Sunday, January 29, 2023

Bowl Games of Ole Miss’ Past – Rebels Clash with the Razorbacks in 1963 Sugar Bowl


While Ole Miss may not be going bowling this season, the Rebels have a decorated history in some of College Football’s most famous bowl games. From going to their first bowl game in 1936 to the Sugar Bowl victory in 2015, the Rebels rank 10th in the NCAA in bowl victories with 23. The Rebels have won games and set records that will stand the test of time. From Conerly to Manning and Vaught to Freeze, Ole Miss legends have made names for themselves in bowl games over the years. So, instead of an actual bowl this year, let us take you back to some of the most memorable bowl victories in Ole Miss history.

1963 Sugar Bowl Program

In 1962, the University of Mississippi was in the midst of James Meredith attempting to become the first African-American student to enroll on campus. The other big story at the time was the Ole Miss Rebel football team was in the midst of attempting to complete their first ever undefeated season. They did just that, as they finished the regular season 9-0, and to get their 10th win they had to go through the Razorbacks of Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl. 

The SEC champion Rebels came into the game ranked #3 in the country, and the Razorbacks, representing the Southwest Conference, were ranked 6th. The Razorback had reached the Sugar Bowl in the season prior but fell to Bear Bryant’s Alabama Crimson Tide. The crowd of 82,900 fans was the highest attendance figure up to that point for a Rebel trip to the famed bowl game. After the teams had traded field goals, QB Glynn Griffing found WR Louis Guy for a 33-yard TD to give the Rebels a 10-3 lead at halftime. 

In the second half, the Razorbacks had a chance to tie the game after a Rebel fumble deep in their own territory, and they did just that. A TD pass from Arkansas QB Billy Moore evened the score at 10-10. The Rebels wouldn’t be denied on their next drive, as Griffing took them on a 10-play, 80-yard TD drive to take back the lead. Later in the 3rd, a Razorback drive stalled and resulted in a field goal. With a 4-point lead heading into the final quarter, the Rebels had to hold on. The Rebels didn’t score in the 4th quarter but were able to control the clock and keep the ball away from the Arkansas offense. 

17-13 was the final, and the Rebels had completed the perfect season. Griffing was named the game’s MVP, almost unanimously. Ole Miss was awarded the national championship by the Billingsley Report, Litkenhous and, later, Sagarin Ratings. The 1962 national title is the last one by the Rebels. Head coach Johnny Vaught was awarded his 6th Coach of the Year award.

For video of the 1963 Sugar Bowl, see below. Video courtesy of Ole Miss Football. 

Steven Gagliano is a writer for He can be a writer for

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