Game Primer: Football Wraps Up Non-Conference Play vs. Tulsa – Ole Miss Athletics

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Football 9/21/2022
• Ole Miss and Tulsa are meeting for the fourth time, with Tulsa leading the all-time series 3-0 … This will mark the first time in the series that the two teams have met in Oxford.
• Dating back to Nov. 14, 2020, the Rebels have won 11 straight home games, the longest winning streak in Oxford since winning 12 straight contests from 1960 to 1964 … The streak is tied for seventh amongst Power 5 programs.
• Ole Miss has held eight straight opponents to 21 or fewer points, the longest active streak among Power-5 teams and the longest by any Ole Miss team since a streak of 10 in a row across the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
• The Rebels are ranked No. 13 in the AFCA Coaches Poll and No. 16 in the AP Poll.
• Ole Miss is 102-35-3 (.739 winning pct.) in September home games (including contests played in Memphis and Jackson).
• The Rebels are one of just eight Power 5 teams in the country that haven’t trailed in a game at any point this season.
• The Rebels rank No. 5 in FBS in sacks per game (4.33) and No. 12 in tackles for loss per game (8.7).
• Ole Miss is No. 2 in the FBS allowing just 4.3 points per game.
• The Rebels lead the country in team coverage with a Pro Football Focus grade of 92.7.
• 56 of the 125 players (45 percent) on the Rebel roster are newcomers and are in their first season at Ole Miss.
Zach Evans (105.7) and Quinshon Judkins (96.3) and are the only pair of teammates in the country averaging 95-plus yards rushing per game
• WR Jonathan Mingo is No. 1 in the SEC and No. 10 in FBS in yards per reception (22.6).
• TE Michael Trigg is second in the SEC, No. 19 nationally with three receiving TDs.
• DT KD Hill was awarded the Chucky Mullins Courage Award and will wear No. 38 throughout the 2022 season.
Lane Kiffin (Fresno State, 1998) is in his third season at Ole Miss and helped lead the Rebels to back-to-back bowl appearances in his first two years in Oxford. Kiffin guided the Rebels to a 10-3 record in 2021, the first 10-win regular season in school history. That included a perfect 7-0 mark at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, part of an ongoing 11-game home win streak for Kiffin’s teams. The Rebels finished the season ranked No. 11 in both the AP and AFCA Coaches Poll; its highest final ranking since 2016. Ole Miss ranked top-20 in the FBS in nine different offensive categories in his first season, including having the No. 3 team in the country in total offense, shattering the school record with 555.5 yards per game. Kiffin is in his 11th year at the NCAA level and has posted an all-time record of 76-42. In December 2016, Kiffin took over an FAU program that had won a total of nine combined games over the previous three seasons. Kiffin proceeded to take the Owls to new heights over the last three years, including two conference titles and two 10-win seasons. In his head coaching stops at USC, Tennessee and FAU, Kiffin has shown a propensity in helping turn programs around. Kiffin graduated from Fresno State in 1998 after playing quarterback for three seasons (1994-96) for the Bulldogs. He began his coaching career as a student assistant at Fresno State under Pat Hill in 1997 and 1998. He moved on to Colorado State in 1999 as a graduate assistant.
2022 marks the eighth season in which Philip Montgomery sits at the helm of the Tulsa football program, holding an overall head coaching record of 40-47 including helping the Golden Hurricane to sit 2-1 to open their new season. So far in 2022, Montgomery’s offensive prowess has helped his team’s passing offense rank first in the entire FBS entering their matchup with the Rebels, averaging 413.0 yards per game through the air. Serving in offensive coordinator and QB/RB coaching roles at Baylor and Houston prior to his hiring at Tulsa, Montgomery has helped mentor some of the most prolific passers in college football including working with Houston’s Kevin Kolb and Case Keenum, as well as helping Baylor’s Robert Griffin III earn the 2011 Heisman Trophy. Montgomery has led Tulsa to a total of four bowl appearances in his time with the team, including earning back-to-back bowl bids in 2020 and 2021 with the team defeating Old Dominion last season 30-17 to win the 2021 Myrtle Beach Bowl. This marked the team’s first bowl win since 2016, when Montgomery led the team to a 10-3 record and a victory at the 2016 Miami Beach Bowl.
With a record of 2-1 in 2022, Tulsa heads to Oxford on a two-game winning streak after earning victories over Northern Illinois (38-35) and Jacksonville State (54-17) behind the team’s elite passing attack that currently ranks first in the FBS. Senior quarterback Davis Brin enters his matchup with the Rebels as the nation’s leading passer, already tallying 1,206 yards in his first three games of 2022 to average 402.0 yards per game. Brin also leads the nation in passing touchdowns, slinging 11 to just one interception helping him to rank 16th in passing efficiency (177.8) early on in the year. The Rebels will have to cover some of the nation’s top talents at wide receiver, with Brin’s favorite targets of Keylon Stokes and JuanCarlos Santana both ranking in the top 10 in the country in receiving yards (457, 326) and receiving yards per game (152.3, 108.7), while Stokes ranks second in receptions/game (9.3) and Santana ranks ninth in receiving touchdowns (4) in 2022. The Golden Hurricane defense will look towards the tackling of safety Bryson Powers and linebacker Justin Wright to help fight the Rebel offense, with Powers’ 27 total tackles leading the team in 2022 with Wright’s 25 sitting not far behind.
• Ole Miss is 160-92-7 (.631 winning pct.) all-time during the month of September after vacated wins.
• Ole Miss is 102-35-3 (.739 winning pct.) in September home games (including contests played in Memphis and Jackson).
• The Rebels are 77-22-2 (.772 winning percentage) in September games played in Oxford after vacated wins.
• Ole Miss is 113-41-6 (.725 winning pct.) all-time versus non-conference opponents during the month.
• Ole Miss and Tulsa are meeting for the fourth time.
• Tulsa leads the all-time series 3-0.
• The Rebels and Golden Hurricane haven’t met since 1964.
• This will mark the first time in the series that the two teams have met in Oxford.
The 13 total points allowed this season are the fewest given up by a Rebel squad through the first three games of the year since 1963. Ole Miss also opened the ’63 season allowing just 13 points in the season’s first three contests. The Rebels opened the season with a 0-0 tie to Memphis. They blew out Kentucky 31-7 out before defeating Houston 20-6 during week No. 3. That 1963 team went on to finish the season 7-1-2 and were crowned SEC Champions.
Dating back to Nov. 14, 2020, the Rebels have won 11 straight home contests, tied for seventh amongst Power 5 schools. It marks the longest winning streak in Oxford since winning 12 straight games from Nov. 5, 1960 to Nov. 7, 1964. A tie to LSU in 1960 broke up the winning streak. With the tie, the Rebels went unbeaten for 34 games over the course of 12 years (1952-64). Ole Miss finished the 2021 campaign with a perfect 7-0 home record, its first undefeated season at home (on the field) since 1992 when the Rebels finished 6-0 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Records show Ole Miss as 5-0 at home in 1993, but the Alabama victory was by way of forfeit due to NCAA rules violation by the Crimson Tide. Alabama defeated the Rebels 19-14 on Oct. 22 of that year. Last year was also the first time that Ole Miss has won seven on-campus games within the same season.
Looking to replace 33 letterwinners, including 14 total starters, Kiffin and the Rebels turned to the transfer portal to help strengthen its roster for 2022. The Rebels brought in a total of 28 transfers, including 24 portal transfers that ranked No. 2 according to 247Sports. USC transfer QB Jaxson Dart was rated the No. 3 overall transfer and started three games in 2021 for the Trojans. RB Zach Evans was also ranked in the top 10 in 247Sports’ transfer rankings. Evans was ranked as the No. 2 running back and No. 8 overall player in the transfer portal. TE Michael Trigg was the third Rebel to be ranked as a top 20 transfer, rated as the No. 1 tight end and No. 19 overall player. 56 of the 125 players (45 percent) on the Rebel roster are newcomers and are in their first season at Ole Miss.
Dating back to last season’s game against Liberty, Ole Miss has held eight straight opponents to 21 or fewer points. It is the longest active streak among Power 5 teams and the longest streak by any Ole Miss team since a streak of 10 in a row across the end of the 2013 season (two games) and into the 2014 season (eight games). The Ole Miss defense leads the SEC and ranks No. 26 nationally with six takeaways through three games this year. The Rebels have held two of their first three opponents to under 65 yards rushing.
TCU transfer Zach Evans and true freshman Quinshon Judkins have combined for a lethal one-two punch for Ole Miss’ rushing attack. Evans has registered 49 carries for 317 yards and three touchdowns. His 105.7 rushing yards per carry ranks second in the SEC and No. 13 in the FBS. Judkins has carried the ball 43 times for 289 yards and three TDs. The duo are the only pair of teammates in the country averaging 95-plus yards rushing per game.
Saturday’s 42-0 win over Georgia Tech was the largest Power 5 win for Ole Miss since beating Mississippi State, 45-0, on Nov. 28, 2008. It was also the largest non-SEC Power 5 win since defeating Boston College, 54-0, on Oct. 7, 1950, in Oxford, Mississippi.
Ole Miss leads the SEC and ranks No. 5 in the FBS with 271.7 rushing yards per game. The Rebels are coming off a game in which they tallied a season-high 316 yards rushing, the most against a non-SEC Power 5 opponent in available game-by-game records since at least 1967. Three Rebels ended the day with two rushing touchdowns: RB Zach Evans, RB Quinshon Judkins and RB Ulysses Bentley IV. It marks the first time since Oct. 27, 1979 (vs. Vanderbilt) that three Ole Miss rushers tallied multiple scores in the same game.
Saturday’s 42-0 shutout vs. Georgia Tech was the first by an Ole Miss team since besting Presbyterian, 48-0, on Nov. 8, 2014. A 39-0 win in 2012 over Tulane, in New Orleans, was the last time the Rebels shutout an opponent on the road. Saturday was the first Power 5 shutout for Ole Miss since a 45-0 win over Mississippi State in 2008, as well as the first against a non-current member of the SEC since beating Florida State, 33-0, on Oct. 7, 1961. The Rebels also had two shutouts against current SEC members before they entered the conference against Missouri on Sept. 14, 1974 (10-0) and South Carolina on Sept. 23, 1972 (21-0).
TCU transfer Khari Coleman has registered 6.5 tackles for loss through the first three games on the season. With his 5.0 TFL in the season opener vs. Troy, Coleman became just the third Rebel since 1999 to tally five or more tackles for loss in a single game. Mark Robinson registered 5.0 TFL last season and Kendrick Clancy had 6.0 in 1999. Coleman earned Freshman All-America accolades in 2020 after a stellar freshman campaign for the Horned Frogs. Coleman ranked second in the Big 12 and seventh nationally with 15.0 tackles for loss as a true freshman on his way to being named the Big 12 Co-Defensive Freshman of the Year. The 10.0 tackles for loss were the most by any SEC team in their season opener and are the most in an Ole Miss opening game since 2014.
The Ole Miss rushing attack continues to be the strong suit of a Rebel squad that has started the season 3-0. The Rebels have had at least one 100-yard rusher in each of the first three games of the season. It’s the first time Ole Miss has accomplished that feat since 2013 (Jeff Scott, Vanderbilt [138]; Barry Brunetti, Southeast Missouri [111]; Jeff Scott, Texas [164]). Zach Evans leads the Rebels with two 100-yard rushing performances this season.
Ulysses Bentley IV, a transfer running back from SMU, has recorded at least one rushing touchdown in each of his first three games in a Rebel uniform this season. The Houston, Texas, native leads the SEC and ranks No. 18 nationally with four rushing TDs in 2022. Bentley had 15 rushing touchdowns during his three years at SMU, including 11 during the 2020 campaign. To go along with the 11 TDs, Bentley led the league with 913 rushing yards and earned  Co-Rookie of the Year in The American.
One of Ole Miss’ biggest additions through the transfer portal was Michael Trigg. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound tight end transfer from USC had a career-day during the second week of the season vs. Central Arkansas. Trigg tied a school record with three receiving touchdowns vs. the Bears. He became the 11th Rebel and just the second tight end to haul in three TD receptions. Trigg ranks second in the SEC, No. 19 in FBS in receiving TDs (3). Among tight ends, Trigg leads the SEC and second in the nation in TD receptions, all of which have come inside the red zone.
The Rebels have had a knack for disrupting plays in the opponent’s backfield this season. Ole Miss leads the SEC and ranks No. 12 in the FBS with 8.7 tackles for loss per game. The Rebels had 12.0 tackles for loss Saturday vs. Georgia Tech, the most by a Rebel defense since recording 15.0 against Kent State on Sept. 22, 2018.
K Jonathan Cruz has had 14 of his 18 kickoffs in 2022 go for touchbacks, including seven kicks into the end zone on Saturday. Thanks in large part to Cruz’s big leg, Ole Miss is second in the SEC and No. 6 in FBS allowing just 12.0 yards per return on kickoffs.
Ole Miss DT KD Hill was recently named the winner of the 2022 Chucky Mullins Courage Award. The award, sponsored by Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, 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. A native of Eufaula, Alabama, Hill becomes the 32nd recipient in the 33-year history of the award. Hill will wear Mullins’ No. 38 number throughout the 2022 season. Hill has appeared in 37 career games for the Rebels, including 20 career starts at nose tackle.
One of the most exciting factors of the talent on the Ole Miss roster would be the depth at the receiver position. Even with so many new names added to the receiver roster, the relationships between the athletes have not let competition get in the middle of the purpose of the team: to win. Veteran Jonathan Mingo has started 29 games in his career and leads all Rebel receivers in 2022 with 203 receiving yards. Transfers Jaylon Robinson, Malik Heath and Jordan Watkins all bring valuable collegiate experience that will continue to help the Rebel offense.
Arguably one of the deepest positions for the Rebels in 2022 is the offensive line. Preseason All-America selection Nick Broeker anchors a line for an Ole Miss offense that finished sixth in the FBS last season in total offense. Broeker played in every single snap for the Rebels and has started 23 straight games. Jeremy James and Caleb Warren also both return after starting 13 and 11 games respectively last season. Eli Acker, redshirt freshman Jayden Williams and WKU transfer Mason Brooks, Hamilton Hall, Cedric Melton and Reece McIntyre will all see time on the experienced o-line for the Rebels.
Many Rebels are transitioning from high school or life at another university, but Tywone Malone is making a different transition—from baseball back to football. Malone appeared in seven games for the Rebels on the baseball diamond, leading all non-starters with a .444 batting average and two home runs in just nine at-bats. While he wasn’t on the Rebels’ travel roster as they conquered Omaha and brought a national championship back home to Oxford, he certainly showed he has what it takes to compete on the diamond in the SEC, and now he’s back looking to prove the same on the gridiron.
Ole Miss has four players on its roster from outside the U.S., including two Canadian players (Jaden Dicks and Tavius Robinson). Offensive lineman Tobias Braun (Germany) and punter Fraser Masin (Australia) round out the Rebels who add a little international flavor. Robinson has started every game for the Rebels this season and has tallied six total tackles, including a sack.
A total of 39 different Rebels have made their debut for Ole Miss in 2022: LB Tyler Banks (first career), RB Ulysses Bentley IV, LB Lex Boucvalt, OL Mason Brooks, LB Troy Brown, LB Khari Coleman, K Jonathan Cruz, QB Jaxson Dart, RB Zach Evans, DT Zxavian Harris (first career), DE JJ Hawkins, TE Kyirin Heath, WR Malik Heath, LB Reginald Hughes, CB Davison Igbinosun (first career), DE Jared Ivey, S Dashaun Jerkins, RB Quinshon Judkins (first career), WR Jalen Knox, LB Danny Lockhart Jr., P Fraser Masin (first career), OL Cedrick Nicely, DT JJ Pegues (first career), OL Micah Pettus (first career), LB John Porchivina (first career), WR Jaylon Robinson, WR Larry Simmons (first career), CB Demarcus Smith (first career), Jarell Stinson (first career), S Ladarius Tennison, TE Michael Trigg, WR Dayton Wade, WR Jordan Watkins, LB Trip White, CB Demarko Williams (first career), OL Jayden Williams (first career), LB Jaron Willis, RB Isheem Young.
RebTalk, the official weekly radio show of Ole Miss Athletics, will broadcast each Thursday this fall at Bouré in downtown Oxford from 6-7 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 Lane Kiffin and select players will join the broadcast each Thursday throughout the season.
Earning a degree from the University of Mississippi is one of the top priorities for Ole Miss student-athletes. Eight current Rebels have already accomplished that goal with eligibility remaining this fall: Jonathan Cruz (Psychology), Hamilton Hall (Integrated Marketing Communications), KD Hill (Exercise Science), Malik Heath (Interdisciplinary Studies), Dashaun Jerkins (Medicine Health & Society), Amani Johnson (Accountancy), Jaylon Robinson (Human Communications), Isaiah Woullard (Social Work).
Eleven Rebels have made their first career starts at some point for Ole Miss this season: QB Luke Altmyer, LB Troy Brown, QB Jaxson Dart, RB Zach Evans, WR Malik Heath, CB Davison Igbinosun, WR Jaylon Robinson, S Ladarius Tennison, TE Michael Trigg, WR Jayden Williams, S Isheem Young. Prior to Ole Miss, Brown had 30 starts at Central Michigan, Young 21 at Iowa State, Evans eight at TCU, Heath nine at Mississippi State, Robinson six at UCF, Dart three starts at USC.
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