The 2019 Ole Miss football season will add another chapter this Saturday as the Rebels host the Southeastern Louisiana Lions.
Southeastern Louisiana, otherwise known as “SELA,” is the Rebels’ only FCS opponent this year, a game most power programs schedule as a form of “tune-up” game against an inferior opponent. When facing an FBS school like Ole Miss, FCS programs typically receive some form of financial compensation for playing the game, which provides the school incentive to participate in the contest.
While these FCS games typically aren’t very interesting and offer little more than a glorified scrimmage for the FBS team involved, they can sometimes get hairy and even result in the FCS program emerging victorious. Some FBS teams don’t play their best football in these matchups, and Ole Miss has been no exception over the years.
Here’s a look at some of Ole Miss’ “notable” FCS matchups in recent seasons.
Sept. 4, 2010 – vs. Jacksonville State (L 49-48, 2OT)
Let’s start here, shall we? This game, in essence, marked the beginning of the end of the Houston Nutt era at Ole Miss (although Nutt lasted for the remainder of the 2010 season and through 2011 as head coach). Fresh off a Cotton Bowl victory over Oklahoma State to conclude the 2009 season, Ole Miss led 31-10 at halftime and looked to be well on their way to routing the visiting Gamecocks.
Jacksonville State scored 24 points in the second half (21 in the fourth quarter alone) to Ole Miss’s three and tied the game at 34, sending the game to overtime. In the second overtime period, the Gamecocks scored a touchdown and, instead of kicking the extra point to tie, went for two and secured the win. This marked the Rebels’ first and only loss to an FCS opponent in school history. The Rebels went on to finish 4-8 in 2010, although the NCAA later vacated the program’s four wins on the season, leaving the official record at 0-8.
Sept. 10, 2011 – vs. Southern Illinois (W 42-24)
We’ll include this one because it was the only home win in a two-win season for the Rebels to close out Houston Nutt’s tenure in Oxford. The Rebels finished the season 2-10 after winning a game at Fresno State in October in a strange home-and-home series with a Group of Five school. Ole Miss was actually outgained by the Salukis in the game but put enough plays together to win by a comfortable margin.
Nov. 8, 2014 – vs. Presbyterian (W 48-0)
Following the devastating injury to Laquon Treadwell against Auburn, the Rebels took out their frustration on the Blue Hose to the tune of a 48-0 shellacking. Jordan Wilkins lit up the Presbyterian defense with 171 rushing yards on 10 carries and a touchdown.
Sept. 8, 2018 – vs. Southern Illinois (W 76-41)
In a game that illustrated the ineptitude of Wesley McGriff’s defense and the quick-scoring ability of Phil Longo’s offense (against inferior opponents, anyway), Ole Miss pulled away from
Southern Illinois last season while scoring 76 points. Jordan Ta’amu threw for 448 yards and five touchdowns, and Matt Corral saw playing time in the second half, as well. Although the Rebels won the game, the writing on the wall was clear. Changes had to be made on the coaching staff if the Rebels wanted to be competitive in the SEC once again. Giving up 41 points and struggling with an FCS opponent isn’t a good look for an SEC school, and the Rebels attempted to remedy those problems last offseason.
Ole Miss will add to its FCS history at 3 p.m. this Saturday in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and hopes to have an easier game this time around.