Mississippi finds itself in a precarious situation Saturday. Following its road win over Arkansas, the Rebels host Auburn (4-3, 1-3 SEC), who is fresh off a lopsided home loss to Tennessee. The Rebels (4-2, 1-2 SEC) have a chance to get to .500 in the SEC and five wins in seven games.
Has meaningful football returned to Oxford?
Maybe not, but enthusiasm has, and Ole Miss Director of Athletics Ross Bjork welcomes it with open arms.
“(Our players and fans) have been through a lot of adversity and now at 4-2, we look forward to a packed Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Saturday,” Bjork told Gridiron Now.
In a somewhat shocking chain of events, Ole Miss won a football game last weekend in large part thanks to a defense which has been porous for over a year.
In the end, it was senior quarterback Jordan Ta’amu who secured the win.
The Rebels leaped on the back of Ta’amu, who not only didn’t jump ship like former quarterback Shea Patterson did, who led his team on the ground and through the air to a 37-33 win. By the way, Ta’amu accounted for 528 yards of total offense. That’s good enough for second in school history behind former All-American Archie Manning, who accounted for 540 yards in 1969 against Alabama.
Many are calling the win over the Hogs a “watershed moment” in the tenure of first year head coach Matt Luke. It wasn’t just jubilation from the coaching staff and players, the Rebel administration reveled in the joy as well. It was a night in which demons were exorcised that have plagued a program for years.
For Bjork, he saw a group of players that left it on the line when it counted.
“We had so many players get off the mat and give everything they had,” Bjork said. “It was a cold and rainy night and I’m so proud of our players and staff for fighting so hard until the end.”
With a team that has seen its share of bad days over the last few years, it was the perfect time to wave the white flag and go 0-3 in the SEC in a season where pride appears to be the only proverbial positive outcome this year.
Not this team and not on this night in Little Rock, Arkansas.
In the end, the Rebels will have their hands full with an Auburn team fighting to salvage its season.
When the Rebels run onto the field on Saturday, their fans should give them a standing ovation. When A.J. Brown and Demarkus Lodge point to the crowd after a touchdown or Jordan Sims makes a key block to break a wide receiver screen, they should be applauded.
These are the players who wanted to be Rebels in good times and in bad. Rather than take the easy route and transfer, they stuck with this team.
These are your Ole Miss Rebels and they look to fight the remainder of the season.
(You can follow Brad Logan on Twitter @BradLoganCOTE)
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