Some pre-game notes here. UCA specialists have come out on the field and are loosening up. It’s sunny and hot out there.
I’ll have updates on Twitter @parrishalford and will be back here at halftime and after the game. Day After Observations returns tomorrow morning.
- Four of five games involving Southland Conference teams today were supposed to involve opponents from BCS conferences. One of those games, Nicholls State at Oregon State, was postponed, because of the effects of Hurricane Isaac on the Nicholls campus and team.
- Speaking of Nicholls, UCA coach Clint Conque, 51 and in his 13th season with the Bears, was an All-American linebacker at Nicholls back in the day.
- UCA is playing a BCS opponent for the first time. The Bears were in the D2 Gulf South Conference just six years ago. UCA is 18-12-1 against teams from Mississippi, including 13-5 against Delta State.
- UCA quarterback Wynrick Smothers, a running threat, will make just his second career start. His first also came against Hugh Freeze. Smothers was injured in UCA’s 53-24 loss at Arkansas State last year.
- While Ole Miss quarterbacks Bo Wallace and Barry Brunetti struggled with interceptions this month, they face tonight a secondary that is considered to be the team strength for the Bears. UCA strong safety Jestin Love was the SLC Freshman of the Year two years ago and has totaled 11 interceptions in two seasons.
- An opportunistic UCA defense had six defensive touchdowns a year ago, three with fumbles and three with interceptions.
- Ole Miss ranked No. 100 in turnover margin last year, Freeze and Arkansas State No. 44.
- Tonight begins the 118th season of Ole Miss football.
- The Rebels are 82-26-5 in season openers but have lost their last two.
- The last three Ole Miss head coaches – Houston Nutt, Ed Orgeron and David Cutcliffe – won their debut games. Since 1933, Ole Miss coaches are 9-4 in debut games.
- Freeze has a 30-7 career record in stops at Lambuth and Arkansas State prior to Ole Miss.
- DB Charles Sawyer has the most consecutive starts of any Ole Miss player with 13. His status for a 14th start was in question much of this month after he sustained a torn quad on the second day of camp, but Sawyer is listed first on the depth chart. The second-most consecutive career starts belong to sophomore WR Donte Moncrief with 13.