||JACKSONVILLE ST. at OLE MISS
2:30 p.m. CT
Hollingsworth Field/Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (60,580)
|LIVE TV: CSS
[Doug Bell, play-by-play; Brian Jordan, analyst]
Jack Crowe is in his 10th season at JSU with a record of (65-45) (.591) and 12th overall with a record of 79-75 (.513). The Gamecocks' offensive coordinator is Ronnie Letson and the defensive coordinator is Darrin Greg Stewart.
Houston Nutt is in his third season at Ole Miss with a record of 18-8 (692) and 18th overall with a record of 129-78 (623). The Rebels' co-offensive coordinators are MIke Markuson and Dave Rader and the defensive coordinator is Tyrone Nix.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN JACKSONVILLE STATE HAS THE BALL
JSU returns seven starters on offense, including four up front on the line. Leading rusher Calvin Middleton returns (629 yds, 6 TDs), as does Jamal Young (523 yds, 4 TDs). Fullback Alphonso Freeney paves the way. Marques Ivory takes over under center for the Gamecocks. James Shaw and LaRay Williams take over the receiving corp, both of whom played in 10 games in 2009. RB Darius Barksdale, a former Mr. Football for the state of Mississippi and Ole Miss signee, has joined the Jacksonville State team recently.
Preseason All-SEC honorees Jerrell Powe and Kentrell Lockett highlight the defensive line, which will once again be a major strength for Ole Miss. Powe also earned preseason All- America accolades from several media outlets. Powe helped the Rebels top the SEC and rank 11th nationally in TFLs (7.38) and 14th in sacks (2.77). Lockett ranked third on the team in both TFLs (10)?and sacks (5.0). Johnny Brown's return at strong safety is a plus.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN OLE MISS HAS THE BALL
T.J. Heath, an All-American pick by three outlets last season (Associated Press, College Sporting News and Sports Network) led the OVC in passes defended and led the Gamecocks with six interceptions, including returning two for touchdowns against UT Martin early in the season. The junior also led the team with 10 pass break-ups and also forced a fumble and blocked a kick. He recorded 34 total tackles on the season, including 20 solo stops. Kevin Dix is back, who had 49 tackles, 5.5 TFLs and five sacks a year ago.
Ole Miss looks to replace eight starters on offense. The addition of Oregon transfer QB Jeremiah Masoli looks to give the Rebels more options than previously thought on that side of the ball. Sophomore Nathan Stanley passed for two TDs in the Grove Bowl and finished the spring as the No. 1 QB on the depth chart. Junior Bradley Sowell and sophomore Bobby Massie provide a wealth of talent at the tackle positions and will anchor the Rebels' offensive line in 2010. Brandon Boldon finished second on the team in rushing last season with 614 yards and four TDs.
Alan Bonner, an OVC All-Newcomer selection in 2009, led the Ohio Valley Conference and ranked ninth nationally in punt return average at 13.9 yards. He also hauled in 14 passes for 300 yards and four touchdowns, an average of 27.3 yards per game and 21.4 yards per catch.
Replacing All-SEC place-kicker Joshua Shene, who became only the second Rebel all- time to lead the team in scoring all four years, remains a major focal point heading into this season. Tyler Campbell finished second in the conference a year ago with a 44.0 punting average and earned SEC All-Freshman honors. Jesse Grandy is expected to get the nod for kickoff returns and punt returns after posting the second-highest kickoff return average in school history a year ago.
Record: First Meeting
Nutt's first two years have produced consecutive nine-win seasons for the first time since 1961-62 and back-to-back January bowl victories for the first time since 1960-61. Those milestones came when Vaught's teams were marching to what was then a national-record 15 consecutive bowl games.