20 interesting facts from Ole Miss football history (2023)


Ethan Levine | 8 years ago

Ole Miss football dates back more than 120 years, and in that time the program has experienced the highs of the Archie Manning years and last year’s Landshark defense, and the lows of Chucky Mullins’ injury and more recently the Ed Orgeron era.

But how well do you know the Rebels? Here are 20 facts pulled from the annals of Ole Missfootball.

(Video) History of Ole Miss Rebels football

632 wins:The Rebels have played 120 season of football in the last 122 years, although many of the early seasons in the program’s history were comprised of seven games or fewer, which is why Ole Miss has averaged fewer than six wins per year throughout its history. Ole Miss boasts an all-time record of 632-501-35, which results in a win percentage of .541.

Better in bowls:Ole Miss has only played in 35 bowls all-time (for comparison’s sake, regional rival LSUhas played in 46), but it actually has a better win percentage in bowl games than it does in regular season games. The Rebels have won 24 of 35 bowl games, which results in a win percentage of .686. That’s .145 points higher than their regular season win percentage. Last year the Rebels lost to TCU in the Peach Bowl, snapping a six-game bowl winning streak dating from the 2002 Independence Bowl to the 2013 Music City Bowl.

Founding SEC member:Ole Miss was one of the 13 founding members of the SEC, which split from the old Southwestern Conference in December of 1932. The Rebels are one of 10 founding members still affiliated with the conference along with Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.\

Three national titles, sortof:The NCAA didn’t always provide fans with an undisputed national champion; in fact, it went out of its way to not have a role in the selection of a subjective national champion, leaving that task to the many polls that reigned over college football for generations. Ole Miss claims three national titles in 1959, 1960 and 1962, posting a combined record of 20-1-1 in those three seasons including a 3-0 record in the Sugar Bowl. However, while a handful of polls ranked Ole Miss No. 1 to close the season, which is why it claims those titles, the two major wire services of the time — the Associated Press and the United Press — went with a different team at No. 1 all three years. Many think the Rebels’ 10-0 season in 1962 would have been acknowledged as a national championship season had it not been for the James Meredith controversy that took place at Ole Miss earlier that year (however, that’s just hearsay and there is no proof to back up that claim).

18 mph speed limit:Most think Ole Miss is located in Oxford, Miss., but the campus itself is actually located in University, Miss., which is embedded in Oxford. One thing that makes University, Miss., unique is that nearly every road in town (a.k.a. on campus) has the same speed limit: 18 miles per hour. Where does the number 18 come from? Why, Archie Manning’s old number, of course. And for roads that require an even slower speed limit (it is a college campus filled with pedestrians) the speed limit drops to 10 miles per hour, with the 10 representing Eli Manning’s number. So if you needed any more convincing of how much the Manningsmean to the state and the university, there’s your proof.

The number 38:This number was once worn by Chucky Mullins, a former Ole Miss football player who was paralyzed on the field from a collision in a game against Vanderbilt in 1989. Mullins later passed away due to complications from the injury. His number was retired, but it is still worn each year by one player who embodies Mullins’ spirit and courage. That player is chosen at the end of the Grove Bowl (Ole Miss’ spring game) each April. Last year the No. 38 was worn by linebacker Deterrian Shackelford, who recovered from two knee reconstructions to return and play a sixth year in 2014. There is also a bust of Mullins’ head sitting at the end of the players’ tunnel inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, and each player rubs Mullins’ head and shares a special moment with the Ole Miss legend before taking the field on Saturdays.

TheGolden Egg:Most know the rivalry between Ole Miss and in-state rival Mississippi State is better known as the Egg Bowl or The Battle for the Golden Egg, and some know that after squaring off 111 times (including the last 101 years in a row) the rivalry is now the 10th longest uninterrupted series in college football. But very few know why the two Mississippi schools battle for an egg of all things. In 1926, Ole Miss snapped a 13-year losing skid to then-Mississippi A&M, and fans stormed the field hoping to tear down the A&M goalposts. Obviously fans in Starkville did not take kindly to this, and brawling ensued. As a result, Ole Miss and Mississippi State now play for a trophyresembling a large golden football. But in those days, footballs were more bloated, much like a rugby ball, and the trophy’s resemblance to an egg resulted in the name The Golden Egg and thus the annual Egg Bowl.

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The drought:Ole Miss hasn’t won an SEC title since 1963, resulting in a drought that has now spanned more than 50 years. To add clarity to how frustrating this drought has become,of the other nine schools thathave joined Ole Missin the SEC since 1963, seven have won at least a share of the conference crown (Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU and Tennessee). The other two schools that have a longer SEC title drought than Ole Miss are Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.

Out of answers:If you’ve ever watched an Ole Miss game in any sport or ever met an Ole Miss fan or alum, you’ve probably heard the phrase “Hotty Toddy” if not the entire chant. It is as much a part of Ole Miss culture as the nickname Rebels. Yet no one actually knows where the phrase came from or what it means. People have theories, but there is no proof, no documented history of Hotty Toddy’s inception, just a series of legends and conspiracies that have been circulating throughout the Ole Miss community for generations. This only adds to the mystique of the phrase and the chant, as it remains one of Ole Miss and the SEC’s proudest traditions despite its lack of a backstory.

Points on points on points:In a showdown with Union College in 1904, the Rebels set a school record by scoring 114 points in a shutout victory. That’s a lot of points. You could score 16 touchdowns and still come up two points shy of that point total. And again, to add insult to injury, not only did Ole Miss score 114 points, but it didn’t allow any. There’s still no word on whether the Union players knew there was a game that day.

Take to the skies:Ole Miss was the first college football team to fly to a road game, taking a flight from Memphis to Philadelphia to take on the Temple Owls in 1937.

Keep it in the family:In 1971, Ole Miss made Billy R. Kinard the first alumnus to serve as head coach of the Rebels football program. Unfortunately, Kinard didn’t even last three full seasons on the job. He led Ole Miss to a stellar 10-2 record in ’71, but regressed to 5-5 the following year. After beginning the 1973 season 1-2 he was relived by Johnny Vaught, who came out of retirement and led Ole Miss to a 5-4 record the rest of the season.

Ten Hall of Famers:Ole Miss has 10 former players and coaches representing the program in the College Football Hall of Fame. The school’s most recent inductee was Charlie Flowers in 1997. Ole Miss also claims one of the charter members of the College Football Hall of Fame in Frank “Bruiser” Kinard, who is also a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The only other Rebel to reach the Pro Football Hall of Fame is Gene Hickerson, who ironically was never inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Top picks:Most fans already know Eli Manning was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft and that he has since won two Super Bowl titles with the New York Giants. However, while no other Rebel has ever been taken with the top overall pick, two others have been taken as high as third overall in their respective drafts: Parker Hall (1939) and Jim Dunaway (1963). Ole Miss has 19 first-round picks all-time including four since Manning went first overall. The highest selection of those four was linebacker Patrick Willis, who went 11th overall in 2007.

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The end of Colonel Reb:Ole Miss has a bit of a checkered past when it comes to affiliation with confederate symbols and racism (James Meredith always comes to mind, sorry Ole Miss fans), and the university has done a lot to distance itself from those symbols and that reputation throughout the decades. In 2003, the school discontinued its mascot, Colonel Reb, and upon receiving very little support for a new mascot opted to go without one entirely, although an unofficial Colonel Reb still hangs out in the Grove on Saturdays in the fall. In 2010 the students and alumni settled on a black bear as the new mascot, referred to as the Rebel Bear.

(Photo courtesy of theAtlanta Journal-Constitution)

It should’ve been Ackbar:In the time between the discontinuation of Colonel Reb in 2003 and the introduction of the Rebel Bear in 2010, the one mascot that generated the most support from the Ole Miss community (especially the students) was Admiral Ackbar, a character from Star Wars. Unfortunately George Lucas was not thrilled with a character he owns doubling as the mascot of a large state university, and he put a stop to the madness, but there was a brief period where some really thought Admiral Ackbar would be the next Ole Miss mascot. If only…

(Photo courtesy of RebelScum.com)

Dominating the ‘Dores:Ole Missfirst challengedVanderbilt on the gridiron in 1942, and after the Rebels were unable to field a team in 1943 due to World War II, the rivalry resumed in 1944 and has been played each and every year since. In 1992, when the SEC split into its two-division format, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt became permanent cross-division rivals, continuing the series on an annual basis. Vandy won the first 18 meetings (!) of the series, but Ole Miss has won 49 of the last 71 showdowns to take a 49-38-2 lead in the all-time series.

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Gimme some sugar:The Rebels have played in 36 bowl games all-time, none more frequently than the Sugar Bowl, which theyhaveappeared in eight times. Ole Misshas played in the Cotton Bowl five times and the IndependenceBowl five times.

Won the West once:In the 23 seasons since the SEC split into two divisions, Ole Miss has only won the SEC West one time. That was in 2003 with David Cutcliffe at the helm. The Rebels finished 9-3 during the regular season, including 7-1 in the SEC,but unfortunately they shared first place in the West with LSU Tigers, led by Nick Saban, whichdefeated Georgia to win the conference crown while Ole Miss watched at home.

Finally beat ‘Bama:Entering last season, Ole Miss had won only nine of 58 all-time meetings with Alabama, tying the Tide twice while falling short on 47 different occasions. However, last year Ole Miss snapped a 10-game losing skid to Alabama with a 23-17 win over the Tide inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. It was the Rebels first win against Alabama since Eli Manning quarterbacked the team, and on that day the Rebels were able to host College GameDay in the Grove for the first time in school history.

20 interesting facts from Ole Miss football history (3)

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Ethan Levine

A former newspaper reporter who has roamed the southeastern United States for years covering football and eating way too many barbecue ribs, if there is such a thing.


How many national championships has Ole Miss won in football? ›

Throughout the 115-year history of Ole Miss football, the Rebels have won six Southeastern Conference titles (1947, 1954, 1955, 1960, 1962, and 1963) and claim three national championships (1959, 1960, and 1962).

Has Ole Miss ever won a national championship in any sport? ›

Ole Miss has won a women's golf national championship, and two individuals, Devin Britton in tennis and Braden Thornberry in golf, have won individual NCAA National Championships.

Why is the speed limit 18 at Ole Miss? ›

In tribute to Ole Miss legend Archie Manning, the speed limit on the University of Mississippi campus is 18 mph. Born Elisha Archibald Manning on May 19, 1949, he is the son of Jane Elizabeth and Elisha Archibald Manning, Jr.

What does Hotty Toddy mean for Ole Miss football? ›

hottytoddy #respect. ESPN's Doug Ward wrote, "'Hotty Toddy' has no real meaning, but it means everything in Oxford. For students, fans and alumni, it is a greeting, cheer and secret handshake all rolled into one. 'Hotty Toddy' is the spirit of Ole Miss." He's spot on, as the cheer embodies the spirit of the school.

Who has most records in football? ›

Cristiano Ronaldo has the most records in football history. The Portuguese forward has been in menacing form since he burst into the scene and only except for the World Cup he has almost won everything in football.

Why did Ole Miss have 100 on their helmets? ›

Ole Miss wore navy helmets with a "100" logo for the 100th anniversary of college football in 1969 and then wore powder blue helmets with Colonel Reb from 1970 to 1973.

How many times has Ole Miss beat Mississippi State in football? ›

Ole Miss leads the series 64–45–6 through the 2021 season.
Egg Bowl.
Meetings total118
All-time seriesOle Miss leads 64–45–6
Largest victoryMississippi State, 65–0 (1915)
Longest win streakMississippi State, 13 (1911–1925)
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Who is Ole Miss biggest rival? ›

Mississippi State

The Golden Egg was created in 1927, but this rivalry dates back to 1901. Ole Miss currently leads the series with a 61-42-6 record.

Why is it called Ole Miss? ›

The university's byname "Ole Miss" was first used in 1897, when it won a contest of suggestions for a yearbook title. The term originated as a title domestic slaves used to distinguish the mistress of a plantation from "young misses".

How many times has Ole Miss beaten Alabama? ›

The rivalry dates back to 1894, when Ole Miss defeated Alabama in Jackson, Mississippi. Currently, Alabama leads Ole Miss 53-10-2. The most recent Ole Miss victory was in 2015. Games in odd-numbered years are now played in Tuscaloosa, and even-numbered years in Oxford.

Has Ole Miss won 10 games in a season? ›


Kiffin guided the Rebels to a 10-3 record in 2021, the first 10-win regular season in school history.

How many times has Ole Miss beat LSU in football? ›

The next longest win streak is 6, a total reached by both Ole Miss and LSU. The Tigers won from 2002 to 2007, while the Rebels were able to defeat LSU from 1952 to 1957. LSU leads the series 65–41–4, with Ole Miss having vacated one victory.
Magnolia Bowl.
Current win streakLSU, 1 (2022–present)
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What was Ole Miss football record in 1960? ›

The 1960 Ole Miss Rebels football team represented the University of Mississippi during the 1960 NCAA University Division football season. In their fourteenth season under head coach Johnny Vaught, the Rebels compiled a 10–0–1 record and won their fourth Southeastern Conference (SEC) championship.

How fast can you go in the pit lane? ›

The current pit lane speed limit is 80 km/h – 49.7mph. However, it can be adapted by the race director if conditions are right.

What is the highest speed limit in Mississippi? ›

StateRural interstates (mph)Urban interstates (mph)
Montana80 trucks: 7065
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How fast can you go in a 40 zone? ›

NPCC speed enforcement guidelines. This means that most police forces will not issue a Fixed Penalty Notice until you're driving at more than 46mph in a 40mph zone or 79mph in a 70mph zone, for example,.

What do Ole Miss helmets say? ›

Hotty toddy, gosh almighty, who the hell are we? Hey! Flim flam, bim bam, Ole Miss, By Damn!

Why does Ole Miss say fins up? ›

The “Fins Up” movement began on the Ole Miss practice field in 2008, when, in a moment of celebration, linebacker and Iraq War veteran Tony Fein “threw” the legendary gesture. The rest, of course, is history.

Why does Ole Miss do the shark fin? ›

At Ole Miss, Landshark is a term that was first adopted by the Rebel football team's defensive unit. As part of that identity, defensive players celebrate big plays by putting a hand to their forehead in the shape of a shark fin. A battle cry of “Fins Up” also contributes to the players' persona.

Who is the No 1 player in football history? ›

Lionel Messi (PSG)

There's no doubt about it that Ronaldo and Messi will go down in history among the top three best football players of all time, alongside the late great Diego Maradona, but while Ronaldo's role has been boiled down somewhat, we're still witnessing the full-fat version of Messi.

Who has the fastest hat trick in football history? ›

Timed at six minutes 12 seconds, Salah came off the bench to score the fastest Champions League treble; Newell still holds the record for quickest ever 'perfect' hat-trick, scoring with his left foot, right foot and head.

Who played full 90 minutes without touching the ball? ›

This will come as a surprise to many people; that a Footballer can play an entire 90 minutes of a football match without even touching the ball. As much as it might to be unreal. it is actually did happen. Meet Thomas Sweswe Langu of Zimbabwe, the man who holds such a record.

What is the 0 on the Lions helmet? ›

To commemorate those who lost their lives and those who will forever be scarred by this, the Lions plan on honoring the Oxford shooting victims with a helmet decal for the town. On Friday, several Lions players had a gold “O” decal placed on their helmets. Oxford's colors are blue and gold.

What was Ole Miss original colors? ›

Red & Blue

In 1893, when Ole Miss' first football team was in training for a five-game season, Dr. A.L.

Why is the Egg Bowl trophy an egg? ›

The trophy was presented beginning with the 1927 game in an attempt to prevent future fights from breaking out. In 1978, the Clarion-Ledger dubbed the game “The Egg Bowl” as both teams were not in contention for bowl game that season. The name stuck, and has remained ever since.

Why do they call the Egg Bowl? ›

Until the 1978 edition, the rivalry game was named “The Battle for the Golden Egg.” However, when both teams were ineligible for a bowl game in 1978, the clash was termed “The Egg Bowl” by The Clarion-Ledger newspaper. The name has stuck ever since.

Who did Ole Miss lose too? ›

No. 9 Alabama rallied from a 10-point second-half deficit to top No. 11 Ole Miss 30-24 in a pivotal SEC West matchup Saturday afternoon in Oxford, Mississippi.

What is the oldest rivalry in football? ›

The Yale-Princeton rivalry is the oldest in college football, dating back to 1873. Yale and Princeton dominated the college football scene when this rivalry began, with Yale claiming 13 outright national titles and Princeton claiming eight between 1869 and 1894.

What is the biggest NFL rivalry ever? ›

It has been called the greatest rivalry in NFL history. The Giants and Eagles have met four times in the playoffs, with each team winning twice. The Giants won in 1981 & 2000, and the Eagles won in 2006 & 2008. The Eagles currently lead the all-time series 89–87–2 as of the 2021 season.

What is the biggest football rivalry? ›

The 20 biggest football derbies
TeamsDerby nicknamFirst meet
1. Barcelona vs Real MadridEl Clásico1902
2. Celtic F.C. vs Rangers F.C.The Old Firm Derby1888
3. Boca Juniors vs River PlateThe Superclásico1913
4. AC Milan vs Inter MilanDerby della Madonnina (Milan Derby)1909
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7 Sept 2022

What is Ole Miss best known for? ›

The University of Mississippi, affectionately known as Ole Miss, is the state's flagship university. Included in the elite group of R1: Doctoral Universities - Highest Research Activity by the Carnegie Classification, it has a long history of producing leaders in public service, academics and business.

What is Ole Miss called now? ›

Ole Miss Changes Mascot from Bear to Landshark, Will Keep Rebels Nickname. The University of Mississippi has announced the Landshark will replace Rebel the Bear as the school's official mascot.

When was Ole Miss built? ›

Who has beat Alabama the most? ›

Not only do the Longhorns have a winning record against the Crimson Tide, they have the best record of any team that has faced Alabama more than once outside of Rice (3-0). Texas is 7-1 in the series.

Who is the winningest coach in Alabama football history? ›

Bryant is the leader in seasons coached and games won, with 232 victories during his 25 years with the program. Saban has the highest winning percentage of those who have coached more than one game, with . 866.

Who has the most state championships in Alabama? ›

Since 1966 there have been exactly 250 state championship games played in the AHSAA. Of those, 109 different teams have won one or more of these championships. Hazlewood leads the way with eleven titles followed closely by Berry/Hoover with ten and Sweet Water with nine.

What Big 10 team has the most championships? ›

Ohio State and Michigan have won the Big Ten title 76 times combined since 1898.

Is Ole Miss game sold out? ›

Ole Miss is officially Sold Out.

Is Ole Miss football in the Big 10? ›

Ole Miss schedules home-and-home series with Big Ten team.

What is Ole Miss football best record? ›

1960: 10-0-1, (5-0-1), SEC Champions, National Champions. The 1960 Ole Miss Rebels were the first unbeaten team in school history and the only team to receive national championship honors from the Football Writers Association of America. Ranked No. 2 in the preseason AP poll, the Rebels rose to No.

Who is the winningest team in college football history? ›

Measured in total wins, the Michigan Wolverines lead all other football programs across all divisions with 986 wins.

How many NFL players went to Ole Miss? ›

Former Ole Miss players make NFL 53-man rosters, including five from 2021 Rebels' team - The Rebel Walk.

Who is the best quarterback in Ole Miss history? ›

Passing yards
1Chad Kelly4,042
2Jordan Ta'amu3,918
3Eli Manning3,600
4Eli Manning3,401
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What was Ole Miss football record in 1962? ›

In their 16th year under head coach Johnny Vaught, the Rebels compiled a perfect 10–0 record, outscored opponents by a total of 247 to 53, won the SEC championship, and defeated Arkansas in the 1963 Sugar Bowl.

What is Ole Miss University known for? ›

The University of Mississippi, affectionately known as Ole Miss, is the state's flagship university. Included in the elite group of R1: Doctoral Universities - Highest Research Activity by the Carnegie Classification, it has a long history of producing leaders in public service, academics and business.

What are 8 interesting facts about Mississippi? ›

Quick Facts
  • Capital: Jackson.
  • Population: 3 million.
  • Nickname: The Magnolia State.
  • Key Cities: Biloxi, Jackson, Hattiesburg, Gulfport.
  • Postal Abbreviation: MS.
  • Major Industries: Agriculture, manufacturing, mining, fishing.
  • Size: 48,430 sq. miles.
  • Lowest point: Gulf of Mexico at sea level.

Is Ole Miss mascot a shark? ›

Tony the Landshark, the unconventional on-field mascot for Ole Miss athletics, could soon be no more.

Why did SAE get kicked off Ole Miss? ›

Following an investigation of reported hazing allegations, the University of Mississippi's Office of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct uncovered serious and concerning conduct within the Mississippi Gamma Chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity.

What is Ole Miss football team ranked? ›

11Ole Miss962
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Is Ole Miss a top 100 school? ›

72 among public universities in the U.S. News “Best Colleges” for 2022-23 report, which was released Monday (Sept. 12). This makes Ole Miss the highest-ranking university in Mississippi. UM has been in the top 100 for 12 consecutive years.

What's a fun fact for the day? ›

Fun Facts and Trivia
  • It is impossible for most people to lick their own elbow. ...
  • A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.
  • A shrimp's heart is in its head.
  • It is physically impossible for pigs to look up into the sky.

What do the Ole Miss helmets say? ›

Hotty toddy, gosh almighty, who the hell are we? Hey! Flim flam, bim bam, Ole Miss, By Damn!

Why is Ole Miss called Egg Bowl? ›

Until the 1978 edition, the rivalry game was named “The Battle for the Golden Egg.” However, when both teams were ineligible for a bowl game in 1978, the clash was termed “The Egg Bowl” by The Clarion-Ledger newspaper. The name has stuck ever since.

What NFL players went to Ole Miss? ›

Jerrion Ealy (Chiefs) Braylon Sanders, (Dolphins)
The following former players have also made their respective team's 53-man rosters:
  • Dawson Knox (Bills)
  • Myles Hartsfield (Panthers)
  • Marquis Haynes Sr., (Panthers)
  • Jaylon Jones (Bears)
  • Mike Hilton (Bengals)
  • DJ Jones (Broncos)
  • Royce Newman (Packers)
  • Laremy Tunsil (Texans)
30 Aug 2022

What happened to ZTA at Ole Miss? ›

Established in 1939, the Ole Miss chapter of ZTA closed its doors in 1999. Since its closing alumnae have stayed active through a Gamma Delta chapter Facebook page along with being involved with local chapters from each member's respective hometown, according to Chairwoman Zilah Miller.

Why did Ole Miss change their mascot? ›

However, when the confederate image of Colonel Reb began to raise controversy, the University rightly changed the mascot to the black bear, “Rebel the Bear” in 2010. Rebel the Bear was Ole Miss' mascot for seven whole years, but it never really caught on.


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