Rebels not bothered by Memphis’ chant, “We want Ole Miss”
After Memphis defeated its conference rival Cincinnati, 53-46, in a September 24th Thursday night American Athletic Conference showdown, its fans were chanting “We want Ole Miss” consistently as they were heading for the exits inside the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
The chant got back to 13th-ranked Ole Miss (5-1, 2-1 SEC), which is coming off a 52-3 homecoming win over New Mexico State, but the Rebels are not bothered by the chatter that’s heating up in the city of Memphis.
“I heard about that chant,” said senior Mike Hilton, who was moved back to playing huskie against New Mexico State. “We’re not looking at it like that, everybody has to have confidence in their team. We are going to be ready for Saturday and be ready to go out there and perform.”
“We’re at a good place right now,” Hilton continued.
They are an undefeated team, so they are going to try to make a statement against us and everybody knows how big the rivalry is between us, so it’s going to be a fun one.
Mike Hilton, Ole Miss huskie
And that is what most, if not all, Rebel players said when they were asked about the chant and the build up to Saturday’s game.
Freeze familiar with the Tigers
With the New Mexico State game in the rearview mirror, Ole Miss sets its sight on an 11:00 am matchup against Memphis. Head coach Hugh Freeze is very familiar with the Memphis Tigers and knows how proficient the offense has been since the start of the season.
Memphis currently has the top scoring offense in the AAC (47.8 ppg) and is ranked 10th in the nation.
“Justin has always been a good offensive coach. They game plan very well,” Freeze said about the undefeated Tigers (5-0, 2-0 AAC), who moved up to No. 22 in the USA Today Amway Coaches Poll.
They have a very good quarterback that allows them to do a lot of things, and their scheme is very sound. There are a lot of moving parts to it. It’s very similar to what we do in some areas, and it’s also a bit different.
Ole Miss Head Coach Hugh Freeze
While some are building this contest up to be a Super Bowl-like event, the Rebels are staying cool, calm, and collected and are treating their matchup against Memphis as the next game on the schedule–nothing more, nothing less.
Rebels ready for rivalry game
“I’m pretty sure we are going to get their best game; they are going to get our best game,” Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell said. “We are going to look to make plays and come out with the win.”
The Rebels’ starting quarterback Chad Kelly, who was named to the College Football Performance National Performer of the Year Midseason Watch List on Monday, has watched three of the Tigers’ games this season (Bearcats, UCF, and USF) and was in attendance for then 10th-ranked Ole Miss’ 24-3 win over Memphis last season.
Before Kelly threw a touchdown pass for the Rebels, he already had an eye-opening experience to the renewed rivalry between the two programs that are an hour and 23 minutes apart.
“They’ll be good, they’re undefeated, a good team for sure, nobody can stop us except for ourselves and we just have to make sure we keep getting better,” Kelly said.
Feature image credit: Amanda Swain, The Rebel Walk