 8-5 win over Auburn in the series opener.
- Right-handed pitcher Sam Smith picked up his fourth win of the season and fellow right-handed pitcher Josh Laxer snagged his fourth save in the finale against the Tigers, a 5-1 win.
- Ole Miss capped its physical, competitive spring practice season with the 2014 Regions Bank Grove Bowl on Saturday. Using a modified scoring system, the offense edged the defense 15-12 for the victory.
- Rising junior running back I'Tavius Mathers had the highlight of the day with an impressive 96-yard run. He finished the day with four carries for 121 yards.
- Rising senior quarterback Bo Wallace led the Ole Miss offense, going 10-21 for 152 yards with a touchdown. Battling for the second-string job at quarterback, redshirt freshmen Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade each had strong moments Saturday. Buchanan went 6-10 for 100 yards, including a 45-yard completion to rising sophomore running back Mark Dodson. Kincade finished 5-8 for 57 yards and a score, and also logged six carries for 38 yards.
- Graduate student linebacker Deterrian Shackelford was named this year's Chucky Mullins Courage Award winner, becoming the first ever two-time recipient. He will wear Mullins' No. 38 jersey this fall.
- Rising senior wide receiver Collins Moore received the Eli Manning Award (most improved offensive player of the spring), and rising senior defensive back Cliff Coleman earned the Jeff Hamm Memorial Award (most improved defensive player of the spring).
- The Ole Miss women's golf team hosted its annual Rebel Intercollegiate last weekend and closed the tournament in 10th-place. Abby Newton and Stani Schiavone led Ole Miss with a three-round score of 222 and finished tied for 20th.
- The Rebels 10th-place finish was their third consecutive top-10 finish, and their final round score of 286 was the best round of golf for Ole Miss this spring. Additionally, Stani Schiavone fired a closing round 4-under-par 68, which tied for the lowest round of the day and was her best round this season.
- The Rebels will take some time off before heading to the 2014 SEC Championships. Ole Miss will compete for the SEC title and a spot in the NCAA Regionals April 18-20 at the Greystone Country Club in Birmingham, Ala.
Track & Field
- Sophomore Nathan Loe broke his own school record in the hammer throw (210-3), and Ole Miss athletes collected 13 event titles at the Mississippi College Twilight Invitational on Friday evening.
- Other highlights for the No. 12 ranked Rebel men, who only sent a portion of the team to the meet, included Robert Semien winning the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.15 that matches his season best. Other wins went to Max Holman in the 1500 meters (4:02.18), Ian Carter in the 5000 meters (15:23.77) and Marcus Franklin in the discus (151-11).
- The Rebel women were led by long jumpers Kierra White, Kennadi Bouyer and Shari Russell, who finished 1-2-3 with some big jumps. White leaped to a season-best 20-1.75 that will rank her among the top 25 nationally. Bouyer posted a mark of 19-6.25 and Russell 19-5.25. White now ranks No. 8 in Rebel history, while Bouyer joins Russell on the list of the top-15 long jumpers all-time.
- Ole Miss is back in action Friday in Tuscaloosa, Ala., for the Alabama-Mississippi Border Clash featuring Alabama, Auburn and Samford against Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Southern Miss.
- The No. 24 Rebels went 1-2 last weekend, falling to No. 40 South Carolina 4-2 and No. 7 Florida 4-2, before shutting out Arkansas-Pine Bluff 6-0. The Rebels did not drop a single game in the win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Ole Miss concluded its home schedule 8-4.
- Junior Julia Jones came up with the biggest win of her career, defeating No. 23 ranked Alex Cercone of Florida for her sixth win in a row. She is now 24-9 overall and 11-4 at No. 3 singles. She has not dropped a set in her 24 wins.
- Erin Stephens has won eight in a row, including beating nationally-ranked Belinda Woolcock of Florida in straight sets to keep the Rebels' hopes alive in the match.
- The Rebels are at Texas A&M Friday night followed by a trip to face Missouri on Sunday to close out the regular season.
- The Rebels went 0-2 last weekend, falling to No. 40 South Carolina 4-2 and No. 15 Florida 4-1.
- Nik Scholtz suffered his first loss at No. 1 singles in the match against South Carolina, but rebounded nicely on Sunday to post his 10th win at No. 1 singles. He is one win away from 20 for the year.
- The Rebels close out their home schedule this week beginning with a tripleheader against Arkansas-Pine Bluff Wednesday at 10 a.m. On Friday, the Rebels will welcome No. 10 Texas A&M and celebrate Senior Day for the Rebels' lone senior Johan Backstrom. The match begins at 2 p.m., and there will also be a celebration of Coach Chadwick's last home weekend with fans receiving a commemorative Billy Chadwick Stadium Cup. Sunday, the Rebels will host Alcorn State in a doubleheader at 10 a.m.