Published on December 22nd, 2014 | by Carver Rayburn0
Charge of the Light Brigade
No. 9 Ole Miss vs. No. 6 TCU
December 31, 2014
11:30 AM CST • ESPN
Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Expectations for the 2014 season were high.
Hugh Freeze had taken a team that went 2-10 (0-8) in 2011 to consecutive bowl games, increasing the team’s win total from to seven in 2012 and eight in 2013. The speculators ranked the Rebels as high as 16 in preseason publications and the Ole Miss faithful responded, buying season tickets in record breaking numbers.
But no one saw this one coming.
Rebels win in dramatic fashion. Coming from behind in the fourth quarter to knock off the envy-laden Crimson Tide, 23-17.
Chaos. Celebrations. Goal Posts. Bjork asking for a piece of the post. Raising funds to pay the fine and then some in 48 hours. A day that will be remembered for decades.
Ole Miss would climb as high as No. 3 in the polls and sat at No. 4 in the first ever College Football Playoff Poll. Two heart breaking and season-ending losses to LSU and Auburn took all the wind from the sails of Freeze’s ship and Ole Miss laid an egg at Arkansas to drop to 8-3 on the season.
The Bulldogs, ranked No. 4 only needed a win to solidify their claim to be included in the College Football Playoff. A trip to the Sugar Bowl would be their reward. Then, the game started.
Behind a 91-yard touchdown run and a 31-yard halfback pass for a score, No. 19 Ole Miss throttled No. 4 Mississippi State 31-17.
“It’s a great feeling to reclaim the pride of our program and win the Egg Bowl,” Freeze said after the game. “It’s a priority we have every year. To get that done tonight, with facing some adversity, I’m so proud of our young men.”
The Ole Miss defense held Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott to just 48 yards rushing and sacked the sophomore Heisman hopeful four times.
With wins over No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Mississippi State, Ole Miss defeated two Top 5 programs in the same season for the first time since 1969.
The last time an Ole Miss squad won nine regular season games was in 2003. This year’s squad defeated three 10-win teams and finished with the nation’s top scoring defense, allowing just 13.8 points per game.
Now, they get a shot at No. 6 TCU. Peaches, baby.
“It’s an exciting time in college athletics, and we are thrilled to be one of the teams selected in the first ‘New Year’s Six’ bowls,” Freeze said. “We are honored to accept this great invitation and take on an outstanding TCU team. Atlanta is a place that is very dear to our program, and it’s important to us that we represent our great university.”
No. 9 Ole Miss will face No. 6 Texas Christian in the 47th Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The meeting will be the seventh time the two teams have played each other, with Ole Miss leading the series 5-1. The Rebels last played TCU in 1983, Billy Brewer’s first year. The 20-7 road win over the Horned Frogs began a five game win streak that landed Ole Miss in the Independence Bowl. Other TCU ties include the fact that legendary coach John Vaught is a Horned Frogs alum.
The Peach Bowl will mark the 36th postseason appearance for Ole Miss, tied for 18th in the NCAA. The Rebels are 23-12 in bowl games, tied for ninth-most in NCAA history.
Since 1992, Ole Miss has lost just one bowl game, the 2000 Music City Bowl, where they fell short in a comeback attempt, 49-38. They are 10-1 during that frame, including a NCAA best six straight bowl victories.
This will mark Ole Miss’ second appearance in the Peach Bowl, having defeated Georgia Tech 41-18 in the 1971 game.
“The Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl staff does a great job of hosting a first-class bowl game and festivities, and I am confident Rebel Nation will take over Atlanta during the holiday season,” Bjork said. “Congratulations to everyone, and We are Ole Miss!”
Click HERE for a list of “peachy” events happening in Atlanta from December 29 – 31st.
This article was originally printed in The Local Voice #219 (published December 18, 2014).
To download a PDF of this issue, click here.