It has been stated that sophomore Rebel Quarterback Jevan Snead jumped three feet in the air when Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt officially told the team the Rebs would be playing in the Cotton Bowl.
After all, the prolific signal-caller was going home to Texas to play in a huge bowl game. Snead hails from Stephenville, TX, two hours from Dallas.
But Snead is just one of six Texans on the Rebel squad. He is joined by Gerald Harris, Lekenwic Haynes, Emmanuel Stephens, Devin Thomas and Zane Allcorn on the roster.
Harris, who splits time with senior David Traxler at tight end, was also elated.
"It feels great. I told someone the other day as soon as I crossed that state line it was a whole different feeling," said the 6-5 junior. "There's nothing like coming home. It's a feeling of security, pride, all those kinds of things."
And while "home" for Gerald is Terrell, TX, not Dallas, Texas is Texas to him.
"It's a big state, but I call all of it mine and home," said Harris, who caught five passes for 55 yards and two TDs his junior regular season.
What better way to celebrate a homecoming than to play in the last Cotton Bowl Classic ever in Cotton Bowl Stadium?
"When I think about the Cotton Bowl, I think of players like Craig James, Eric Dickerson and Doak Walker. They were bigtime players," Harris stated. "There's also a movie out about Ernie Davis, the great back from Syracuse, and he played in the Cotton Bowl.
"My memories are about tradition and the Cotton Bowl being the biggest and best bowl in my home state. I take pride in the Cotton Bowl and to be playing in it is very special."
The "talk" of the game is whether or not the Ole Miss defense can tame the Texas Tech offense, but Harris knows there's another side to that coin.
"Their defense is legit too," Harris noted. "Whenever I look at them on film, I see a defense that is as good as anyone we have played, in my mind.
"They have good size and speed. They run hard, they play hard and they get to the ball. One play on film really stands out to me. I saw 11 shirts to the ball on film one time. That's impressive. That means we are going to have to stay on our blocks and stay latched on when we engage them."
Gerald understands the Rebel offense is going to have to score and, quite possibly, score often, to win the game.
"We always feel like we have to score points, that's every week. The key to winning is for everyone to do their jobs and our job is scoring points," he explained. "I have a lot of faith in our defense, but if this game becomes a shootout, we have to fire a bunch of bullets too. We play in a bigtime league and play bigtime football. This is another game just like we have been playing - two good teams trying to win."
Harris feels it is critical for the Rebels to get the running game going.
"The run game is the strongest part of our offense, to me, and we have to be able to capitalize on our strength," Gerald noted. "We have great backs like Cordera Eason and Brandon Bolden and Enrique Davis and Dexter (McCluster). We have to use those guys and those guys have to be effective. If we can open up the holes for them like we are capable of doing, it could be a great day for us."
Nothing could be finer for Gerald Harris than to return home for a big game and go back to Mississippi with a win to show for it.
Gerald Harris -
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