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.