You know them.
Ole Miss-LSU in 1959. Ole Miss-Alabama in 1969. Ole Miss- LSU in 1989. Ole Miss-Tennessee in 1990. Ole Miss-Arkansas in 2001. Ole Miss-LSU in 2003. There are others.
Common thread? You know what it is.
All of the above were for championships or perfect seasons or improved standings toward bowl games, had the Rebels won them. The ones that really mattered when things were apparently lining up for something so special.
Oh the emotion and the heartbreak.
So it’s 2014. And now, two losses after a 7-0 start, Ole Miss finds itself where it’s been many times. Playing for a bowl game but also talking about those never-to-be-forgotten losses.
I mean, will you ever forget that loss last week at LSU?
Maybe. But only because this weekend’s loss to Auburn was even more gut-wrenching.
The loss to LSU was tough for Rebel Nation to take. There were some injuries suffered and some egos bruised. But, as so many said all week, the Rebels still controlled their own destiny the rest of the way.
But they really didn’t. Something much more than “the Rebels” controlled their destiny.
The Laquon Treadwell moment Saturday night proved that. That was, the way it all turned out, too much to leave in destiny’s hands.
If you haven’t said a prayer for that great Rebel, his family, teammates, and coaches, it’s not too late.
It was another of those most unfortunate circumstances, one of those heart-breaking moments, like when Archie Manning broke his arm in 1970 on homecoming day against Houston to end all hope of a Heisman. He was the clear front-runner. He was going to win it.
Nobody breaks an arm on the way to the Heisman.
Some of you were there that day and can attest. It does happen and did, on the exact same field as Saturday night’s moment.
“He definitely has a fracture,” Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze had said earlier in the evening of Treadwell following the Rebels’ 35-31 loss to Auburn that all but eliminated Ole Miss from a final four playoff spot in January.
What a play among many great ones in this game it was, too. The pass from Bo Wallace, a 19-yard jaunt by Treadwell toward the end zone. But the superstar receiver fumbled just prior to crossing the goal line as he was pulled down from behind by an Auburn player, and the injury occurred.
How could all that happen? How? Really, how could it?
This was the Rebels’ time, their moment. They controlled their own destiny. But ultimately they didn’t. It just doesn’t work that way.
This can still be a very special season. The Rebels have three games left and are capable of winning them all.
They’ll beat Presbyterian. Then they’ll have an open date.
After that it’s on to Fayetteville. The Rebels need a game in Little Rock, where they’ve won three straight. But instead they go to the main campus where they have trouble winning.
Arkansas is getting better. The Razorbacks played No. 1 Mississippi State to a 17-10 loss in Starkville Saturday night.
The Hogs have an open date this week while Ole Miss hosts the Blue Hose. While Ole Miss has an open date the following week, Arkansas hosts LSU.
The Razorbacks’ Southeastern Conference losing streak is now at 17 games. They’re going to snap it at some point. Maybe this year; maybe next. After LSU and Ole Miss comes Missouri.
Following the trip to Arkansas, Ole Miss hosts Mississippi State in the Battle for the Golden Egg. But there’s a lot to take care of between now and the last Saturday in November.
This mature team of the Ole Miss Rebels will do what they’ve done every week. They’ll go back to work and get ready for the next game, the open week, and the final two SEC games.
They’ll shake this off as best they can and play well again, just like they did against Auburn following the devastating loss to LSU the week before.
Now they have another devastating loss to shake off after Auburn, and they have to move on without their top receiver for a yet-to-be-determined amount of time.
With two losses they can still try to reach the other goals they had this regular season. They just have less margin for error, and they’ll need some help from other teams.
This team has already given Ole Miss people exciting moments and memorable wins. Now, with three games remaining, we’re still left to see how they finally wind up.
They should be 8-2 overall and 4-2 in the SEC in a week. Then they’ll get a chance to catch their breath before those last two games.
So stay tuned, stay with them, say a prayer for Laquon and all his teammates, and show up again Saturday for another home game.
You’ll be talking about these last two weeks, especially this loss to Auburn, for a long time. Most likely your children and grandchildren will hear about them more than a few times.
But, as always, there’s a chance for this team and Rebel Nation to bounce back. And that’s what Ole Miss will be trying to do the rest of the way in 2014.
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