Ole Miss Rebels. The final season for the seniors who had built t..."/> Ole Miss Rebels. The final season for the seniors who had built t..."/>

Ole Miss Football: A Season Stolen Away


It was a season so full of hopes and dreams for the Ole Miss Rebels. The final season for the seniors who had built this program back to football relevancy. Thinking ahead to the kickoff of the season, you could feel the chill deep in your bones and the red and blue running through your veins. This was the season the Rebels were suppose to control their own destiny and play for the SEC championship. The only problem with thinking about the future of a team is no one accounts for the things that could easily kill an entire season.

Oct 4, 2014; Oxford, MS, USA; Mississippi Rebels fans tear down the goal posts after a win against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The Rebels won 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Our hopes were high going into this season. Bo Wallace was finally back to 100%, all of our starters were anxious to play, and we had momentum moving forward. Through the first few games, we knew we were good. Our offense was electric and the defense was unbreakable. Going into the Alabama game, we felt unstoppable. Our defense proved early that though they may bend, but they don’t break very easily. If you gave us a chance, we will steal the game away with just one play, which we proved by a late game interception to beat No. 1 ranked Alabama. It was an unbelievable start to a season that was highly anticipated to be one of the best chances for Ole Miss to have success.

Though we started out at 7-0, this season has taught us a valuable lesson. That lesson was the bigger your dreams are, the harder reality might hit you. We envisioned an SEC championship in our pockets when it was only the middle of the season. We forgot that Alabama isn’t the only power football team we play every year. When you play a team from the SEC, it’s a hard enough game, but when you play teams that have more to play for than just another win, it gets even harder.

The season for the Rebels went into a downward spiral after we lost to LSU. That was a hard game to lose, but it didn’t just give us our first loss of the season, it took the wind out of our sails. That game alone took away the “It Factor” �we had throughout the first seven games. Though the momentum was lost, we still had the ball players who made impacts in the game on every play.

Nov 1, 2014; Oxford, MS, USA; Ole Miss Rebels wide receiver Laquon Treadwell (1) is carted off of the field after an injury on a play against the Auburn Tigers at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Auburn defeated Ole Miss 35-31. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

With all the players we had, what could have kept us from having the season we desired? The answer is not blown calls, poor coaching, or lack of effort. The simplest answer anyone could give is the amount of injuries. Our injury list seemed like it was almost as long as the roster itself. The LSU game took Denzel Nkemdiche down while also banging up a few other players.

The Auburn game took down our star receiver Laquon Treadwell. This injury took the any momentum we had left. It wasn’t the injury itself that hurt so much, but it was how it happened. Nothing was more heartbreaking than the play being called a touchdown, noticing Treadwell rolling around in agony, and then having to watch that touchdown be taken off the board and ruled a fumble that was recovered by Auburn. It was truly a tough night for all Rebel fans. Then, if that wasn’t bad enough,�Bo Wallace suffered an injury during the Arkansas game, and though �it wasn’t season ending, it did prove to be costly.

Suffering all the injuries we did throughout the season impacted how we played the game. As the season continued, the effort we played with felt different. It almost seemed as if we were playing with�frustration towards each other. During�the Egg Bowl, however, we finally seemed to turn things around. If we played with the effort we had during that game, we would have been undefeated during the regular season. As we played that game, we put everything on the line, and we risked it all for the senior players during their last home game. Our team came together and played like the team we hoped we would have seen throughout the season.

Those three SEC loses in a row really hurt us, and it showed us that what we want isn’t going to fall into our laps.�We learned that if we want to win, we have to come together as a team a fight each and every play together as one unit. After the Egg Bowl, we were anxious to end the season strong at the Peach Bowl. TCU, who had recently been knocked out of the first College Football Playoffs, were ready to show the committee that they made a mistake. Although TCU did very well at taking advantage of the opportunities we gave them, Ole Miss beat themselves. If you watched that game, you should know that what we saw was not the team we had seen all season long. Our defense has played with tremendous love for one another throughout the year, but I didn’t feel the same “togetherness” I saw from them throughout this season.

This season has had its ups and downs. We have been at the pinnacle�of the college football world, and in an instant we have began getting�bashed by announcers and experts. This season has been a crazy ride with multiple heartbreaks at every turn. Yet after�all those heartbreaks,�I am still thrilled to be an Ole Miss Rebel. Even though we went 9-4 this season, I’m sure Hugh Freeze is telling our guys that today begins preparation for next season. Freeze’s philosophy is to play for 60 minutes each week, life in the result of the game for a day, then its back to work. Through three seasons, his philosophy has proven to work. He has 247 more days before the kickoff of the 2015 season. I’m going to predict that that season going to be one of taking back what was stolen from us, but we will just have to wait and see.