Jul 13, 2017; Hoover, AL, USA; Ole Miss Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze speaks to media during SEC Media Days at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham-The Winfrey Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

No.15 Ole Miss hosts Liberty and Former Coach Hugh Freeze

Hugh Freeze returns to Oxford to take on Liberty as they look to beat their first Power 5 opponent.

Oct 15, 2016; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Ole Miss Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze during the second half against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Arkansas defeated Ole Miss 34-30. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Freeze’s Road to the Flames

Hugh Freeze was the former head coach for Ole Miss from 2012-2016.  His five-year tenure with the Rebels filled with a wide-range NCAA investigation into rule violations came to a close in 2017.  Freeze abruptly announced his resignation after it was found that he used his university-issued cellphone to call numbers linked to escort services.

In five seasons under Freeze, the Rebels had a 39-25 record, including a 19-21 record in SEC play.

Freeze became head coach of the Liberty football program in 2018, and brought immediate success.  In his first year with he Flames, the team qualified for bowl games for the first time in school history.  This season, the Flames are 7-2.

Ole Miss

The Rebels are now led by Lane Kiffin.

Coming off of a 31-20 loss last week against No.18 Auburn, the No.15 Rebels are looking for a win against the Flames.  The Rebels have a current record of 6-2 and are 3-2 in conference play.

This season, Ole Miss has struggled with player injuries, especially in their offensive lineup.  They practiced without nine of the 11 opening day offensive starters this week.  Quarterback Matt Corral has had a lingering ankle injury and it’s unknown whether he will play this weekend.  Additionally, receivers Jonathan Mingo, Braylon Sanders and Dontario Drummond may not be ready for the game according to Kiffin.

Matchup of the Quarterbacks

The quarterbacks of each team are both in line to be NFL draft picks.  Liberty junior Malik Willis, a former Auburn quarterback, transferred to Liberty after two seasons.  Through nine games, Willis has thrown for 1,986 yards, 21 touchdowns, six interceptions and has a passer rating of 173.4.  His performance continues to draw attention as he has been nominated for several awards.

Rebels quarterback Matt Corral has also had an outstanding season.  The junior has thrown for 2,202 yards, 15 touchdowns, two interceptions and has a passer rating of 160.4.

Although the Rebels face challenges while missing multiple key players, Kiffin hopes they can find a way to win.

The kickoff will be at 11 a.m. in Oxford.

About Jolie Katzen

Jolie Katzen is a third-year Journalism major with a focus on sports media at the University of Florida.

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