5 defining moments for Ole Miss in 2015
Ole Miss won at least nine games for the second year in a row and stayed in the running for an SEC West title for most of the season.
The Rebels had some great accomplishments this season as well as some disappointments, but here’s a look at five moments that really shaped their 2015 season.
5. Tony Bridges’ Pick-Six vs. Mississippi State: It doesn’t matter if Ole Miss wins nine games or one game, the Rebels absolutely cannot stand to lose to their in-state rival Mississippi State.
This year’s Egg Bowl was never really in question and that was largely because of a big play Rebels CB Tony Bridges made. Bridges picked off Bulldogs QB Dak Prescott and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown to give Ole Miss a three-touchdown lead in the first quarter. The Rebels went on to win the game and ensure themselves a spot in the Sugar Bowl.
4. Chad Kelly wins starting job: There were many people who could have seen Kelly winning the starting QB job coming. His arm talent, athleticism, competitive nature and pedigree provided indications he would be a reliable college passer.
About three weeks into the season, coach Hugh Freeze handed the reins over to Kelly for good. Ole Miss went on a nice run from there, including a big win in Tuscaloosa.
Kelly went on to lead the SEC in passing yards (3,740) and finished second in completions (277) and TDs (27).
3. Laremy Tunsil returns: The Ole Miss offense was not the same without its best blocker for the first seven games of the season.
Tunsil is a projected top-10 NFL draft pick but had to watch from the sidelines as he underwent an investigation by the NCAA for possible violations. Ole Miss suffered losses to Florida and Memphis while he was out of the lineup.
But Tunsil was in the lineup to face Texas A&M — his first game back — and the Rebels went on to roll over the Aggies and average more than 200 rushing yards over their final five games.
2. Kelly’s Circus Act vs. Alabama: The most defining positive play of the Rebels season created a momentum swing that helped propel Ole Miss past Alabama.
On a 3rd-and-1 play from midfield on their opening drive of the second half, the drama began with a high snap was that bounced off Kelly’s finger tips.
However, Kelly gathered the ball and threw what appeared to be an ill-advised pass into traffic. The ball bounced off two players before landing in the arms of Ole Miss WR Quincy Adeboyjeo, who ran for a 66-yard TD.
1. 4th-and-25: This was the wild play that ended the Rebels’ quest to win the SEC West. While Kelly’s play against Alabama was a circus play that helped, Arkansas’ fourth-down conversion in overtime went the other way for the Rebels.
It looked like Ole Miss had the Razorbacks stopped and won the game when TE Hunter Henry caught a 10-yard pass. But as he fell to the ground, Henry threw the ball backward. The ball bounced into the hands of Arkansas RB Alex Collins, who ran for the first down.
Ole Miss went on to lose the game a few plays later when Arkansas scored and added a game-winning, 2-point conversion.
With the loss, the Rebels lost control over the SEC West.