While Ole Miss may not be going bowling this season, the Rebels have a decorated history in some of College Football’s most famous bowl games. From going to their first bowl game in 1936 to the Sugar Bowl victory in 2015, the Rebels rank 10th in the NCAA in bowl victories with 23. The Rebels have won games and set records that will stand the test of time. From Conerly to Manning and Vaught to Freeze, Ole Miss legends have made names for themselves in bowl games over the years. So, instead of an actual bowl this year, let us take you back to some of the most memorable bowl victories in Ole Miss history.
In Houston Nutt’s second year in Oxford, The Rebels climbed as high as #4 in the AP polls, but losses to South Carolina, Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi State saw the Rebels finish the 2009 regular season 8-4 and unranked. Despite not being ranked, the Rebels accepted a berth in their second consecutive Cotton Bowl. In Dexter McCluster’s final game, he went out with in style and played an integral role in helping the Rebels defend their Cotton Bowl championship.
Just under 80,000 people gathered at Cowboys Stadium for the 2010 Cotton Bowl between the Rebels and the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Unlike the last matchup between these two programs, this game got off to a much slower start. The first quarter came and went without a score by either side. With 11 minutes left to play in the first half, Dexter McCluster broke free. McCluster went 86 yards untouched for the first score of the game. With just a 7-0 lead at halftime, the second half was going to be a battle.
In the third quarter, Jevan Snead threw an interception that put the Cowboys in prime position to tie the game. With a Keith Toston TD pass, OSU did just that. With the game tied at 7-7, the third quarter ended without another point from either team. In the fourth quarter, the Rebel defense came up big and forced a fumble, giving Snead the ball back. The Rebels went five plays and 34 yards for a go-ahead touchdown. McCluster took the ball in for his second score of the day and put the Rebels up 14-7 with four minutes to play. Oklahoma State was down but not out, and with 3:12 remaining they had a chance to tie the game, but the Ole Miss defense had other plans. Another OSU fumble led to a 34-yard return for a TD by Patrick Trahan. The 21-7 score would end up being the final, and the Rebels were once again Cotton Bowl champs.
Dexter McCluster was named offensive MVP in his final game with the Rebels McCluster finished the game with 184 yards rushing, two TDs and five catches for 45 yards. The 2010 Cotton Bowl would be Nutt’s last bowl appearance with the Rebels as they would finish 4-8 in 2010, and a catastrophic 2-10 finish in 2011 before being fired to make way for Hugh Freeze.
Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.