Rebels headed to the Outback Bowl to play Indiana
When Ole Miss arrives at the Outback Bowl Jan. 2, the Rebels will be in unfamiliar territory as they have never played in that postseason game. But there will be familiarity when the Rebels look across the Raymond James Stadium field at their opponent – Indiana.
— Outback Bowl (@outbackbowl) December 20, 2020
The Hoosiers are coached by former Ole Miss assistant Tom Allen. He is assisted by former Rebel coaches Grant Heard, Jason Jones and Kane Wommack. Wommack will be leaving Indiana after the game to become the new head coach at South Alabama.
There is a Hoosiers’ player with an Ole Miss connection as well. Linebacker Thomas Allen, the son of the head coach, will have a double homecoming. He played at both Oxford High School and Tampa’s Plant High. Allen will not be available after suffering a season-ending hip injury.
Two other Mississippians play for the Hoosiers. Freshman Khalil Benson is from Southaven and Christopher Keys is a freshman from Collins.
The Hoosiers will have a semi-homefield advantage. Indiana features 22 players from Florida, seven from Tampa and another from nearby Clearwater. Ole Miss counters with eight Floridians on its roster.
In the Big Ten’s shortened schedule, Indiana finished 6-1 with its lone loss coming to playoff bound Ohio State, 42-35. The Hoosiers have knocked off then-ranked Penn State, as well as Michigan and Wisconsin.
Like Ole Miss heading into last week’s LSU game, Indiana will be coming off a long hiatus. The last time the Hoosiers played was their 14-6 win over Wisconsin Dec. 5.
Coach Allen, whose team has outscored its opponents an average of 30.1-19.4, was recently named Big TenCoach of the Year.
The @bigten Coach of the Year is here! 🙌
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) December 19, 2020
Michael Penix, Jr., was the leader of the Hoosiers’ offense until he went down with a knee injury to end his season. Jack Tuttle took over the final two regular season games throwing for just 167 yards and two touchdowns.
Ty Fryfogle is the go-to receiver, grabbing 34 passes, averaging 20.2 yards per catch and he has scored seven touchdowns.
Running back Stevie Scott III has shown a knack for finding the end zone as he has scored eight touchdowns. He is Indiana’s leading rusher, but only has 462 yards on the season.
Defensively, the Hoosiers have a stout secondary. Indiana has snagged 17 interceptions this season. Jaylin Williams and Jason Johnson have each picked off four passes. Williams should be familiar with Ole Miss as he is a native of Memphis.
Micah McFadden leads the team with 52 tackles, 8.5 of them for loss and three sacks. He has also intercepted two passes. Jerome Johnson has contributed four sacks and Tiawan Mullen 3.5 more.
Charles Campbell has hit 8-of-9 field goals with a long of 52 yards, while Haydon Whitehead is averaging 42.4 yards per punt.
Although Ole Miss has never met Indiana before on the football field, this will mark the second time the Rebels have faced a Big Ten opponent in a Florida bowl game. In 1991, Ole Miss fell to Michigan 35-3 in the Gator Bowl.
The Outback Bowl is set to kickoff at 12:30 p.m. (EST) and will be broadcast on ABC. Click here for ticket information. Click here for all your Outback Bowl information, including links to stats, audio and video.
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.