Ole Miss (1-0) at Tulane (1-0)
When: Saturday, Sept. 9
2:30 p.m. CT
Where: Yulman Stadium
Rankings: Ole Miss – No. 20 AP/No. 20 Coaches
Tulane – No. 24 AP/No. 22 Coaches
NEW ORLEANS, La. – Ole Miss is scheduled to New Orleans on Saturday to take on Tulane in one of just two games across the nation between ranked teams.
The only other meeting scheduled to take place between a pair of ranked teams is when No. 11 Texas (1-0) travels to take on third-ranked Alabama at Bryant-Denney Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Both team opened the season with wins last weekend with Texas defeating former Southwest Conference rival Rice, 37-10 and Alabama rolling all over Middle Tennessee 56.7.
Saturday’s meeting between the Rebels and Green Wave will be the 73rd in the all-time series dating back to 1893 when Ole Miss defeated Tulane 12-4 in a game played at Sportman’s Park in New Orleans. The Rebels, who have won each of the last 12 games in the series, lead the all-time series 44-28, but have been forced to vacate two of those triumphs for an official 42-28 edge in the history of the rivalry.
The two teams have met only twice when both have been ranked. The last time that took place was on Oct. 20, 1956 when No. 19 Tulane upset the sixth-ranked Rebel 10-3 at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson, Miss.
OLE MISS REBELS
Lane Kiffin is in his fourth season as coach at Ole Miss and has led the Rebels to a 24-13 record and three straight bowl appearances heading into Saturday’s game against the Green Wave.
In 11 years as a collegiate head coach, Kiffin owns an 85-47 (.644) after previously coaching at Tennessee (2009), Southern Cal (2010-13) and Florida Atlantic (2017-19). He is 2-4 all-time in bowl games during his career. He also coached the Oakland Raiders to a 5-15 (.250) record (2007-08).
Kiffin’s Rebels ranked third in the nation in rushing last season (256.6 ypg) and were No. 8 in total offense with 496.4 yards per contest, as well as finishing the year ranked in the top-20 among FBS teams in nine different offensive categories.
Ole Miss was ranked No. 11 in both the AP and the AFCA Coaches polls following the 2022 season as the Rebels finished 8-5 after falling to Texas Tech 42-25 in the Texas Bowl. It was the school’s highest final ranking since 2016.
It was a day like no other in the history of football at Ole Miss as the 22nd-ranked Rebels led start to finish on the way to a 73-7 blowout win over FCS foe Mercer on Sept. 2 in front of 60,097 fans at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium to open the 2023 season.
The 73 points were the most during Kiffin’s tenure at the school and is tied for seventh most in the storied history of football at the school.
The Rebels also set a new school record for most passing yards in a game to surpass the previous standard of 517 yards in a win over Louisiana-Monroe in 2018. The 667 yards of total offense in the game by the Rebels was the sixth-most in history at the school.
Tre Harris (6-2, 205, Sr., WR) and Jaxson Dart (6-2, 220, Jr., QB) provided a potent 1-2 punch for the Rebels. Harris became the first Ole Miss player to catch four touchdowns in a game and just the 12th Rebel to be on the receiving end of three TD passes in a single game. The 22nd player in Southeastern Conference history with at least four scoring receptions in a game, Harris ended the day with 133 yards on just six catches. Teammate Jordan Watkins (5-11, 190, Sr., WR) also caught six passes for 111 yards in the game for the Rebels.
Dart, meanwhile, completed 18 of his 23 passes attempts and finished the day with 334 passing yards.
The combination of Dart to Harris struck early as Ole Miss needed just three plays to take the lead when Dart connected with Harris on a 38-yard scoring strike just 51 seconds into the game. It was the fastest scoring drive to open a season for Ole Miss since 2018 when the Rebels defeated Texas Tech 47-27.
Mercer’s lone bright spot occurred a short time after Harris’ first score when Carter Peevy scampered 75 yards on the very next play to tie the game 7-7 with 13:53 remaining in the first period.
Dart, who threw for 296 yards in the first half, found Harris for two more touchdowns on plays that covered 69 and 20 yards and giving the speedy Harris three touchdowns in the first 3:15 of the game. His final score came in the third period on a 16-yard pass that pushed the Ole Miss lead to 52-7 with 9:45 remaining in the third quarter.
Dart, who started three games as a true freshman at Southern Cal in 2021 before transferring to Ole Miss, was replaced in the third quarter by former Oklahoma State standout Spencer Sanders (6-1, 210, Sr., QB), who completed eight of 14 passes for 134 yards in the game and threw for two scores in his Ole Miss debut. Sanders played in 43 games (41 starts) at OSU before transferring to Ole Miss in January.
Quinshon Judkins (5-11, 210, So., RB), a preseason All-American, rushed for 61 yards and two touchdowns in the first half of the contest and ended with 60 yards on 13 carries. He scored on runs of one and three yards.
Last season rushed for 1,567 yards and scored 15 touchdowns on the ground. His yardage is second in league history for a freshman and trails only Herschel Walker, who rushed for 1,616 yards in leading Georgia to the national championship in 1980.
Suntarine Perkins (6-3, 205, Fr., LB) led Ole Miss with nine (four solo) tackles in his first collegiate game and teammate Zxavian Harris (6-7, 335, So., DT) also tallied four unassisted tackles and finished with a career-high six total tackles in the game.
The Rebels did not allow Mercer into the red zone at any point during the game.
Peevy finished the game with 138 passing yards after completing 16 of 29 passes and was the leading ground gainer for the Bears with seven carries for 49 yards and the lone touchdown on the day for Mercer.
Devron Harper and Ty James both caught four passes for Mercer with Harper going for 47 yards and James adding 29 yards.
Marques Thomas and Lance Wise led the way on defense for the Bears with seven and six total tackles, respectively.
- SoCon/0-1 Overall)
Sept. 9 at Tulane
Sept. 16 GEORGIA TECH
Sept. 23 at Alabama
Sept. 30 LSU
Oct. 7 ARKANSAS
Oct. 21 at Auburn
Oct. 28 VANDERBILT
Nov. 4 TEXAS A&M
Nov. 11 at Georgia
Nov. 18 LA.-MONROE
Nov. 23 at Mississippi State
TULANE GREEN WAVE
Willie Fritz is reshaping the way college football is played in the Big Easy.
Fritz, who is in his seventh year as coach at Tulane, improved his record to 44-45 at the school when the Green Wave rolled to a 37-17 win over visiting South Alabama on Sept. 2 to open the 2023 college football season.
The win over the Bears was the fourth straight triumph for Fritz and the Green Wave dating back to the final three games in 2022, including a 46-45 win over Southern Cal in the Cotton Bowl to end the year with a 12-2 overall record.
Tulane was ranked No. 24 in the AP preseason poll. It marked the first time the Green Wave had been ranked heading into the start of a season since being ranked in the preseason poll four times between 1936-49.
Fritz has coached at four other schools during his career. He coached Blinn Junior College (1993-96), where his teams won a pair of NJCAA national titles, and at Central Missouri (1997-2009), Sam Houston State (2010-13) and Georgia Southern (2015-16) prior to his arrival at Tulane prior to the start of the 2017 season. He owns a 198-114 (.635) and is his 31st season as a collegiate head coach.
Michael Pratt (6-3, Jr., QB) missed on just one pass attempt in the game and threw for 294 yards and four touchdowns as the No. 24 Green Wave secured a 37-17 win over visiting Furman to open the season at Yulman Stadium.
Pratt also ran for 39 yards in the contest that saw him move into a tie for the school record in career touchdown passes with Patrick Ramsey with 72.
Jha’Quan Jackson (5-10, Jr., WR) and Lawrence Keys III (5-11, RS-Jr., WR) combined for 202 yards receiving on seven receptions in the game for Tulane. Jackson paced the team with 106 yards on three catches and scored a pair of touchdowns, while Keys added four catches for 96 yards and one touchdown in the contest.
Chris Brazell II (6-5, Fr., WR) caught four passes for 53 and a touchdown in his collegiate debut. His score came on a four-yard pass from Pratt in the first quarter to stake the Green Wave to a quick 7-0 lead on Tulane’s first possession of the game.
Jackson and Keys both scored on touchdown passes that covered 47 yards in the second quarter, while Jackson added a 48-yard scoring reception in the third quarter for his final score of the night as the Green Wave built a 31-17 lead with 4:27 remaining in the period.
Makai Hughes (5-11, RS-Fr., RB) led the Green Wave with eight carries for 41 yards (5.1 ypc) to lead the Tulane rushing attack.
Valentino Ambrosio (5-9, RS-Jr., K) tallied 13 points on the day for the Green Wave after connecting on all four PAT kicks and booting field goals of 29, 30 and 27 yards. His final two field goals both came in the final quarter of play to cap the scoring in the game.
South Alabama quarterback Carter Bradley finished the game with 190 yards passing after completing 23 of his 30 pass attempts in the game and was picked off twice.
Bradley scored the first touchdown for his team on a four-yard scamper early in the second quarter and later threw a seven-yard scoring pass to Devin Voisin midway through the third period as visitors managed to pull to within 24-17 at the time.
Diego Guajardo booted a 36-yard field goal with 1:39 remaining in the first half that allowed the Jaguars to within 24-10 at the intermission.
LaDamian Webb and Kentrel Bullock combined for 77 rushing yards with Webb leading the way with 40 yards on nine carries (4.4 ypc) and Bullock averaging 3.1 yard on 12 carries to finish with 37 yards on the ground for the Jaguars.
Corey Platt Jr. (6-1, RS-Fr., LB) led a Tulane defense that limited South Alabama to 260 yards of total offense, including just 75 yards on the ground. He recorded a career-high 15 (10 solo) tackles in the game including one sack. Teammates Jesus Machado (6-0, So., LB) and Patrick Jenkins (6-2, So., DL) chipped in with eight and five tackles, respectively, in the win.
Machado including one tackle for loss. Jenkins, meanwhile, tallied a pair of sacks and forced one fumble in the contest.
Kameron Hamilton (6-4, Fr., DL) and Lance Robinson (5-11, Jr., DB) also had outstanding performances for the Green Wave. Hamilton had a pair of sacks as part of his and Robinson tallied two total tackles while also intercepting one pass and collecting a fumble by the Jaguars.
James Miller and James Sherriff led South Alabama with 10 total tackles each on the night.
Green Wave Results/Schedule
- AAC/1-0 Overall)
W-SOUTH ALABAMA 37-17
Sept. 9 OLE MISS
Sept. 16 at Southern Miss
Sept. 23 NICHOLLS STATE
Sept. 30 UAB
Oct. 7 Open Date
Oct. 13 at Memphis
Oct. 21 NORTH TEXAS
Oct. 28 at Rice
Nov. 4 at East Carolina
Nov. 11 TULSA
Nov. 18 at Florida Atlantic
Nov. 24 UTSA
A native of Bismarck, N.D., Ray is a graduate of North Dakota State University where he began studying athletic training and served as a student trainer for several Bison teams including swimming, wrestling and baseball and was a trainer at the 1979 NCAA national track and field championship meet at the University of Illinois. Ray later worked in the sports information office at NDSU. Following his graduation from NDSU he spent five years in the sports information office at Missouri Western State University and one year in the sports information at Georgia Tech. He has nearly 40 years of writing experience as a sports editor at several newspapers and has received numerous awards for his writing over the years. A noted sports historian, Ray is currently an assistant editor at Amateur Wrestling News.