OXFORD, Miss. (WCBI/Ole Miss Athletics) – Approximately 28,000 Rebel fans turned out to watch the Ole Miss football team in the annual BancorpSouth Grove Bowl Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium/Hollingsworth Field.
Due to the Rebels’ countless injuries, particularly along the offensive line, the competition took on a practice format that featured offense vs. defense in scrimmage periods separated by periods of regular practice drills.
The offense has been hampered with injuries, but there were some highlights on Saturday. Senior wide receiver Ja-Mes Logan led the offense with five receptions for 101 yards. Quarterback Mikhail Miller was 7-11 for 46 yards passing and added 60 yards on the ground. Sophomore Cody Core caught two passes including one for a touchdown. Senior quarterback transfer Khalid Purnell saw a little action and added a touchdown.
“Ja-Mes probably had the best spring of anybody,” head coach Hugh Freeze said. “He was solid every single day, and he made some nice plays today.”
On the other side of the ball, junior linebacker Serderius Bryant made several plays, including an interception and 1.5 sacks. Denzel Nkemdiche led the defense with 10 tackles.
“Serderius stood out with some explosive plays on the defensive side of the ball,” Freeze said. “We had a chance defensively to make a couple picks, but we didn’t. We have to make those.” (Mark) Dodson showed some spurts before he got hurt. It’s a hard balance. That’s why we divided them up in the end and let them play it out.”
After redshirting last season, kicker Andrew Ritter was back on the field for Rebel fans and he looked solid at the start.
“He looked really good in the first period,” Freeze said. “When we went live, we were very consistent from 30 yards in, but when we got outside of that, he hit both of them pretty good, just missed. (Andy) Pappanastos made a long one. But we’re still inconsistent there.”
To enhance the fan’s experience, the videoboard presentation showcased several special features, including the unveiling of the Rebels’ uniform modifications for the 2013 season. Click on the link above to see the new uniforms or go to OleMissFootball on Facebook to see the images.
Among the guests at the Grove Bowl were many former Rebels that have gone on to NFL success, including Dexter McCluster, Ken Lucas, Jeff Herrod and Deuce McAlister. They were part of the on-field presentations along with the SEC Champion Ole Miss men’s basketball team, which signed autographs during tailgating festivities in The Grove earlier in the day.
The Grove Bowl concluded spring practice for the Rebels, who will open the 2013 season Aug. 29 at Vanderbilt in a nationally televised game on ESPN at 8:15 p.m.