This is quickly becoming a lost season for the University of Mississippi. The NCAA, cell-phone records and injuries have taken turns derailing this season for the Rebels.
The NCAA investigation and the cell-phone records of former head coach Hugh Freeze coming to light are both well documented. The problems with the NCAA led to a bowl ban this season, and Freeze resigned after evidence of him calling escort services surfaced.
Things haven’t been much better on the field, either. Last Saturday, Oct. 21, the Rebels lost 24-40 to the Louisiana State University Tigers to drop to a 3-4 overall record and 1-3 in SEC play.
The game wasn’t the only thing that the Rebels lost on Saturday. News hit on Sunday that starting quarterback Shea Patterson will be done for the season due to a torn knee ligament. He left late in the first half against LSU before returning in the second half. He finished the game with 10 of 23 passing completions for 163 yards with three interceptions.
Junior college transfer Jordan Ta’amu replaced Patterson just before half and late in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach. He had seven completions out of 11 throws for 78 yards without a touchdown or interception.
Right now, it looks like Ta’amu will be the starter for the rest of the season. If so, his first start will be at home against the University of Arkansas on Saturday, Oct. 28.
This will also be a big week for the University of Southern Mississippi and Mississippi State University. Both the Golden Eagles and Bulldogs can become bowl eligible with wins this week.
USM will host its rival, the University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers, a program that returned this season after disbanding in 2014. The Golden Eagles need a win to keep pace in the Conference USA West race as they trail the University of North Texas.
MSU will travel to Texas A&M University for a matchup of 5-2 teams. The winner of this game will get bowl eligibility and a chance to improve its bowl standing for the rest of the season. If the Bulldogs don’t win this week, they should become bowl eligible next week against the University of Massachusetts before hosting a nearly unstoppable University of Alabama team.
This weekend also delivers what could be one of the last chances for Jackson State University to get a win this season. This Saturday, the 0-7 Tigers will travel to Mississippi Valley State University, which currently sits at a 2-5 record.
Alcorn State University is off this weekend but is coming off a 14-41 defeat to Grambling State University on Oct. 21. The Tigers, who sit at a 6-1 record, are the best team in the SWAC again this season, but the Braves still lead the SWAC East over Alabama A&M University, which is second in the division.
There are things that ASU can learn from the loss to Grambling, and the teams might face each other again in the final SWAC football title game. Avoiding seven turnovers would be a great start for the Braves.
Mississippi College happens to be off this weekend, as well. The 0-8 Choctaws’ best chance for a win this season will come next weekend against Shorter University. The Hawks are also 0-8 this season, and MC will have two weeks to prepare for this game while Shorter will face the University of West Georgia this Saturday.