Saturday, April 1, 2023

Column: Silent for a Year, the Grove Atmosphere Returns

By Carleigh Holt Intern

Ole Miss’ Walk of Champions

After a season without tailgating, crowds along the Walk of Champions and the Ole Miss family uniting in the Grove, the beloved gathering spot in the middle of campus is back. And Rebel fans are ready to create memories once again. 

Oxford has been named the best college town in America by ESPN, and anyone who has experienced Ole Miss on a game day knows why. After being curtailed by a year of COVID-19, Oxford’s Southern hospitality and tailgating experience will make a comeback on Saturday when the Rebels host Austin Peay.

The enthusiasm and momentum will come alive when the team walks down the Walk of Champions for the first time this season, and head coach Lane Kiffin wants a big turnout.

In a tweet, he said “need all @OleMissFB fans here Saturday. @katyperry come back we will pay for corn dogs. #ComeToTheSip.” The reference was to the singer’s 2014 appearance in the Grove  on ESPN’s College GameDay, when Ole Miss beat Alabama.

The media attached to his tweet showed him on a green screen with the Grove packed with people. He encouraged Ole Miss football fans to show up to support the 1-0 Rebels, which has shown an improved defense and a superior offense with Matt Corral. The first game of the season, against Louisville in Atlanta, featured a number of record-breaking performances, and  Rebels could set even more marks this weekend. 

Kiffin will lead the team on the field for the first time this season. He had to stay in Oxford last week due to his COVID-19 diagnosis. The Rebels will play Austin Peay at 6:30 p.m. this Saturday. The color chosen for the game is white, and it is military night. 

This is just the beginning of the Rebel season, and the time that the Ole Miss family has been waiting for is finally back.  

The Grove is back and ready to welcome its family back.