Friday, October 7, 2022

Neumann: Rebels and Fans Share in Egg Bowl Victory

Photo by Chuck Barnes
The Ole MIss team was cheered to victory by vivacious Rebel nation. / Photo by Chuck Barnes

It started with the seniors being introduced, and the fans never stopped cheering.
Unless you have been a player, you can’t imagine what an intricate part of the game the fans are. Ask any Rebel player how it felt to hear their fans cheering for them. Their response will be for sure, there is nothing like it.
Coach Hugh Freeze greets quarterback Bo Wallace's family before the parade of seniors. / Photos by Amelia Camurati
Coach Hugh Freeze greets quarterback Bo Wallace’s family before the parade of seniors. / Photos by Amelia Camurati

More importantly, the things I have said all along would happen, did — I knew today was Senior Day for the Rebels, and the fans responded like I knew they would.
None of the reporters before the game thought the Rebels had a chance. It was all about Mississippi State — because they underestimate the power of the fans and what happens when a coach believes in his players, lets them feel his love. Because they will run through walls for him.
It’s all about mental toughness, and it showed throughout the Egg Bowl. The determination and trick plays were executed with perfection. That, ladies and gentlemen, is belief in the system.
Rebel nation was there as, once again, the Rebels’ great defense dominated the game. The executions of trick plays, the stepping up of the running game and the leadership of Coach Hugh Freeze and his staff
We again saw the Rebels playing with their passion, will and determination, showing the nation Ole Miss Rebel football is back! This is a true team, with each player for the other, having each other’s backs, and being one united with its fans.
IMG_7679The Rebels had a tremendous game plan, orchestrated by Freeze, and the players responded and trusted in and executed that plan with ease.
As I’ve said in previous columns, the role of players that weren’t asked to step up until the Rebels suffered many injuries responded to the pressure and helped the Ole Miss cause as much as the typical starter greats.
Lead by Bo Wallace, whose stats weren’t great, his timely big passes, senior leadership and the coming-of-age of his running backs and receivers was right on.
The Rebel running game with Jaylen Walton’s huge runs, Evan Engram’s big-time catches and the great overall play of the offensive line was something that I’m proud the nation was able to see.
The most ironic things is the fact that Wallace was hurt and Freeze knew that it just couldn’t be an one man show. I’m positive that Freeze talked to his players and coaches and explain that everyone had to be part of his game plan to ensure the victory. The thing a coach worries about the most is role players stepping up, but it happened Saturday for the Rebels.
I can’t emphasize the importance the Rebel nation had in the victory today, and I extend my congratulations to the coaches and players for bring the Golden Egg back to Ole Miss where it belongs.
This, for me, is much better than being in the Final Four. We will now get a great bowl game, and each year we will get better. The coaches, players and Rebel Nation are united again, and in time will be a National Champion again.


Johnny Neumann has been voted one of the top college basketball players of all time for his achievements during his brief tenure at Ole Miss. Neumann was a High School All-American at Overton High and brought his talents to Ole Miss in 1970. The statistics Neumann compiled over just ONE season at Ole Miss are proof of his greatness. Currently Neumann is an Ole Miss student again majoring in journalism. He spent many years in the NBA and ABA and as a coach. His goal is to enter sports broadcasting.
Neumann:

  • Became one of only three players in the nation to ever average 40 points a game in a career
  • Ranks fourth all-time in points scored in one game, 63 vs. LSU in 1971
  • Ranks sixth all-time in points in a season, scoring 923
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