First and 10: Ten Interesting Facts as the Rebels Prepare to Face Auburn
OXFORD, Miss. — As you’re waiting for today’s Ole Miss kickoff against Auburn, here are 10 interesting facts you might not know about the Rebels.
1) Series with Auburn
This is the 45th meeting all-time between Ole Miss and Auburn dating back to 1928. The Tigers lead the all-time series 34-10 and are 16-3 in Auburn.
This will be the first time that Ole Miss and Auburn will face each other as ranked teams since 2014.
2) Nationally Ranked
The Rebels check in at No. 9 in the Coaches Poll and No. 10 in AP Top 25. What you might not know is this is the first top-10 ranking for Ole Miss since the final polls in 2015.
The Rebels’ were ranked to start the season (No. 25) for the first time since 2016 when Ole Miss started ranked No. 11, and head coach Lane Kiffin’s bunch has been ranked in the top 25 all eight weeks this season.
The SEC boasts six teams in the top 25, including No. 1 Georgia.
3) Rebels in the Statistical Rankings
Ole Miss ranks in the top 10 in the country in six separate categories:
- total offense (541.1)
- scoring offense (41.9)
- rushing offense (263.3)
- first downs (195)
- passes had intercepted (1)
- turnovers lost (5)
Ole Miss ranks No. 4 in FBS in number of plays per game (79.6) and the Rebels’ 541.1 of total offense ranks third in the FBS and seventh in scoring offense (41.9 ppg).
Ole Miss also ranks No. 12 nationally and second in the SEC in sacks per game (3.3). The Rebels lead FBS in both fourth down attempts (30) and fourth down conversions (23).
4) QB Matt Corral
Quarterback Matt Corral is not only a threat to beat you with his arm, but as teams are quickly finding out, the junior signal-caller can also beat you with his feet. Corral has thrown for 1,913 and 15 touchdowns, while running for 67.7 yards per game and nine rushing TDs.
Matt Corral: big DIY guy. pic.twitter.com/5W37aP3ZqO
— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) October 23, 2021
He’s one of just two FBS quarterbacks (Malik Willis, Liberty) with at least 15 passing TDs and nine touchdowns on the ground. Prior to this season, Corral had just seven career rushing TDs in three seasons for the Rebels.
Against Tennessee, Corral became the first Rebel to run 30 times in a game since 2007 when BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran 33 times vs. Missouri. Corral finished with a career high in both rushing yards (195) and attempts (30) vs. the Vols.
The Rebels’ Heisman trophy candidate quarterback ranks top 10 nationally in total offense (341.0 ypg), passing efficiency (168.2), points responsible for (146) and yards per pass attempt (9.24).
Dating back to the 2019 season, Corral has thrown a touchdown in 19 straight games, the second-longest streak in school history. The Ventura, California, native trails only Chad Kelly who owns the record with 22 straight games with a passing TD from 2015-16.
5) WR Dontario Drummond
With Jonathan Mingo and Braylon Sanders out with injuries, wide receiver Dontario Drummond has stepped up in a big way for the Ole Miss offense. Drummond is third in the SEC and No. 18 in FBS with six receiving touchdowns.
6) Defensive Prowess
While the Rebel offense understandably garners much of the attention week in and week out, the Ole Miss defense has proven very capable of gaining some attention of its own.
Ole Miss currently ranks No. 12 nationally and second in the SEC in sacks per game (3.3).
DL Sam Williams leads the SEC and ranks No. 4 in the FBS with 1.07 sacks per game. Williams’ 7.5 sacks are tied for the most by any Rebel player in a single season since 2016.
Sam Williams was easily the biggest difference maker on Saturday. Johnson stood in the pocket as long as he wanted in our 2020 matchup. Williams was in his face all day making plays like this. pic.twitter.com/vZDsdsey45
— Fifth Quarter Ole Miss (@FQOleMiss) October 25, 2021
The Rebels have registered five or more sacks in back-to-back games for the first time since 1999. The Landshark D has tallied two or more sacks in six of the seven games this season.
Chance Campbell (8.0), Otis Reese (7.7) and Mark Robinson (7.3) all rank in the top 20 amongst SEC players in tackles per game.
7) Ole Miss connections with the state of Alabama
The Ole Miss roster features 16 players who are from Alabama:
- OL LeDarrius Cox (Mobile)
- DL Jalen Cunningham (Odenville)
- DB AJ Finley (Mobile)
- DB Jakorey Hawkins (Montgomery)
- TE Jonathan Hess (Vestavia Hills)
- DL KD Hill (Eufaula)
- OLB Cedric Johnson (Mobile)
- DL Patrick Lucas Jr. (Prattville)
- OLB Brandon Mack (Montgomery)
- OL Micah Pettus (Madison)
- QB Tyrrell Pigrome (Birmingham)
- WR Jamar Richardson (Aliceville)
- DL Demarcus Smith (Birmingham)
- TE Damarcus Thomas (Whatley)
- DB Trey Washington (Trussville)
- DL Sam Williams (Montgomery)
8) Fast-Paced Rebs
The Ole Miss offense has been moving the ball up and down the field at a very quick pace under Coach Kiffin and offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby.
The Rebels rank No. 4 in FBS in number of plays per game (79.6), averaging a play every 21 seconds. Ole Miss ran a school record 101 plays on offense in their win at Tennessee. The previous mark was 100 plays in 2004 against Wyoming. The 101 plays run were tied for the ninth-most in SEC history and are the most since 2018 when Texas A&M ran 107 in a seven overtime loss to LSU.
9) Fourth down…and going for it
Ole Miss leads the country in both fourth down attempts (30) and conversions (23), and Kiffin’s Rebels rank No. 9 in the FBS in conversion percentage, converting fourth downs at a 76.7 percent clip.
Ole Miss has gone for it on fourth down at least three times every game. The Rebels have been perfect on fourth down attempts against Louisville (3-for-3), Tulane (5-for-5) and LSU (3-for-3).
10) Running Wild
Ole Miss leads the SEC and ranks No. 3 in FBS with 263.3 rushing yards per game. The Rebels have tallied 250 or more yards on the ground for three straight games.
Corral, who came into the season with seven career TD runs over the course of 24 games, is tied for fourth amongst FBS quarterbacks with nine rushing touchdowns. Corral and Snoop Conner both rank No. 18 nationally in rushing TDs. The Rebels led the SEC in rushing last season (217.7 ypg) for the first time since 1962.
Snoop Conner scores UNTOUCHED.
Rebels get back on top with 12 minutes remaining in the game 👀
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) October 9, 2021
Hotty Toddy and Beat Auburn!
(Feature image credit: LSUTigersWire.com)
Evelyn Van Pelt
Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn’s love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.