By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Ole Miss faced an opponent ranked No. 1 in at least one national poll for the ninth time Saturday, falling to 0-9 in those games.
Six times between 1960 and 1964 the Rebels were the No. 1-ranked team and went 5-1 in those games. The Rebels won the first five of those matchups before losing 27-21 to Kentucky in Jackson on Sept. 26, 1964.
LSU was ranked No. 1 when it defeated Ole Miss 52-3 in Oxford last year.
A 1-yard touchdown run off the right side for Jeff Scott gave Ole Miss a brief lead, 7-6, over the Crimson Tide with 13 minutes, 40 seconds left in the second quarter.
It marked the first time Alabama had trailed in a game since a 7-6 deficit in the first LSU game last year.
The Ole Miss lead didn’t last long as Christion Jones returned the ensuing kick 99 yards for a touchdown.
There are a number of player and coach connections between Alabama and Ole Miss.
Alabama director of football operations Joe Pannunzio coached at Ole Miss under Tommy Tuberville from 1995-1998 and coached with Ole Miss offensive coordinator Dan Werner at Auburn in 1999.
Werner, in fact, followed Pannunzio to Murray State to serve as offensive coordinator in 2000.
Ole Miss director of recruiting development Tyler Siskey was the offensive coordinator for Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron when McCarron was at St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Mobile.
The Ole Miss roster features 10 players from Alabama, most notably freshman safety Trae Elston, who made his second start, and sophomore wide receiver Collins Moore, who was particularly excited for the trip to Tuscaloosa.
“My high school was like the No. 1 school that sends its students to Alabama, just being able to play in front of my classmates once again … I can’t wait,” Moore said.
Moore attended Bob Jones High School in Madison, Ala., near Huntsville.
Elston chose the Rebels late in the recruiting process and made his first start last week at Tulane after serving a one-game SEC-mandated suspension against Texas. He had six tackles and an interception against the Green Wave.
Most of the top performances by Ole Miss players against Alabama come from Archie Manning’s 436-yard performance in a 33-32 loss in Birmingham in 1969.
Manning’s passing yardage remains the best by an Ole Miss player in the series, as does his three touchdowns. His favorite target in that game was Floyd Franks, whose 13 catches and 191 yards remain Ole Miss highs as well.
Deuce McAllister rushed for 188 yards in a 20-17 overtime loss in 1998, and McAllister had 152 yards on six kick returns when Ole Miss lost 30-24 in 1999.
On the road again
Saturday’s game marked the eighth time in 10 seasons that Ole Miss has opened SEC play on the road.
Ole Miss welcomes “Football Johnny” to Oxford as Texas A&M – led by redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel – plays its first SEC road game.
Manziel was 29 for 38 passing for 454 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions as the Aggies amassed 716 yards against struggling Arkansas in a 58-10 win Saturday.
Manziel also rushed 14 times for 104 yards and a touchdown.
Arkansas totaled 514 yards against the A&M defense.