On Saturday morning at Jefferson Pilot Standard Time, Ole Miss will step into the faux squared circle with Indiana to battle for the right to be called 2021 Outback Bowl champions - a more prestigious honor I cannot recall. The trip to Tampa will be the first time Ole Miss has visited Florida in January since 1991 when they lost to Michigan 35-3 in the Gator Bowl.
In fact, it’s just the fifth time Ole Miss has ever played a bowl game in Florida. For some depressing perspective, Ole Miss has played in the Independence Bowl five times (4-1 BABY) since 1983.
Outside of the 1991 loss to Michigan, Ole Miss’ other Florida appearances include:
- 1971 Gator Bowl - 35-28 loss to Auburn (BARN CHEATIN’)
- 1958 Gator Bowl - 7-3 win over Florida (the score at the end of the first quarter? 7-3)
- 1936 Orange Bowl - 20-19 loss to Catholic University (six turnovers is a fun bowl experience)
We can assume 1936 Ole Miss fans destroyed hundreds of fashionable straw hats and sucked on lemons or turnips to combat the anger when turnover number four occurred.
Speaking of not good times for Ole Miss fans, let’s get to the 1991 Gator Bowl! Yes, Ole Miss lost by over four touchdowns, but don’t let that distract you from the fact there were multiple highlights.
In the first quarter, Elvis Grbac was out there thinking he can hit his tight end down the seam without Tyrone Ashley having a say in the matter.
INCORRECT, SIR. Also, a hearty 25 out of 10 YIKES for all the Confederate flag transport across multiple state lines.
Did Ole Miss take advantage of this turnover? They did not! Four plays later, Michigan got the ball back after a turnover on downs.
After giving up a 63-yard touchdown reception to Desmond Howard, Ole Miss came right back at the Wolverines in the second quarter. And by right back at the Michigan Men™, I mean they attempted a 51-yard field goal with a kicker who was 3 of 13 on the year and had not made a field goal since the last weekend in September (totally serious, listen to the audio).
TIRED: The analytics say to go for it!
WIRED: HE HASN’T MADE A FIELD GOAL IN THREE MONTHS, WHICH MEANS HE’S DUE
That’s your boy, Brian Lee, with a preemptive strike against a sad field goal late to avoid the shutout, as we saw in the 2014 Peach Bowl. This field goal also brings us to the end of the 1991 Gator Bowl highlights, which means I’m a liar about multiple highlights. As an apology, I offer you all free Red Cup Rebellion subscriptions for the next year.
Michigan would go on to pile up 715 yards of total offense, and Ole Miss would throw four interceptions and lose two fumbles. Ole Miss only losing this game by 32 should be listed among Billy Brewer’s greatest accomplishments because 70-3 was on the table.
Let us hope for a more productive Florida experience on Saturday because I do not own a straw hat or have lemons/turnips readily available to prevent me from tweeting through a disaster.