It appears there is no love lost between the Ole Miss football program and its former coach, Hugh Freeze. The Rebels social media team made that clear after Ole Miss’ 27-14 win Saturday against Liberty.
Freeze, now coach at Liberty, made his first return to Oxford, Miss., on Saturday since he resigned as the Rebels’ head coach before the start of the 2017 college football season. His five-year tenure with the Rebels was marked with a 39-25 record, four winning seasons — two of which ended with Ole Miss ranked in the top 25 — and two victories over Nick Saban’s Alabama team. But it ended in controversy, not only for the fact Freeze used a university-issued phone to call an escort service, but also because the program was accused of NCAA violations and deceiving recruits.
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Indeed, Freeze was dealing with accusations against his program several years before his eventual resignation. On Feb. 2, 2013, he tweeted out the following: “If you have facts about a violation, send it to @[email protected] If not, please do not slander these young men or insult their family (sic).”
The Ole Miss football Twitter account turned that quote back on Freeze in a since-deteleted tweet following the Rebels’ 27-14 victory on Saturday:
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Nothing like a little pettiness to go with a revenge game. If you’re wondering why Ole Miss would target its former coach, it’s because the NCAA concluded that Ole Miss under Freeze had cheated 15 times, breaking recruiting rules and allowing players who did not maintain the required academic standard to play. The resulting penalties included stripping the Rebels of 33 wins, retroactively giving Freeze a 12-25 record at Ole Miss. The team was also banned from postseason play for two years, suffered a loss of scholarships for four years and was placed on probation for three years.
The Rebels went 15-21 in three seasons under coach Matt Luke following Freeze’s resignation. They had no winning seasons; their best was a 6-6 outing in 2017. Lane Kiffin has nearly matched Luke’s win record in one-plus seasons, reaching a 12-7 record following Saturday’s victory.
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Ole Miss was largely dominant in the win, as quarterback Matt Corral completed 20 of 27 passes for 324 yards and a score; running back Jerrion Ealy Jr. had 10 carries for 115 yards and two touchdowns; and receivers Dennis Jackson (six receptions, 126 yards, one score) and John- Rhys Plumlee (seven catches, 110 yards) had standout days as well.
Moreover, the Rebels defense, which has not been a strength for this team, limited Flames quarterback Malik Willis to a 16-of-25 day through the air. He threw for only 173 yards and tossed three interceptions. Willis did rush 27 times for 71 yards and a score, while Shedro Louis rushed seven times for 101 yards and another touchdown. Joshua Mack also rushed 19 times for 98 yards in the loss.