Avoiding a Rebel yell


It’s homecoming weekend down in Oxford, Mississippi for the Ole‘ Miss Rebels when they host head coach Charlie Sadler’s Huskies from NIU.

Both squads have suffered disappointing seasons under much different circumstances.

Here’s what the Huskies are going up against.

The Rebels are hoping to scream past their final two opponents and finish the year out above .500 at 6-5. What head coach Billy Brewer’s team record of 4-5 doesn’t indicate is just how close they came to making a major bowl game for the second year in a row.

They opened up the season against now No. 7 Auburn (9-0) and fell just short losing 16-12.

But what really made the season turn sour was the much anticipated matchup against No. 12 Alabama (7-1-1), who at the time was undefeated and ranked third. The Rebels were 4-2 and with a victory could have broken into the top 25 and used that momentum for the rest of the season.

Instead, Brewer’s squad lost a heartbreaker to their arch-rivals by the score of 19-14.

After that, the team fell apart.

They dropped to LSU 19-17 and then Memphis St. last week 19-3—both on the road.

Needless to say, Brewer is happy to return home.

“Being back at home this week after coming off the Memphis State football game—it’s good to be back,” Brewer said.

Brewer is the dean of SEC coaches and holds a 66-55-3 record in his 11th year at the school and is 123-94-6 after 19 seasons overall.

When the 83-yards-short-of-2,000-yards LeShon Johnson and his teammates go up against this frustrated Ole’ Miss team, they will be facing what Sadler says “may be the best defense we’ve seen all year.”

The Rebels’ coaching staff understands the importance of keeping Johnson under control, but just how they will accomplish that feat remains a mystery.

“If you watch this youngster play, he’s a very exciting football player. He’s a real deal,” Brewer commented.

One way to contain the “Cowboy” would be to knock him onto the turf with such force that he would be forced to leave due to injury.

Not likely.

“I think if you brought him over to the stadium and dropped him out of an airplane, you wouldn’t hurt him,” Brewer said. “He may be the best football player I’ve ever seen.”

Brewer’s worries will be eased slightly, however, after he looks at the eyes of his nationally ranked defense and tells them exactly who must be stopped.

Overall the Stunt Fifty-Two ranks No. 3 in total defense (239.4 ypg) and lets up just 2.5 yards per rush, good for fourth nationally.

One major contributor to the Rebels’ outstanding defense is outside linebacker Cassius Ware who has a team high nine sacks for an incredible 74 yards lost, as well as nine tackles for a loss.

Strong safety Alundis Brice ranks fourth in America with six interceptions and has returned them for 61 yards.

Offensively, the team doesn’t feature any one player, but for the most part has gotten the job done.

They go to three different running backs—Jeremy Veasley (4.4 yds/rush), Marvin Courtney (4.5) and Mark Smith (6.0). All three have between 250-300 yards on the season.