Nothing 'Special' Here

The last time Ole Miss won only two football games in a season, most of the current players' parents weren't born. Many of their grandparents weren't either. That's how bad things have gotten for this Ole Miss football program.

Follow SpiritJeff on Twitter

It appears, if you watched Saturday night's game, Coach Houston Nutt wasn't able to get his team fully motivated or prepared for the final non-conference game of his last season at Ole Miss. If a 27-7 loss to Louisiana Tech is any indication, that is.

Now the 2-8 Rebels face No. 1 LSU dead ahead next Saturday night with Nutt as head coach.

If it wasn't for the loss to Jacksonville State to open last season, Saturday night's homecoming loss to Louisiana Tech would match only the 1946 loss to Louisiana Tech on homecoming in the Rebels' last two-win season as being unprecedented.

But, of course, there is Jacksonville State from last season.

"It's very, very difficult, a difficult situation. Just real tough," Nutt said.

Nutt understands it isn't easy for the players, but he wanted to coach their final three games, even after being fired. The Ole Miss administration obliged.

"These kids are in a tough situation," he said. "I thought there were times they played pretty hard. I know our defense played extremely hard. They played well enough to win, especially the first three quarters. But you've got to score points. In our league, you've got to score points."

Saturday night's crowd was announced as 44,000 and some change. A few hundred stuck around until the end. Probably less than a hundred Ole Miss students remained at the final horn. The Louisiana Tech fans and pep band took over the final moments of this one and stayed around to celebrate with their team afterwards.

"I hate the way we played tonight," Nutt said. "Just a bad, bad deal."

Ole Miss senior running back Brandon Bolden said he felt like the Rebels had a good week of preparation despite the strange conditions.

"I mean, it was tough the beginning of the week, and we found that out (about Nutt being fired) before we had practice Tuesday," Bolden said. "But Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, even Friday, everybody was so energetic. Everybody was so ready just to go back out there and play football. I don't have an answer for it."

Brandon Bolden
Bruce Newman

After the 2-7 season in 1946, Ole Miss changed coaches before the next season, won its first Southeastern Conference football title, and went on to have a run as successful as any college program in the country the next 25 years.

Before the current regime change, first up? LSU. Then a trip to Starkville for the Mississippi State game.

A win in either would be a monumental accomplishment for this Ole Miss program.

Not Quite Perfect

Bryson Rose had made 17 straight field goals, which was one shy of a Southeastern Conference record for consecutive made.

But a 36-yard attempt in the first quarter that would have given the Rebels a 10-0 lead was wide right. And the streak was over.

Rose also missed a third-quarter attempt, this time another wide right from 52 yards.

Prior to the Louisiana Tech game, Rose was 7 for 7 in the field goal department this season. The junior from Raleigh, N.C., was 16 for 18 on field goals last season.

Here's a startling stat for you. Last season Rose was 43 for 44 on extra points. This season, with one made point after in one attempt against Louisiana Tech, Rose is 20 for 21.

There are two games remaining, but that clearly shows a lack of offensive production for the Rebels this season.

Not Like Last Season

Continuing in the special teams mode, Ole Miss junior punter Tyler Campbell led the nation last season with his traditional, booming punting style, a real weapon for the Rebels while averaging 46.37 yards.

This season, for some reason, the coaches had Campbell doing more of a running, rugby, less traditional style much of the time. It hasn't paid off.

Campbell was still averaging a fairly impressive 43.9 yards per punt coming into the Louisiana Tech game. In this one, he averaged 35.3 yards per punt.

On one punt that he tried rugby style, he actually punted into a lineman and the punt bounded away. It went a grand total of 10 yards.

Campbell had two punts downed inside the Bulldogs 20-yard line.

OM Spirit Top Stories