Lots To Say

Cory Peterson told several hundred gathered for the ninth annual Ole Miss Ladies Football Forum what he was doing now and where he lived. Then he pointed out nearly a football field away a little blond-haired boy playing with a kid-sized football.

"That's my two-year-old son, Cole, back there," said Peterson, who lives in Olive Branch and is a pharmaceutical salesman. "He just dropped the football."

Cory and Cole will probably be working on not doing that when they get home. Cole will have an excellent coach. Cory rarely dropped a football thrown his way during his four seasons with the Ole Miss Rebels.

Some of those sensational receptions were remembered late Saturday afternoon as five former Rebel players were on stage for an hour-long question and answer session. Joining the sure-handed Peterson were Wesley Walls, Tom Luke, Ronnie Heard, and Jesse Mitchell.

The participants in the Forum had questions ranging from what advice would the former players give to current players, to what was the most hostile environment they played in while at Ole Miss (unanimous: LSU), and their favorite moment as a Rebel.

Cory could have picked from several "moments" since he was so instrumental in several huge wins during his four seasons. But he singled out one. And then another.

"The Egg Bowl 1997 when we beat Jackie Sherrill and the Bulldogs," said Peterson, smiling, and drawing a roar of agreement from the ladies.

That was indeed a memorable win and moment. Ole Miss trailed late 14-7, scored a touchdown, and went for two points to win instead of a tie and possible overtime. Quarterback Stewart Patridge hit Peterson for two, and the Rebels hung on 15-14.

Play by play man David Kellum, who called that moment on radio and also moderated Saturday's event, told a story about that particular finish.

"Cory came up to me later that night and said ‘DK, what if I'd dropped that ball?' I told him he'd have to transfer to Delta State," Kellum said.

Peterson said a close second as far as memorable moments for him was the overtime touchdown catch at Auburn to win 24-17 in 1999.

"That was fun, beating the coaches who had left here," Peterson said. "(QB) Romaro (Miller) threw it to me, and on that play I was never the primary receiver. But it worked and we won."

Peterson was reminded by a participant of another exciting catch, the overtime TD catch he made against LSU in 1998 to ultimately win that one.

"I actually fumbled it and caught it again," Peterson said. "Good thing or I'd have had to transfer after that one, too."

The memorable Peterson catches were but one aspect of the stage filled with Rebels and their moments. Wesley Walls talked about beating Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 1988. That was his No. 1 memory of Ole Miss.

"I saw Bill Curry (the Alabama head coach at the time) later, and he asked me if I knew somebody threw a brick through a window at his house after that game," Walls said. "I told him I'd heard that. Curry said he wish he knew who did it so he could get him to play quarterback since it was such an accurate throw."

On the day the Rebels beat the Crimson Tide 21 years ago in Tuscaloosa, Walls, who lives with his family in Charlotte, N.C. where he ended his NFL career, reminded the ladies that Alabama was 0-for-16 passing. Not a completion the entire game for the home team as the Rebs won 22-12 in a contest that was 0-0 at the half.

For the ones who made it to the pros, they were asked the most feared person they faced in the NFL.

Heard, who now lives in Oxford with his family and actually has a coaching job at a Division II school in New Mexico, said Jerry Rice was the scariest player he ever played against. And they were teammates.

"I faced him every day in practice as a rookie," Heard said. "I'm still dizzy and running in circles."

Mitchell, an attorney in Jackson, said he most feared the general manager, "and he ultimately cut me."

Walls said he played so long his list of "most feared" was too lengthy. But he added he was "scared to death" when he went up against Lawrence Taylor of the Giants.

Luke, who lives in the Jackson area now and who shared QB duties at Ole Miss with Russ Shows, said the entire 1990 season was his most memorable moment at Ole Miss.

"To be in the SEC race that late in the season was special," he said, recalling a late-season loss to Tennessee did the Rebels in. "Just the way the fans got behind us as the season moved on, and playing in the Gator Bowl. Just a fun season for all of us."

The quintet was a good representative of eras from 1985 when Walls arrived in Oxford as a freshman through the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 2, 2004, when Mitchell wrapped up his UM career with a 10-win season.

"Everybody always asks me if I miss Sundays," Walls said. "I tell ‘em I do, but what I really miss is Mondays. That was payday."

The ladies laughed. The other ex-Reb players did, too. It was that kind of end to a terrific day at the ninth annual Ladies Football Forum.


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