Hoping For A Repeat

ARLINGTON, Texas - Marshay Green has big goals for the Cotton Bowl Saturday, and his wants are clear cut. A repeat of last season tops his list.

"I'm looking for us to get a win first and also I want the MVP," said the 5-foot-9, 175-pound senior cornerback and punt returner from Bastrop, La.

Last year the Rebels beat Texas Tech handily 47-34 after falling behind 14-0 at the start. During the game Green intercepted a pass and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown along with being credited with three tackles. At game's end, Green was handed the defensive MVP trophy.

But it's a new era for the old bowl with the move from Dallas to Arlington.

"Man, I'm getting goose bumps already," Green said thinking of this year's game and that brand new Dallas Cowboys Stadium. "It's big. It's going to be a fun day."

For Ole Miss defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix, fun days mean having players like Marshay Green in your program.

"The kid has tremendous heart," Nix said. "He's probably our biggest competitor on our team. He shows up to work every day, and he has outstanding character. He understands the importance of competing. We're proud to have him play his last game in the Cotton Bowl, which is an important game in his career."

Green said the Rebels are getting ready, and they are taking nothing for granted.

"This is our second bowl game to go to, and anytime you get a chance to play in the Dallas Cowboys Stadium, that's a major deal," said Green, who has become a punt return threat of major proportions during the last couple of years. "It was a tough practice (Tuesday), because we know what type of game this will be. You have to practice hard to be ready."

Green said Oklahoma State. 9-3 on the season and 6-2 in the Big 12, presents some serious challenges for the Rebels.

"They have some real athletes," he said. "They've got a great quarterback and a lot of athletes. But they don't really remind me of anybody we've played. There are good and unique in their own way."

Green said the Rebels (8-4, 4-4 SEC) have redemption on their minds from the way the regular season ended.

"The last time we played a game, we really stunk up the place," he said. "So it's a challenge to us to come out and stop the run because Mississippi State ran the ball all day up and down the field. I'm pretty sure that's what Oklahoma State is going try to do."

Still Green said he believes his own conference is superior to that of the one OSU plays in.

"I don't want to take anything from the Big 12. They've got great athletes and great coaches," said Green, who ranks fourth alltime at Ole Miss in punt return yardage (811) and second in number of punt return TDs with three. "But I don't think there's a better conference out there than the SEC. Power, speed, coaching. I think the SEC is the best conference in the nation."

Opinion aside, Georgia did lose to Oklahoma State 24-10 in the season opener. That's been a while ago, and Green said he did see the contest on TV.

"I watched that game also. (OSU) came out with a chip on their shoulder," he said. "I'm pretty sure they will come out with a chip on their shoulder Saturday. I think they'll try to punch us in the mouth, so it's very important to punch them in the mouth first."

He says the Rebel defenders know they face a challenge against the Cowboy offense and believes they will be ready for it.

"There were ups and downs this season," he said of the Rebel defenders. "You have to be consistent. That's the thing we try to work on in practice. The coaches have been telling us all week to be consistent. That's our goal."

Green knows this week wraps up his UM playing career. He is hopeful more football gamedays await, however.

"I feel I have a great shot at playing in the National Football League," he said. "But for now, I just want to finish this Cotton Bowl up strong. Hopefully I can get a shot to play in the league."

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