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The RCR History Lesson: Tennessee 1977

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.