Ole Miss Game 2 – NOTES (UT-Martin)

Ole Miss (1-0, 0-0 SEC) vs. UT Martin (1-0, 0-0 OVC)
Date: Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017
Time: 11 a.m. CT
Location: Oxford, Miss.
Venue: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (64,038)
Surface: Natural grass
Series: Ole Miss leads 1-0
     In Oxford: Ole Miss leads 1-0
Live Stats: OleMissSports.com
Live Audio: OleMissSports.com
Twitter Updates: @OleMissFB
Television: SEC Network Alt.
Mike Morgan, Play-by-Play
Barrett Jones, Analyst
Richard Cross, Sideline
Satellite Radio: Sirius 138, XM 191

WHAT TO WATCH FOR…

• Ole Miss looks to improve to 2-0 under first under head coach Matt Luke … The Rebels have started the season 2-0 in four of the last five years … Ole Miss boasts an all-time record of 661-511-35 (.563 winning percentage).

• The Rebels knocked off UT Martin 76-3 in 2015 in the two schools’ only other meeting.

• Matt Luke is in his 10th season at Ole Miss but the 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 WR A.J. Brown broke the single game Ole Miss receiving yards record with 233 yards (eight catches) in the Rebels’ opener … He broke Eddie Small’s previous record of 210 yards set against Vanderbilt in 1993 … Brown reeled in two touchdowns catches of 71 and 77 yards in the third quarter and became the first Rebel to post two 70-plus yard TD receptions in the same game.

• Sophomore QB Shea Patterson threw for a career-high 429 yards and four touchdowns in the season opening win.

• Ole Miss returns five starters and 28 lettermen from last year’s offense that led the SEC in passing and ranked top four in scoring and total offense … The Rebels return six starters and 28 lettermen from last year’s defense.

• Preseason All-American DE Marquis Haynes enters his senior year ranked third in school history with 24.5 career sacks and fourth with 36.5 TFLs.

OLE MISS HEAD COACH MATT LUKE 

Matt Luke (Ole Miss, 2000) is in his 10th season at Ole Miss but first season at the helm, taking the reins of his alma mater as the 38th head coach in program history. 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.

UT MARTIN HEAD COACH JASON SIMPSON

The longest tenured head coach in the Ohio Valley Conference, Jason Simpson (Southern Miss, 1995) is in his 12th year as the Skyhawks’ head man. In 11+ years, Simpson has led UT Martin to a 73-54 record and a 57-32 mark against OVC opponents. Simpson’s 73 career victories, as well as 57 conference wins, rank eighth in OVC history. That comes after the program had won 20 OVC games in its first 14 seasons in the league. He also has presided over 74 All-OVC players after the program tallied 33 such players in its first 14 seasons in the OVC. He was responsible for the program’s first-ever OVC championship team in 2006, as that team ended the season with a No. 13 FCS national ranking after finishing 9-3. Simpson is a three-time finalist for the Eddie Robinson FCS Coach of the Year Award, including last season after leading the Skyhawks to a 7-5 overall record and 6-2 mark in OVC play.

UT MARTIN SCOUTING REPORT

UT Martin, an FCS team picked to finish second in the Ohio Valley Conference following a 7-5 season, is coming off a 36-0 victory over Clarion to open the 2017 campaign. The season-opening win was the Skyhawks’ first shutout since 2011. UT Martin out-gained the opposition 457-146 in total offense, while limiting Clarion to only nine first downs throughout the night. In his first game as a Skyhawk, junior college transfer Ladarius Galloway was the star of the night. Along with rushing for 157 yards on 17 carries, Galloway also led UT Martin in receiving with three catches that amounted to 41 yards. Senior quarterback Troy Cook, a Preseason All-OVC honoree, completed 13 of 28 passes for 192 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Leading the UT Martin defense in the shutout was Keven Prather Jr., who tallied 11 tackles, 3.0 TFLs, two pass breakups and two QB hurries. Ole Miss is the only FBS program UT Martin has to worry about on his 2017 slate after playing three games against FBS schools last year.

REBEL-SKYHAWK CONNECTIONS

• Ole Miss K/P Gary Wunderlich and UT Martin OL Kyle Naes were teammates at Memphis University School.

• Ole Miss DB Cam Ordway and UT Martin Skyhawks Boone Gibson and Jordan Tucker were teammates at Giles County HS in Pulaski, Tennessee.

• Ole Miss RB Jordan Wilkins’ dad, Billy, played football at UT Martin.

• Ole Miss WR coach Jacob Peeler and UT Martin assistant head coach/co-defensive coordinator Fred Tate were on the California coaching staff at the same time from 2014-16; Peeler was a graduate assistant before becoming inside receivers coach, while Tate was the defensive line coach for the Golden Bears.

• Ole Miss DB coach Derrick Nix and UT Martin assistant head coach/co-defensive coordinator Fred Tate were on the Southern Miss coaching staff at the same time from 2005-06; Nix was the RB coach, while Tate coached the Golden Eagles’ defensive tackles and outside linebackers.

REBELS VERSUS FCS OPPONENTS

• Ole Miss has won six straight games against FCS foes (Southern Illinois 2011, Central Arkansas 2012, Southeast Missouri 2013, Presbyterian 2014, UT Martin 2015, Wofford 2016) since dropping the 2010 season opener to Jacksonville State in double overtime.

• During this streak, the Rebels have outscored opponents a combined 284-87.

• Since 2005, the Rebels have won 12 of 13 games against FCS teams.

• Over the last 13 games versus FCS teams, Ole Miss is averaging 42.2 points per game while only surrendering 16.2 ppg.

LUKE FAMILY LEGACY

Longtime Rebel Matt Luke, making his head coaching debut in this game, bleeds Red and Blue as deeply as anyone. A four-year center for the Rebels (1995-98), he is entering his 10th year overall as a member of the Ole Miss coaching staff. He grew up a Rebel fan thanks to his father, Tommy, who was a defensive back at Ole Miss in the 1960s and his brother, Tom, who quarterbacked the Rebels from 1989-91. Tom is also on the Ole Miss football staff as assistant athletics director for player development, while Tom’s son, Cale, is a senior wide receiver on the squad. Matt is married to the former Ashley Grantham of Oxford, and they have two sons, Harrison and Cooper.

COACHING DEBUTS

With Matt Luke’s win over South Alabama, Ole Miss’ last five head coaches have been victorious in their first game on the Rebel sideline. Of those that have coached since joining the SEC in 1933, the Rebels are 11-4 in their debut.

OPENERS

• The Rebels are 91-27-5 (.760 winning percentage) in season openers and have taken 18 of the last 22.

•  Ole Miss is 100-17-5 (.840 winning pct.) in home openers … When playing their home opener in Oxford, the Rebels are 78-10-4 (.870 winning pct.) … Ole Miss has won each of its last six home openers.

OLE MISS IN SEPTEMBER

• Ole Miss is 161-85-7 (.650 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 114-39-6 (.736 winning pct.) all-time versus non-conference opponents during the month.

• Ole Miss is 102-32-3 (.756 winning pct.) in September home games (including home contests played in Memphis and Jackson), including a 77-19-2 (.796 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)

WATCH LIST REBELS

Ole Miss players have garnered a bunch of preseason honors this year, including several players tabbed Preseason All-America and Preseason All-SEC by media outlets. The following Rebels have been recognized on watch lists for some of the biggest awards in college football:

• DeMarquis Gates: Butkus Award

• Marquis Haynes: Chuck Bednarik Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Ted Hendricks Award, Lott IMPACT Trophy

• Greg Little: Outland Trophy

• Javon Patterson: Wuerffel Trophy, AFCA Good Works Team

• Shea Patterson: Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award

• Sean Rawlings: Rimington Trophy

• Gary Wunderlich: Lou Groza Award

FINAL CAMPAIGN FOR SACK-MASTER HAYNES

Preseason All-American DE Marquis Haynes enters his senior year ranked third in school history with 24.5 career sacks and fourth with 36.5 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.

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.

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.

GARY “WUNDER-KICK”

After a nearly flawless junior season, K/P Gary Wunderlich enters his senior season as one of the nation’s top placekickers, while also being able to handle punting and kickoff duties from time to time. The Memphis, Tennessee, native led all NCAA kickers with an SEC-record 95.7 field-goal percentage last year, converting 22 of 23 attempts. Dating back to last season, he made 19 straight field goals before a miss in the fourth quarter against South Alabama. He broke Bryson Rose’s previous school record of 17 straight and ranks second in SEC history for consecutive field goals made trailing only Georgia’s Marshall Morgan by one. A Lou Groza Award semifinalist last year, he has been named to the watch list this preseason, as well as to various preseason All-America and All-SEC squads.

FIRST-TIME STARTERS

Five Rebels made their first career starts against South Alabama: (Offense) D.K. Metcalf (WR); (Defense) Josiah Coatney (DT), Donta Evans (LB), Victor Evans (DE) and C.J. Moore (FS)

DEBUTS

Eleven players made their Ole Miss debut in the season opener: Ryder Anderson, Gabe Angel, D.D. Bowie, Breon Dixon, Donta Evans, Kweisi Fountain, D.J. Forte, Javien Hamilton, Luke Logan, Royce Newman, Tre Nixon, Jack Propst, Charles Wiley and Brenden Williams

NEW BLOOD

• With six offensive starters and five defensive starters gone from last year’s team, the Ole Miss coaches will be looking for younger players to fill some of those big shoes.

• Six of last year’s starters are currently on NFL rosters: WR Quincy Adeboyejo (UFA, Ravens), TE Evan Engram (1st-round pick, Giants), DT D.J. Jones (6th-round pick, 49ers), RB Akeem Judd (UFA, Titans), QB Chad Kelly (7th-round pick, Broncos), WR Damore’ea Stringfellow (UFA, Dolphins) … CB Derrick Jones (6th-round pick, Jets) and CB Carlos Davis (UFA, Rams) are also in the league.

• Record-breaking QB Chad Kelly is now in the NFL, but sophomore QB Shea Patterson gained crucial experience when he started the final three games last season after Kelly went down with a knee injury … In his first game as starter, Patterson led a second-half comeback in a 29-28 win at No. 8 Texas A&M.

• Ole Miss lost three of its top four receivers from 2016 (Engram, Stringfellow, Adeboyejo), but the cupboard is still quite full at receiver with the likes of senior Markell Pack, junior DaMarkus Lodge and sophomores A.J. Brown, Van Jefferson and D.K. Metcalf, among others.

WELCOME BACK

• The following players are returning from injuries or ineligibility last season and are expected to play key roles this fall:

• DB C.J. Moore: Penciled in as the starter at free safety, Moore missed all of 2016 with a torn pectoral.

• RB Eric Swinney: After a redshirt in 2015, missed all of 2016 after a knee injury in the opener vs. Florida State.

• DB Ken Webster: Has been practicing at both CB and FS … Missed all of 2016 after suffering a knee injury in the opener vs. Florida State … Full-time starter at CB in 2015.

• RB Jordan Wilkins: Rushed for 379 yards and four TDs as a sophomore in 2015.

OFFENSIVE NOTES

• Ole Miss returns five starters and 28 lettermen from last year’s offense that led the SEC in passing and ranked top four in scoring and total offense.

• Shea Patterson returns after starting the final three games of his freshman season following Chad Kelly’s (now with Denver Broncos) ACL injury.

• Leading rusher Akeem Judd (826 yards) graduated, leaving senior Jordan Wilkins as the leader of the RB corps … Senior Eugene Brazley andsophomores D’Vaughn Pennamon and Eric Swinney will compete for carries.

• The Rebels have to replace full-time starting WRs Damore’ea Stringfellow (Miami Dolphins) and Quincy Adeboyejo (Baltimore Ravens) who were Nos. 3 and 4 on the team in receiving yards, respectively. last year.

• Top returning WRs are sophomore Van Jefferson (who started every game last year and earned Freshman All-America honors), sophomore A.J. Brown, junior DaMarkus Lodge, senior Markell Pack and sophomore D.K. Metcalf, who combined for 10 TD catches last year.

• Gone is first team All-American and statistically the best tight end in school history Evan Engram (New York Giants) who is the only four-time All-SEC pick in school history and finished his career with 162 receptions, 2,320 receiving yards and 15 TD catches.

• Ole Miss returns four of five starters from last year’s O-line and several others who earned starts and significant snaps throughout the season.

DEFENSIVE NOTES

• The Rebels return six starters and 28 lettermen from last year’s defense.

• All-SEC end Marquis Haynes returns to lead the Landshark Defense … A senior, he ranks third in school history with

24.5 career sacks and fourth with 36.5 tackles for loss.

• Freshman All-American Benito Jones will be a sophomore and returning starter Breeland Speaks a junior, to lead the way on the interior of the defense.

• Senior DeMarquis Gates, who led the team with 76 tackles in 2015 and 79 in 2016, is the lone returning starter at LB and has played on both the inside and outside throughout his career.

• Returning starters at DB include Zedrick Woods (moving from FS to SS) and Myles Hartsfield (moving from rover to CB), a Freshman All-America pick.

• Ole Miss lost four senior cornerbacks from last year, but still return a load of young experience that provides promise for this season, including sophomores Jaylon Jones and Jalen Julius, and senior Ken Webster, a full-time starter in 2015, who returns after injuring his knee against Florida State last year.

SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES

• The kicking game should be a strong point this year with senior returnees Gary Wunderlich at placekicker and Will Gleeson at punter … Both are entering their fourth seasons as full-time starters.

• With the loss of kick/punt returner Carlos Davis (Los Angeles Rams), Ole Miss will look to Jordan Wilkins, Eugene Brazley, Jalen Julius, Tre Nixon, A.J. Brown and Van Jefferson to help fill those shoes.

ODDS AND ENDS

• Ole Miss plays 10 bowl teams from last year, tied for second-most in the country with Duke and South Carolina … Only Notre Dame and Syracuse (11) will play more.

• The Rebels will face South Alabama and California for the first time this year.

• After four years of very little coaching turnover, Ole Miss will break in a new offensive coordinator (Phil Longo), defensive coordinator (Wesley McGriff), linebackers coach (Bradley Dale Peveto), defensive line coach (Fred die Roach), offensive line coach (Jack Bicknell Jr.) and wide receivers coach (Jacob Peeler) this season.

CHUCKY MULLINS COURAGE AWARD

In the spring, senior DE Marquis Haynes became the 27th different Rebel to be awarded the Chucky Mullins Courage Award, which goes to a standout defensive player each year. The award honors the late Chucky Mullins, who had his Ole Miss career come to an end during the 1989 Homecoming game against Vanderbilt when he was paralyzed after making a tackle. After returning to his studies at Ole Miss, Mullins passed away May 6, 1991. Haynes wears the No. 38 jersey in Mullins’ honor this season.

LUKE’S WEEKLY RADIO SHOW ON TUESDAYS

RebTalk, the official weekly radio show of Ole Miss Athletics, is moving to a new day and location for this season. Beginning Aug. 29, RebTalk will be broadcast each Tuesday this fall at Bouré in downtown Oxford from 7-8 p.m. The show, which is hosted by the “Voice of the Rebels” David Kellum and includes special guests, will air live on the Ole Miss IMG Sports Network. Ole Miss Football head coach Matt Luke and select players will join the broadcast each Tuesday throughout the 2017 season. There is no show scheduled for Sept. 19, the Rebels’ bye week. – RN