GAME 4 NOTES: Ole Miss at Alabama

GAME 4
Ole Miss Rebels (2-1, 0-0 SEC) vs. #1/1 Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0, 1-0 SEC)
Date: Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017
Time: 8:00 p.m. CT
Location: Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Venue: Bryant–Denny Stadium (101,821)
Surface: Grass
Series: Alabama leads 48-11-2
     In Tuscaloosa: Alabama leads 25-2
     Streak: Alabama, W1
Live Stats: OleMissSports.com
Live Audio: OleMissSports.com
Twitter Updates: @OleMissFB
Television: ESPN
Joe Tessitore, Play-by-Play
Todd Blackledge, Analyst
Holly Rowe, Sideline
Satellite Radio: Sirius 138, XM 191

WHAT TO WATCH FOR …

• Ole Miss is 33-47-3 all-time in SEC openers … The Rebels have beaten the Crimson Tide in two of the last the three meetings, including a 43-37 win over No. 1 Alabama in the last meeting in Tuscaloosa in 2015.

• The last time the Rebels faced the nation’s No. 1 team was Alabama last season … Ole Miss is 1-11 all-time versus the top-ranked team in the land.

• No. 1 Alabama is the Rebels’ first ranked opponent this season … Ole Miss went 2-5 against top-25 teams last year.

• Ole Miss continues its three-game road swing this week when it travels to Tuscaloosa to battle the Tide … The Rebels wrap up the road trip with a game at Auburn (Oct. 7).

• Matt Luke is in his 10th season at Ole Miss but his first season at the helm, taking the reins of his alma mater as the 38th head coach in program history … Luke became the fifth straight Ole Miss head coach to post a victory in his first game on the Rebel sideline.

• Sophomore QB Shea Patterson leads the SEC and ranks second nationally in passing yards per game (427.0) … He leads also leads the league and is seventh nationally in passing efficiency (181.9) and eighth in touchdowns (11).

• Sophomore WR A.J. Brown leads the SEC and ranks fifth nationally in receiving yards per game (129.7) and is 11th nationally in touchdowns (4), while fellow wideout junior DeMarkus Lodge is second in the league and 26th in the nation in receiving yards per game (94.7), and is tied with Brown in touchdowns.

OLE MISS HEAD COACH MATT LUKE 

Matt Luke (Ole Miss, 2000) is in his 10th season at Ole Miss but his first season at the helm, taking the reins of his alma mater as the 38th head coach in school history. The Rebels are 65-50 with Luke on staff as a full-time coach, including 2-1 with him leading the program. He was born a Rebel as his family has ties to Ole Miss that span three generations. During his 23 years as a player and coach at the collegiate level, Luke has risen through the ranks while learning from a number of successful veteran coaches. He has worked alongside national champion Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer, Duke head coach David Cutcliffe and former Ole Miss head coach Tommy Tuberville, among others. On the field, he has mentored 17 all-league selections as well as All-Americans and first-round draft picks Laremy Tunsil and Laken Tomlinson. Luke, a four-year center for the Rebels (1995-98), spent the past five seasons as the team’s co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. During his first stop in Oxford (2002-05), he served four seasons coaching the Ole Miss tight ends and offensive line under Cutcliffe.

ALABAMA HEAD COACH NICK SABAN

Nick Saban (Kent State, 1973) has led Alabama to four national titles (2009, 2011, 2012, 2015) and five SEC titles (2009, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016) among his 11 seasons at the helm. He has a 123-19 record as the head coach of the Tide. In 54 of those games, Alabama has been ranked No. 1 in the AP poll. Saban also won the national title with LSU (2003), coaching the Tigers from 2000-04, and is the only coach with four BCS National Championships. His previous head coaching stops also include Toledo (1990), Michigan State (1995-99) and the Miami Dolphins (2005-06). In between head coaching jobs at Toledo and Michigan State, Saban served as the defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns (1991-94). His first NFL job was coaching the Houston Oilers secondary for two seasons (1988-89). To begin his coaching career, Saban was the defensive coordinator/secondary coach at Michigan State (1983-87).

ALABAMA SCOUTING REPORT

Alabama is 4-0 on the season and is ranked No. 1 in both the AP and coaches polls this week. The Crimson Tide has won every game by at least 17 points, including last week’s SEC opener at Vanderbilt (59-0). Since losing to the Rebels in Tuscaloosa during its 2015 national championship run, Alabama has won 30 of its last 31 games. The only other setback occurred in last season’s College Football Playoff National Championship to Clemson. The Alabama offense is led by sophomore QB Jalen Hurts, who has thrown for 550 yards while rushing for a team-high 360 yards. Also on the ground, RB Damien Harris has 309 yards of his own to go along with a team-high six touchdowns. The Tide has limited opponents to 70.3 rushing yards per game while racking up 303.3 yards per game on the ground on offense to lead the SEC and rank fifth in the nation in both categories. Alabama is the only team in the country that has not turned the ball over this season.

REBEL-TIDE CONNECTIONS

• Ole Miss DB C.J. Hampton and Alabama DL Raekwon Davis were teammates at Meridian HS in Meridian, Mississippi.

• Ole Miss RB A.J. Harris and Alabama players Mike Bernier (P), Sean Goodman (TE), Kendall Randolph (OL) and Jonathan Rice (WR) were teammates at Bob Jones HS in Madison, Ala.

• Alabama K Andy Pappanastos played for the Rebels during the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

• Ole Miss co-defensive coordinator/secondary coach Jason Jones played at Alabama from 1996-99 and graduated in 2001. He was a graduate assistant with the Crimson Tide in 2004 and earned his master’s degree in sports management from UA in 2005.

• Ole Miss defensive line coach Freddie Roach played at Alabama from 2002-05, earning All-SEC honors twice to go along with collecting National Freshman of the Year honors in 2002. He was a strength and conditioning coach with the Crimson Tide from 2008-10 and served as UA’s director of player development for the last two seasons (2015-16) under head coach Nick Saban.

• Roach and Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt coached together at Alabama from 2008-10. Roach was the strength and conditioning coach, and Pruitt served as the team’s defensive backs coach.

• Ole Miss assistant coach Jack Bicknell Jr. and Alabama offensive coordinator Brian Daboll served on the Kansas City Chiefs staff during the 2012 season; Bicknell was the offensive line coach, while Daboll was the offensive coordinator.

• Ole Miss linebackers/special teams coach Bradley Dale Peveto and Alabama defensive line coach Karl Dunbar served on the LSU staff during the 2005 season; Peveto was linebackers coach and special teams coordinator, while Dunbar coached the defensive line.

• Alabama tight ends coach/special teams coordinator Joe Pannunzio hired Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke to serve on his staff at Murray State, Luke’s first full-time coaching job; Pannunzio was the Racers head coach from 2000-05 with Luke serving as the team’s offensive line coach for the first two seasons. Pannunzio was the Ole Miss tight ends/special teams coach from 1995-98, while Luke was a center for the Rebels.

ALABAMA REBELS

The Ole Miss roster features seven players from the state of Alabama. Those Rebels include DB A.J. Harris (Madison), OL Samuel Plash (Mobile), DB Ty Rocconi (Mobile), LB John-Patrick Sherling (Fairhope), OL Jordan Sims (Homewood), LB Jarrion Street (Trussville) and LB Brenden Williams (Birmingham).

SEC OPENERS

• Ole Miss is 33-47-3 (.416 winning percentage) in SEC openers.

• The Rebels are kicking off league play with Alabama for the third straight year, the fourth time in the last six seasons (2012, 2015, 2016, 2017) and the 14th time overall.

• Ole Miss is opening SEC play on the road for the 12th time in the last 15 seasons.

• The Rebels lost last year’s league opener to No. 1 Alabama, 48-43, in Oxford.

NO. 1 IN THE NATION

• Ole Miss has been involved in 18 games when one of the teams was ranked No. 1 at the time.

• This is the seventh time in the last eight seasons that Ole Miss has faced the nation’s top-ranked team, including the sixth when the Crimson Tide has held the No. 1 spot in one of the polls.

• The Rebels are 5-1 when they have held the top spot:

9-24-60, #1 Ole Miss 21, Kentucky 6 (Memphis)

10-1-60, #1 Ole Miss 31, Memphis 20 (Memphis)

10-15-60, #1 Ole Miss 26, Tulane 13 (New Orleans)

10-14-61, #1 Ole Miss 47, Houston 7 (Memphis)

9-19-64, #1 Ole Miss 30, Memphis 0 (Oxford)

9-26-64, Kentucky 27, #1 Ole Miss 21 (Jackson)

• Ole Miss is 1-11 when playing the top team in the nation:

11-17-56, #1 Tennessee 27, #19 Ole Miss 7 (Knoxville)

11-1-58, #1 LSU 14, #6 Ole Miss 0 (Baton Rouge)

10-31-59, #1 LSU 7, #3 Ole Miss 3 (Baton Rouge)

9-20-80, #1 Alabama 59, Ole Miss 35 (Jackson)

10-1-94, #1 Florida 38, Ole Miss 14 (Oxford)

11-17-07, #1 LSU 41, Ole Miss 24 (Oxford)

10-30-10, #1 Auburn 51, Ole Miss 31 (Oxford)

11-19-11, #1 LSU 42, Ole Miss 3 (Oxford)

9-29-12, #1 Alabama 33, Ole Miss 14 (Tuscaloosa)

9-28-13, #1 Alabama 25, #21 Ole Miss 0 (Tuscaloosa)

10-4-14, #11 Ole Miss 23, #1 Alabama 17 (Oxford)

9-17-16, #1 Alabama 48, #17 Ole Miss 43 (Oxford)

REBELS VERSUS RANKED OPPONENTS

• Last season, Ole Miss had multiple wins over AP top-15 (#8 Texas A&M, #11 Georgia) teams in consecutive years

(2014-16) for the first time since 1967-69.

• The Rebels have nine wins over top-15 teams in the last four years … They had five such wins in the previous 22.

• Ole Miss is 70-154-2 all-time versus ranked teams.

• Ole Miss went 2-5 against top-25 opponents this year, with wins over No. 11 Georgia and No. 8 Alabama as well as losses to No. 4 Florida State, No. 1 Alabama, No. 22 Arkansas, No. 23 LSU, and No. 15 Auburn.

• In 2015, Ole Miss went 5-2 against ranked foes with wins over No. 2 Alabama (43-37), No. 15 Texas A&M (23-3), No.15 LSU (38-17), No. 21 Mississippi State (38-27) and No. 16 Oklahoma State (48-20). The five wins over ranked teams were a school record.

OLE MISS IN SEPTEMBER

• Ole Miss is 162-86-7 (.649 winning pct.) all-time during the month of September.

• The Rebels are 48-45-1 (.516 winning pct.) in September SEC games.

• Ole Miss is 115-40-6 (.733 winning pct.) all-time versus non-conference opponents during the month.

• Ole Miss is 103-32-3 (.757 winning pct.) in September home games (including home contests played in Memphis and Jackson), including a 78-19-2 (.798 winning percentage) mark in September games played in Oxford.

• The Rebels went 2-2 last season – vs. No. 4 Florida State (L, 34-45), Wofford (W, 38-13), No. 1 Alabama (L, 43-48), No. 11 Georgia (W, 45-14).

DYNAMIC OFFENSE

Ole Miss has produced a dynamic offense through the first three games of the game as shown by the numbers below:

• Ole Miss leads the SEC and ranks 19th nationally in total offense averaging 496.7 yards per game and leads the league and is fourth in the country in passing at 427.0 yards a game.

• Sophomore QB Shea Patterson leads the SEC and ranks second nationally in passing yards per game (427.0) … He leads also leads the league and is seventh nationally in passing efficiency (181.9)  and eighth in touchdowns (11).

• Sophomore WR A.J. Brown leads the SEC and ranks fifth nationally in receiving yards per game (129.7) and is 11thnationally in touchdowns (4), while fellow wideout junior DeMarkus Lodge is second in the league and 26th in the nation in receiving yards per game (94.7), and is tied with Brown in touchdowns.

SHEA SLINGING THE FOOTBALL

Since the SEC expansion in 1992,  no league quarterback has thrown for more yards in the first three games of a season than sophomore Shea Patterson. Below is the list of SEC QBs throwing for more than 1,000 yards through the first three games of the season since 1992:

Yards Player (School) Year

1281 Shea Patterson (Ole Miss) 2017

1171 Tim Couch (Kentucky) 1998

1106 Drew Lock (Missouri) 2016

1094 Kenny Hill (Texas A&M) 2014

1089 Dusty Bonner (Kentucky) 1999

1081 Ryan Mallett (Arkansas) 2010

1078 Eli Manning (Ole Miss) 1997

1050 Eric Zeier (Georgia) 1994

1043 Jared Lorenzen (Kentucky) 2000

1043 Aaron Murray (Georgia) 2013

1023 Bo Wallace (Ole Miss) 2014

1008 Rex Grossman (Florida) 1008

PATTERSON BREAKS PASSING RECORD AGAINST SKYHAWKS

Sophomore QB Shea Patterson threw for a school-record 489 yards and a career-best five touchdowns in Ole Miss win over UT Martin. He broke Chad Kelly’s previous Ole Miss record of 465 yards set last season against Auburn and finished one TD shy of tying Eli Manning’s school record six touchdown passes set against Arkansas in 2001. Patterson completed 32 of 43 attempts (74.4 pct.) to nine different receivers. The 489 yards passing is the 13th-most in SEC history just behind Tim Couch and Peyton Manning, who each threw for 492 yards.

FINAL CAMPAIGN FOR SACK-MASTER HAYNES

Preseason All-American DE Marquis Haynes ranks third in school history with 25.0 career sacks and fourth with 38.5 TFLs. He led the Rebels in sacks as a freshman (7.5), sophomore (10.0) and junior (7.0). The Jacksonville, Florida, native is a unanimous preseason All-SEC first-team pick and made watch lists for the Bednarik, Nagurski, Hendricks, and Lott IMPACT awards.

PATTERSON PUTS ON A SHOW VERSUS JAGS

Sophomore QB Shea Patterson put on a show Saturday versus the Jaguars, throwing for a career-best 429 yards and four scores in the Ole Miss victory. Patterson completed 28 of 35 attempts (80.0 pct.) finishing just shy of Eli Manning’s school record 80.6 completion percentage (min. 30 attempts). The 429 yards passing was the most since Chad Kelly threw for 465 yards against Auburn last year and the third most in school history trailing only Kelly and Archie Manning (436). The four TD passes were a personal best and the most since Kelly tossed four scores against Florida State a year ago. Patterson connected with sophomore WR A.J. Brown on a pair of 71 and 77-yard touchdown passes in the third quarter. The 77-yarder was Patterson’s longest career completion and the longest TD pass since Jevan Snead connected with Mike Wallace for 88 yards in 2008 versus Louisiana-Monroe. Patterson also joined Eli Manning as the only two Rebel QBs with two 70-plus yard touchdown passes in the same game. Manning recorded the feat against Vanderbilt in 2002.

BROWN’S CAREER DAY LEADS REBELS OVER SOUTH ALABAMA

Sophomore WR A.J. Brown had a career day for the Rebels Saturday against South Alabama. The Starkville, Mississippi native hauled in eight receptions for 233 yards and two scores, breaking Eddie Small’s Ole Miss record of 210 receiving yards set versus Vanderbilt in 1993. Brown’s total of 233 yards also tied Pharoh Cooper of South Carolina for the 13th most receiving yards in a game in SEC history. His two TD catches of 71 and 77 yards also marked the first time in school history a receiver posted two 70-plus yard touchdowns in the same game. – RN

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