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The RCR History Lesson: Tennessee 1977

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It was neither the best of times nor the worst of times.  Ken Cooper's stint as head coach of the Rebels is thoroughly forgettable, mostly because it was followed by pre-2005 incomparably terrible reign of Steve Sloan.  Cooper would receive the "kiss of death" a few days after losing 18-14 to Mississippi State to finish 5-6 (or 6-5 if you count Bully's subsequent fofeit - ah foreshadowing).  But before that routine collapse against the Bulldogs, Cooper would lay on Johnny Majors an "old-fashioned Tailkicking."

More history for you after the jump.

The 1977 game against Tennessee took place in the Liberty Bowl - site of countless treasured memories by Rebel fans.  The season to date had included the now-famous win over Notre Dame in Jackson, as well as the next-week loss to Southern Miss.  LSU beat Ole Miss by single digits, no surprise, before a bye week leading into the Tennessee game.

Coach Cooper summoned up his inner-Houston Nutt that game - coming off a devastating loss to inexplicably trounce an unsuspecting opponent.  The Rebels racked up 433 rushing yards (and 26 passing yards) and won 43-14.  It was Cooper's highest-scoring game as a Rebel.

The Commercial Appeal headline read "Ole Miss Prowess Turns Tennessee Into Laughing Stock."  Among other things that happened that day that aren't happening in 2009 - Kentucky beat Florida.

The big win over Tennessee in '77 should go down as a memorable one for Ole Miss fans, but like the coach who officiated over it there was not enough supporting excitement to make it a lasting memory.  Consequently Ken Cooper and his thoroughly dominating performance of Big Orange have been relegated to the RCR History Lesson.