Our very own Ruby Draayer will be road tripping to every away game this season, much to the jealousy of everyone else on the Red Cup staff. She’ll detail the sights and sounds of every away game in this series we’re calling Ruby’s Road Trip.
It feels so good to be writing about Ole Miss football again, especially after a blowout win. Winning always feels good, but even better when you’re not stressed out the entire game.
This opening kickoff game was done perfectly, and Ole Miss even got its own Atlanta version of a Walk of Champions.
Showed out #RebelNation pic.twitter.com/BjGPJfGq4H— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) September 6, 2021
The stadium was unbelievable, as expected. There were a lot of food options, and they have a suite-style kind of thing for all of the lower sections where you are able to walk down closer to the players at field level. It was so awesome to be able to go down there and watch the coaches chew out some of the players.
There was a pretty good showing of Ole Miss fans, I wish they would have let the upper bowl fans come down instead of huge gaps of a section, but I get it. Before the kickoff, the Mayor of Atlanta came onto the screen to give a nice message about Covid-19 and welcoming the fans to Atlanta. At least I’m guessing that’s what she said because I couldn’t hear over all of the Mississippi people booing a mayor of a city they don’t live in.
This was a very nerve-wracking game for me. I was downing my unlimited Coke Zero to cope and trying to stay optimistic prior to kickoff. This game is one of those that determines which way the season was going to go. I know that sounds dramatic, but when you’re playing on that big of a stage, it’s important to come out swinging.
Ole Miss came out of the tunnel blowing my expectations away. I kept holding my breath waiting for things to start to implode, but they never did. I watched the 2020 worst defense in the country turn into a very capable group. Two of our linebackers were ejected, and still, the Landsharks handled business. The last time an Ole Miss defense performed this well in a game was in 2016. It’s still early on, but I am very, very optimistic about this season.
When I watched Snoop absolutely body a grown man, I had to pick up my jaw off of the floor. Not only is Ole Miss football fun again, but they are great at football!
Damn, Snoop. That man has a family. pic.twitter.com/tdldwOUaYz— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) September 7, 2021
Every time Ole Miss would score, the stadium would play this train horn sound. I was so excited because that’s what we do in the Vaught. The Rebels were the home team, so it just felt appropriate. It wasn’t until Louisville finally scored a field goal in the second half to get on the board that I realized it was for both teams.
I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the leadership of Matt Corral. It is so easy to look at his stat line and determine that he is an excellent quarterback, maybe even the very best in the country. He led all Power 5 teams in total offense by 72 yards this weekend, and it almost feels made up. However, what he does off the field is the most impressive. After an awful targeting call on linebacker Mark Robinson, Corral came over on the sideline and put his arm around him. You could tell Robinson was pretty distraught and struggling over it. It was his first game in an Ole Miss uniform and he got sent off by a booth committee, not even the refs. Instead of ignoring it and focusing on his game, Corral made sure he was okay. Throughout the off-season, fans have heard all about Corral’s maturity and leadership growth. Corral showed it through his compassion and wanting to make a difference on the team, even when it isn’t his job. He also runs through DB’s like a running back, which is just ridiculous.
Matt corral trucked tf out of the Louisville db lmao pic.twitter.com/iDweiO06ml— jw (@iam_johnw2) September 7, 2021
The highlight of the trip (besides beating the bricks off of Louisville) was the people in front of me at the game. If you want to see him on the message boards his name is Dean-a-rino. The only reason I know that is because his wife told me that “he has three small children but hides from them to look up everything he can on the message boards.” Classic Dean-a-rino move.
Dean-a-rino was freaking out of control at the game but in the very best way. If you paid attention at all, you know about the absurd amount of targeting calls from the Big10 refs. The targeting that was called on Louisville after two players lowered their heads as Matt Corral was sliding was the most memorable. I cannot watch it without feeling ill. During the game, as soon as it happened and Corral didn’t move for a minute, the stadium fell silent and everything went black. At least for me. Dean-a-rino remarked both of the players getting thrown out “would jack my a$$ up.” He would pace back and forth on his empty row and called me Red Cup every time Ole Miss did something good. Seeing other fans that are as unruly as I am is so refreshing and fun. I didn’t realize how much Covid-19 affected things I loved until I got to see some of them back this weekend. Fans jumping and high-fiving everyone around them is one of those little things. There is such a sense of unity in sports that make it so great, and without it, it changes things.
Everything is good and happy and right again. Football is back and the Rebels dominated. Don’t worry if you weren’t able to make it to Atlanta this weekend. The Rebels will be back in December (editor’s note: this might be a fireable offense but Imma allow it).