Oct 14, 2023; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; Miami Hurricanes running back Henry Parrish Jr. (21) carries the football against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the first half at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

Former Miami RB Henry Parrish Jr. returns to Ole Miss

Former Miami Hurricanes running back Henry Parrish Jr. committed to Ole Miss on Monday, returning to the school where he started his college career in 2020.

Parrish entered the transfer portal last Tuesday, the first day of the spring transfer window, and announced his decision to join the Rebels on social media Monday.

Parrish gained 625 yards on the ground and scored six touchdowns for the Hurricanes in 2023. Across four seasons with Ole Miss (2020-21) and Miami (2022-23), Parrish amassed 2,057 rushing yards, 56 receptions for 384 yards and 17 total touchdowns (15 rushing).

He has one year of eligibility remaining.

Coach Lane Kiffin adds Parrish to the mix of potential running backs to replace starter Quinshon Judkins, who went to Ohio State via the transfer portal. The Rebels’ second-leading rusher last season, Ulysses Bentley IV, returns after posting 540 yards rushing and five rushing and receiving touchdowns, and the team also added transfers Jacory Croskey-Merritt from New Mexico and Logan Diggs from LSU.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2023; Phoenix, AZ, USA; UNLV Rebels head coach Barry Odom reacts against the Kansas Jayhawks during the first half at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

UNLV coach Barry Odom gets contract upgrade after big 2023

UNLV coach Barry Odom received a one-year extension through the 2028 season on Friday after the school posted its best win total in 39 years last season.

Odom also had retention bonuses added to his contract after the Rebels went 9-5. UNLV shared the Mountain West regular-season crown before losing 44-20 to Boise State in the conference title game.

The Rebels also played in a bowl game for the first time since the 2013 season, losing 49-36 to Kansas in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl.

Odom, 47, was named Mountain West Coach of the Year after leading UNLV to just its second winning season since 2000.

“We are obviously thrilled about what Barry Odom and his staff did in year one leading Rebel football,” UNLV athletic director Erick Harper said in a news release. “The program is on an upward trajectory and we could not be more excited about him leading the way.

“Barry continues to be a man of his word, focusing on growing all phases of the program the right way. He is committed to his players, coaches and staff and with the newly expanded CFP he is laying a foundation that gives Rebel Football a chance to compete at the highest level.”

Odom received a five-year, $9.75 million deal when hired by UNLV in December 2022. He reportedly made $1.75 million last season.

Odom’s retention bonuses reportedly line up this way: $200,000 in March 2026 and 2028 and $100,000 in February 2029.

“I’m excited about the foundation we have built in the past 16 months and I certainly look forward to our strong future,” Odom said in the news release. “I’m thankful for our staff and our student-athletes — they are on a mission to win a championship.”

Odom previously served as coach of Missouri from 2016-19 and compiled a 25-25 record.

–Field Level Media

Oct 7, 2023; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies defensive lineman Walter Nolen (0) reacts after a play during the second quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss lands big Texas A&M transfer Walter Nolen

Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin secured a major transfer-portal target Sunday when former Texas A&M defensive lineman Walter Nolen committed to join the Rebels.

Nolen, who racked up 37 tackles — 8.5 tackles for loss — and four sacks in 12 games during the 2023 season, chose Ole Miss over Oregon, a school he visited earlier in December.

A 6-foot-4, 290-pound sophomore, Nolen played two seasons with the Aggies and was a big part of Texas A&M’s top-ranked 2022 recruiting class.

Nolen joins a strong haul of fellow transfers for Ole Miss, including pass rushers Tyler Baron from Tennessee and Princely Umanmielen from Florida.

–Field Level Media

Nov 23, 2023; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs running back Jeffery Pittman (25) runs the ball as Mississippi Rebels linebacker Khari Coleman (23) makes the tackle during the first half at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

No. 12 Ole Miss ends Mississippi State’s bowl streak

Quinshon Judkins rushed for a touchdown, Jaxson Dart passed for a touchdown and No. 12 Ole Miss shut down Mississippi State’s offense in a 17-7 Egg Bowl victory Thursday night in Starkville, Miss.

The Rebels (10-2, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) led just 3-0 at halftime before Judkins, who finished with 119 yards on 28 carries, sparked the offense in the second half.

Will Rogers passed for 207 yards and ran 1 yard for the only touchdown by the Bulldogs (5-7, 1-7), who saw their 13-season streak of bowl appearances come to and end.

On Mississippi State’s first possession of the second half, Rogers completed all four of his passes for 47 yards during a 71-yard drive that ended with his touchdown and a 7-3 lead.

The Rebels responded with Judkins rushing six times for 40 yards, the last 2 of which came on a touchdown that gave Ole Miss a 10-7 lead at the end of the third quarter.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Dart converted a fourth-and-3 from the Mississippi State 41 by throwing a 7-yard completion to Jordan Watkins. Three plays later, Dart threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Caden Prieskorn for a 17-7 lead.

The Bulldogs tried to make it a one-score game, but Kyle Ferrie’s 50-yard field-goal attempt hit the crossbar and fell short with 6:28 remaining.

Both teams punted four times during a scoreless first quarter, and on the second play of the second quarter, the Bulldogs punted for a fifth time.

The Rebels put together the game’s first successful drive on the ensuing possession, moving 66 yards in 13 plays before stalling. Caden Davis kicked a 36-yard field goal to give Ole Miss a 3-0 lead.

On the Bulldogs’ last possession of the first half, they entered Rebels territory for the first time, reaching the 24 before stalling. Ferrie was wide left on a 42-yard field-goal attempt with 15 seconds to go, leaving Ole Miss with a 3-0 halftime lead.

–Field Level Media

Mississippi's quarterback Jaxson Dart (2), left, prepares to hand off the ball to Mississippi's running back Quinshon Judkins (4) in the Texas Bowl game against Texas Tech, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022, at NRG Stadium in Houston.

Syndication Lubbock Avalanche Journal

QB1 status a mystery, No. 22 Ole Miss opens with Mercer

Lane Kiffin is taking his time announcing a starting quarterback as No. 22 Ole Miss prepares to open its season Saturday against FCS foe Mercer at home in Oxford, Miss.

The Rebels started last season 7-0 and rose to No. 7 in the country on the strength of an offense led by running back Quinshon Judkins and quarterback Jaxson Dart. But they stumbled to an 8-5 finish, including a 42-25 loss to Texas Tech in the Texas Bowl.

Judkins, who had 1,699 yards from scrimmage and 17 total touchdowns as a freshman, is now a first-team preseason All-American. The defense returns 12 players with starting experience. The missing piece is a decision at quarterback.

Dart’s competition is transfer Spencer Sanders, a four-year starter at Oklahoma State.

“We’ve not made that final decision,” Kiffin said Monday. “We’re very excited about all the guys. As far as the starter, that’s between two people. Both guys played extremely well and made very explosive plays (in a mock game) on Saturday. Managed the offense well. We feel very confident with either of them.”

Dart threw for 2,974 yards, 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions last year. Sanders has nearly 10,000 career passing yards, 67 touchdowns and multiple bowl wins to his credit.

Judkins said Kiffin has not tipped his QB1 choice, not even in the locker room.

“That’s not something he would say in a public setting, around the whole team, in a team meeting or anything like that,” Judkins said. “That’s more inside of him, offensive coordinators and quarterback coaches. There’s nothing that’s been said to us.”

Mercer (1-0) was ranked No. 20 in the STATS Perform FCS preseason poll after the Southern Conference member went 7-4 a year ago.

The Bears had a strong defensive showing last Saturday when they beat North Alabama 17-7 in the FCS Kickoff Classic in Montgomery, Ala. Mercer allowed just 12 first downs and 248 total yards.

Micah Bell led the charge on offense with 20 carries for 73 yards and a touchdown. Carter Peevy was 12-of-17 passing and completed a 14-yard touchdown to Ty James.

Mercer’s record against FBS competition in recent years includes lopsided losses at Auburn in 2022, at Alabama in 2021 and at Army in 2020.

“They played well Saturday and played very well last year,” Kiffin said of the Bears. “They play extremely hard, even if you go back to last year and years ago when they were at Alabama, how well they played on defense, early, but especially on defense and the problems they gave them … we’re going to have our hands full and prepare really well.”

Mercer coach Drew Cronic is reminding his players that fundamentals are key.

“You’ll really get exposed if you’re not fundamentally sound, doing exactly what you’re coached to do when you start playing SEC-level talent,” Cronic said. “When we go back and look at the last two years when we played Auburn and we played Alabama, when we do what we’re supposed to do we give ourselves a chance to execute plays.

“We’ll go over there and throw everything we got at ’em. You never know what’ll happen.”

–Field Level Media

Oklahoma State's Spencer Sanders (3) looks to throw a pass in the first half during the Bedlam college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Nov., 19, 2022.

cover main

Ole Miss adds transfer QB Spencer Sanders from Oklahoma State

Former Oklahoma State starting quarterback Spencer Sanders announced Thursday he is transferring to Ole Miss.

He’s the second quarterback to commit to Lane Kiffin’s program in as many days after the Rebels added former five-star high school recruit Walker Howard, a transfer from LSU, on Wednesday.

Ole Miss also has 2022 starting quarterback Jaxson Dart returning next season.

Sanders was a four-year starter for the Cowboys, who went 31-12 in his starts from 2019-22. He was the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year in 2019 and the Fiesta Bowl Offensive MVP in 2021.

In 10 games in 2022, Sanders threw for 2,642 yards, 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions on a career-low 57.6 completion percentage. In his four seasons at Oklahoma State, he amassed 9,553 passing yards and 67 touchdowns with 40 picks.

“I fit in very well there with what they do on offense, their play-action game, the way they take deep shots down the field, Coach Kiffin’s mindset and their balance with a great running back like Quinshon Judkins,” Sanders told ESPN. “It’s just a very well-rounded scheme.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 28, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Mississippi Rebels running back Zach Evans (6) runs with the ball during the second quarter against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the 2022 Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss RB Zach Evans enters NFL draft

Ole Miss running back Zach Evans announced Friday that he is declaring for the NFL draft.

Evans made his decision two days after the Rebels lost 42-25 to Texas Tech in the Texas Bowl.

“I’ve had an unforgettable experience at Ole Miss, and I am forever thankful for the opportunity to play here,” Evans wrote in his announcement. “… After much prayer, I have decided to forego my remaining year of eligibility and declare for the 2023 NFL Draft.”

Evans rushed for 936 yards and nine touchdowns and also had 12 catches for 119 yards and one score in 2022, his lone season for the Rebels. He rushed for 130 or more yards four times this season, including a career-best 207 against Arkansas on Nov. 19.

Evans played the previous two seasons at TCU and had 1,063 rushing yards and nine scores and caught 18 passes for 206 yards and one touchdown in his time with the Horned Frogs.

–Field Level Media

Nov 16, 2019; Columbia, MO, USA; Missouri Tigers head coach Barry Odom reacts to play during the second half against the Florida Gators  at Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

UNLV hires former Mizzou coach Barry Odom

UNLV announced Tuesday that it has hired Barry Odom as its next football coach.

Odom, who led Missouri from 2016-19, was most recently the associate head coach and defensive coordinator at Arkansas.

“I’m honored and excited to begin developing a relationship with our student-athletes and provide them a great foundation for success in every area of their lives,” Odom, 46, said in a news release. “I believe in the vision and plan that President (Keith E.) Whitfield and (athletic director Erick) Harper have for the UNLV Athletics Department. That alignment piece is critical and together we will achieve great success.

“This city is founded on opportunity and we look forward to this opportunity to lead this program and engage with this amazing community and Rebels everywhere.”

In Odom’s four seasons at the helm of his alma mater, Missouri went 25-25. The Tigers’ best season was an 8-5 mark in 2018, and they made two bowl games, losing both.

UNLV fired Marcus Arroyo in late November after the Rebels finished 5-7 (3-5 Mountain West) in his third season as coach. That was a marked improvement over the Rebels’ 0-6 and 2-10 records in his first two seasons.

Former national championship-winning LSU coach Ed Orgeron was rumored to be a candidate at UNLV, but Orgeron denied any interest or involvement with the Rebels’ search.

–Field Level Media

Nov 24, 2022; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs quarterback Will Rogers (2) moves in the pocket while defended by Ole Miss Rebels defensive end Tavius Robinson (95) during the first quarter at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi State rallies past No. 20 Ole Miss in second half

Will Rogers threw two touchdown passes and the Mississippi State defense shut down No. 20 Ole Miss’ running game in a 24-22 victory in the Battle for the Golden Egg on Thursday night in Oxford, Miss.

The Bulldogs (8-4, 4-4 Southeastern Conference) held the Rebels’ running back tandem of Quinshon Judkins and Zach Evans, who came in averaging a combined 208 rushing yards, to 87 yards and ended a two-game losing streak in the long-time rivalry.

Ole Miss (8-4, 4-4) led 16-14 at halftime. After a scoreless third quarter, Massimo Biscardi kicked a 34-yard field goal to give Mississippi State a 17-16 lead with 13:46 left in the game.

On a third-and-7 play, Rogers threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Rara Thomas to extend the lead to 24-16 with 7:58 left.

After a Rebels fumble, the Bulldogs had a chance to score again, but Rogers lost a fumble at the Ole Miss 1-yard line.

The Rebels drove 99 yards and Jaxson Dart threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Dayton Wade with 1:25 left, but a potential tying two-point conversion pass failed. Mississippi State recovered the ensuing onside kick to hold on.

On the first possession of the game, Ole Miss needed just three plays to drive to a first down at the Mississippi State 15. However, the Rebels stalled and Jonathan Cruz kicked a 32-yard field goal.

The Bulldogs responded quickly, driving 61 yards on the ensuing possession, which ended with Jo’quavious Marks running 1 yard for a touchdown and a 7-3 lead.

Ole Miss drove to a first down at the Mississippi State 18 on its third possession and stalled again. Cruz’s 33-yard field goal trimmed the lead to 7-6 at the end of the first quarter.

Cruz added a 49-yard field goal to give the Rebels a 9-7 lead early in the second quarter.

The Rebels drove to the Mississippi State 1, and on fourth-and-goal Dart threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to JJ Pegues for a 16-7 lead.

Rogers tossed a 19-yard touchdown pass to Lideatrick Griffin with eight seconds left, cutting Ole Miss’ lead to 16-14 at halftime.

–Field Level Media

Oct 22, 2022; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA;  Mississippi Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin looks on during the second half against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

SEC foes Ole Miss, Alabama vie for win to keep hopes alive

The Southeastern Conference’s “Road to Atlanta” was supposed to reach a major intersection this week on the campus of Ole Miss, but one powerhouse school’s hopes of making the SEC Championship Game have diminished while the host school will a little need help, too.

On Saturday afternoon in Oxford, Miss., the No. 11 Ole Miss Rebels will welcome the No. 9 Alabama Crimson Tide, with neither team having any margin for error if it wants to entertain the possibility of going to the conference title game in Atlanta.

Ole Miss (8-1, 4-1 SEC) lost 45-20 at LSU on Oct. 22, putting the squad in a must-win situation if it wanted to make this season even more special than last year’s 10-win regular season and Sugar Bowl appearance.

Now, the Rebels find themselves needing two situations to take place in order to make it to the SECCG on Dec. 3 — win out, and hope the No. 7 LSU Tigers, holding the head-to-head tiebreaker, fall at least once in one of their final two conference games at Arkansas or at Texas A&M.

So first, they have to take care of Alabama (7-2, 4-2), which fell 32-31 in dramatic fashion last Saturday night on the road at LSU’s “Death Valley.”

Rebels coach Lane Kiffin even reached out to a popular SEC college football host and urged him not to egg on Nick Saban even more. Falling on Saturday would mark the first time Alabama has lost back-to-back games since 2013.

“I texted (Paul) Finebaum on the way over here when I saw his quotes when he normally does and he says the Nick Saban dynasty is over and all that,” said Kiffin, a former Alabama assistant. “Every time he says this — which I tell him — all he does is, I call it, like, GOAT fuel. The opposite of rat poison. You’re just like, giving the GOAT fuel, which for him, that works. He goes and proves them wrong every time.

“So really appreciate you, Paul, saying that right after the game. I’m sure that was on his desk Sunday morning.”

Alabama’s two SEC defeats — to Tennessee and LSU — are uncharacteristic for such a juggernaut of a program, which has struggled four times so far.

While some could argue that the Crimson Tide could have beaten the Volunteers with a shorter late field goal or won in overtime with better clock management, the naysayers will point to a last-second field goal at Texas and a goal-line stand at home against Texas A&M that could have added two more losses to the Tuscaloosa team’s ledger.

“I know people have kind of written us off to some degree,” Saban said. “We’ve had four games that have come down basically to the last play of the game. We won two of them and lost two of them by a total of four points.

“We’re going to play a good team this week, and I’m sure they’re going to want to put up on their mantel, ‘We beat Alabama, too.’ It’s just a matter of whether we’re going to allow that to happen or do everything we can to avoid it.”

Alabama has won six straight in the series after losing to former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze in 2014 and 2015. However, that 2014 triumph was vacated for Freeze using ineligible players.

–Field Level Media