All posts by Acey Roberts

Acey is from the Jackson, MS area with an engineering degree from Ole Miss (the oldest engineering program in “Our State”), but doesn’t let his day job prevent him from displaying his passion for Ole Miss and SEC sports. While waiting for the day Ole Miss Football returns to glory, he objectively comments on the current news of the day. Acey is one of the founders of MakeItRainSports, contributing articles at Bleacher Reports and Fansided as well as Co-Hosts the MakeItRainSports and The Season Ticket radio shows on the VsportoNetwork. Loves BBQ and female fitness instructors; Hates commas and LSU. Follow on twitter @Aceyrob
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OleHottyToddy: Thanks To The 2014 Ole Miss Baseball Seniors

OleMissSports’ video group RebelVision.com has released an epic hour and a half video recap of the Ole Miss baseball post-season which is without question the best season in the school’s history.  Watch the full video here –> OLEMISS THE SEASON: OMAHA BOUND

Lets take a look at the accomplishments from this year’s senior class and remember them fondly.  HOTTY TODDY!

(Read the original article at OleHottyToddy.com)

Will Allen

Senior catcher from Gainsville, Florida had a break-out season and became a national star in the College World Series. Besides his good hair and his rugged beard stubble, he was a pretty good baseball player too.

Allen finished with the best batting average on the team at .339 among starters. He was also first in doubles (24), second in hits (94) and second in home runs (7).

He started every game this year either at catcher or DH and most importantly was a team leader that should be remembered for this stirring dugout speech in the Oxford regional that helped beat Washington and his sensational tag out at the plate in Lafayette that allowed Ole Miss to finally get to Omaha.

Austin Anderson

The senior utility infielder from Sorrento, Florida settled at third base this year and became a rock solid defender late in the year.

At the plate he finished third overall in batting average (.323), second in runs scored (57) and third in hits (87).

John Gatlin

John started out at Itawamba Community College and is originally from the Tupelo area. John has battled through a lot of injuries to help this team win in Omaha. His pinch hit looper over a drawn in Texas Tech infield will make him a Rebel Hero and will get him a lot of free drinks from now on in Oxford.

In 2013, he tore a ligament in his left shoulder diving for a ball then broke his foot… then he broke his foot again during rehab.

Finally towards the end of this year, he was able to start making a move back in the batting lineup. He had 29 at bats this year and only had three hits total.

Aaron Greenwood        

The 6’-4” senior right hander from Lewisburg, MS appeared in 22 games this year as a relief pitcher, recording a 3-2 record with 5 saves, including a save in the Oxford regional over Washington, an elimination game win in Lafayette in the Super Regional and another save over TCU in Omaha.

Greenwood holds a 2.03 earned run average in 44.1 innings pitched. Opponents hit only .193 against him.

A cartilage tear in his abdomen earlier this year almost prevented his post season heroics. He missed a few weeks at the end of the season but when he got a chance to be on the mound again, he made the most of it.

Aaron Greenwood put this team on his back this year.

Jeremy Massie

Massie was instrumental this year in mid week and weekend relief. The left hander from Sardis, MS transferred to Ole Miss in 2013 from NorthWest CC.

He appeared in 21 games this year, starting nine and finished with a 4-3 record. He was third on the team in total innings pitched (63.2) and finished with a 2.69 earned run average.

Preston Overbey

Senior Preston Overbey has been the consummate utility player during his time as a Rebel. He has been a player without a home, playing catcher, outfield, third base, first, and finally settled at second base this year with the addition of Errol Robinson at short which moved Austin Anderson to third.

The 6’-4” Jackson, Tennessee native did not completely break out at the plate this year, finishing with a .271 average but his contributions in post season, when the team needed a leader, set his senior season apart. Also the spectacular double plays he was a part of with Errol Robinson should not be forgotten either.

Preston’s shining moment this year was in game two of the Lafayette Super Regional.

With the game tied 1 to 1 in the seventh inning and the Rebels absolutely needing some offense, Preston stepped up and pounded a 1-2 pitch to left field. While it was only his fourth home run of the season it saved the season for the Rebels and continued their path to Omaha.

Overbey like a lot of seniors on this team has gone from a largely unknown player to one who was sought out by autograph seekers in Omaha.

When the team bus pulled up at Omaha, the team was swamped at their hotel by Ole Miss fans. “It’s always enjoyable. I love every minute of it. It makes you feel important, but at the same time you have to know how to handle it,” Overbey says.

“We walk down the street and people say ‘Hotty Toddy!’ to us. It seemed like the whole city of Omaha was pulling for Ole Miss.”

This team was not expected to make this much noise but thanks to this group of Seniors, Mike Bianco has deemed this team as , “The best team to ever play at Ole Miss.”

via @PetrePhotog

Rebels Advance in Omaha over Texas Tech

Sometimes you’re the hammer and sometimes you’re nail.

(Read original article at OleHottyToddy.com)

The Rebels stay alive in the Omaha College World Series, eliminating Texas Tech 2-1 with bottom of the ninth heroics. Fifth-year senior John Gatlin comes off the bench and delivers the improbable clutch hit over six infielders awaiting a bunt that never came.

As the game unfolded, Tech chose to start a freshman Ryan Moseley who only had four starts on the season. It appeared Tech was content on pitching the pen against Ole Miss and holding their Saturday starter Dylan Dusek for a potential Thursday game.

There will be no Thursday game for the Red Raiders and Tech coach Tim Tadlock will have to think all off-season if Dusek would have made a difference.

Ole Miss head baseball coach Mike Bianco chose to throw his Saturday starter even though on paper this looked to be a matchup very much in Ole Miss’ favor. Of course we don’t play baseball games on paper and this turned into a pitcher’s dual that Ole Miss was fortunate to ‘eek out.

Bianco may be the most criticized coach in America; certainly, among the coaches still playing in Omaha. Every decision Bianco makes (or doesn’t make) is endlessly discussed and questioned among fans and rivals of the program.

While there are many reasons why this seems to be the case, one thing you have to realize as a fan is that coaches don’t have near the control that we, as fans, wish they had on the field.

It would be great if you could play “Money Ball,” play the percentages and your best hitters hit RBI’s and your best pitches get strikeouts.

But that is not always the case.

This week in Omaha, Bianco has had to get real creative. He has had to make some hard decisions, where maybe there was not a good decision.

Certainly, the loss to Virginia was a tough one and many felt like coaches’ choice to pitch to Virginia’s best hitter cost them the game.

Today, Bianco again made another questionable decision pinch hitting for JB Woodman with Colby Bortles and pulling Will Jamison for fifth-year senior John Gatlin, who was batting a cool .103 on the season.

The Colby Bortles call was a no-brainer, a freshman who has been on a tear over the last month as a pinch hitter, but the John Gatlin call; a right hander against a bullpen right hander Dominic Moreno was a shot in the dark honestly.

So many things happen in a game.

If Tech pitcher Cameron Smith doesn’t double pump to second base, Bortles would have been the first of an inning ending double play and Bianco wouldn’t have to make a decision at all.

As a manager, you can’t control everything. In my honest opinion you have to put your best guys out there (the best you have at the moment) and let the kids play.

That’s what this game is about. It’s about the players and putting them in the best position to be successful.

Thankfully for Bianco, he has guys like Holt Perdzock (who scored the first run of the game for OM at a pinch hitter) and Bortles and Gatlin just sitting around waiting for their turn to contribute. It’s not always about the obvious stars in the lineup. This team can and has won in the most unorthodox ways.

It may look like luck but it’s about getting pressure on the other team and letting the players decide who will win the game, and in most cases this year, Ole Miss has had the better players.

Bianco in postgame:

“Really proud of the way the guys responded. I’m really proud of their toughness and being able to respond when things don’t go their way. The guys were really composed going into the bottom of the ninth.”

On John Gatlin’s hit: “I like to see guys like Gatlin, that are great representatives of the University have success. Good things happen to good people.”

On starting pitcher Christian Trent who left after 7 innings with a 1-0 lead:  “Trent has always been so good in our swing game (Saturday). He is still undefeated, and really hasn’t had a bad outing. Even when he hasn’t had his best stuff he doesn’t get beat. There is not a better Saturday pitcher in America than Trent.”

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Maroon Mag: Lewis – Wilson, Could Be SEC’s Best WR Combo in 2014

Originally posted at Maroon Magazine.com – June 9, 2014 – Jake Wimberly

The football website, Saturdaydownsouth.com is going through a series ranking players, units and more for the 2014 college football season and today they are talking about wide receiver combos in the SEC.

They list five very good combos for this upcoming football season and coming in at number three is Mississippi State’s Jameon Lewis and De’Runnya Wilson.

Here is what they had to say about the maroon duo.

Jameon Lewis and De’Runnya Wilson, Mississippi State
2013 combined stats: 90 catches for 1,274 yards and 8 TDs
The Skinny: Production! That’s what these two receivers will create for MSU’s offense and QB Dak Prescott.

I love Jameon Lewis’ game, and he scored touchdowns three different ways last season: passing, rushing and catching. Lewis caught a team-high 64 passes for 923 yards and five touchdowns, going off in the Liberty Bowl with nine catches for 220 yards. De’Runnya Wilson could be one of the biggest risers this season.

Just a freshman last year, Wilson caught 26 passes for 351 yards and three touchdowns, and he’s ready to have a huge breakout season.

The entire top five wide receiver duos can be seen by clicking here.  There is no doubt that these two are crucial to the Bulldogs success in 2014.

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Ole Hotty Toddy: Eggbowl 2000 Rivalry Rewind

deuce 2000The year 2000 could have been a really special year for the Rebels.  The team seemed to lack a little magic this year.  In previous years there was more excitement from this team, but this year, Ole Miss was more of the hunted team rather than the hunter. They had beaten Auburn and LSU in 1999 on the road, Deuce and Joe Gunn both were over 900 yards and 2000 looked to be THE year.

(View the original article at OleHottyToddy.com) 

Deuce started out as a Heisman hopeful and the team started out ranked in the top 20 but the senior back was just too banged up. He dislocated his shoulder against Vanderbilt in game three, pulled his hamstring late in the year and he lost his brother just a week before this dreary Oxford Egg Bowl.

The weather was true to Egg Bowl form, just above freezing and raining. But the fan bases of both teams really turned out this year. MSU had won the last two games and this was a chance for them to win three in a row for the first time since FDR was in office. Ole Miss fans felt like the 1999 Egg Bowl was a fluke, that was the miraculous tipped and kicked pass for an interception game.  The bulldogs had to score 17 points in the last 13 minutes to win that one. 1998 was the year Romaro missed the game due to injury, so we felt like some redemption was way past due in Oxford.

I went to the game and suffered through the freezing rain, but the best part about doing these rewind articles is going back and watching the TV coverage. This was a great ESPN thanksgiving night game with the three amigo’s Kirk Herbstreit, Mike Tireco and Lee Corso.

They start the broadcast with turkey legs in hand and Herbstreit kicks off the discussion by stating, “This rivalry may involve more ESPNGamedayCrewtrue hatred than Florida – Florida State.” I think I can agree with that. We may never get the hate level of a Harvey Updyke in this state (one can hope) but we surely take our football more seriously than a bunch of tank top wearing, parrot heads.

This game had a lot of memorable players on the field. Ole Miss had Deuce and Romaro of course, Ken Lucas, Terrance Metcalf, Charles Stackhouse, Derrick Burgess, Grant Heard and Doug Ziegler. MSU countered with Fred Smoot, Mario Haggan, Donte Walker, Kevin Fant, and Scott Westerfield. Porkchop Womack and Pig Prather were injured and did not play in this game, also Wayne Madkin started the game but was back in the locker room after two possessions due to complications with the flu he had been battling all week.

Even with all the injuries on the MSU side they started the game on fire with the running game.  This was a very strong running team. Dicenzo Miller and Dontae Walker both combined for 1800 yards at the end of the year. This MSU team had a chance to win the SEC West after a 29-7 win over Alabama in Starkville. The week before this game they had a big let-down against Arkansas. Surely the hangover from the Alabama win contributed to a lackluster 17-10 loss to the Hogs. A team they were certainly capable of beating.

MSU looked like they were going to take out their frustrations on Ole Miss by scoring three times in the first sherrillfour possessions and put Ole Miss in a 16-0 hole. On Ole Miss’ first chance in the second quarter they got the ground game going by leaning on Deuce and Joe Gunn, eventually softening up the secondary enough to get Grant Heard open for a touchdown which also tied him for most receptions for an Ole Miss wide receiver at 140 which he would break soon enough.

Kevin Fant took over for Wayne Madkin and had only played a few games prior to this matchup, and his inexperience was beginning to show. The Ole Miss defensive pressure and the rainy conditions made it hard for Fant to hold on to the ball and he began to bobble handoffs and rush passes.

Ole Miss defensive ends upped the pressure as Shane Elam had a big sack to give Ole Miss the ball back. Romaro got out of the pocket for a 50 yard run right up the middle to the one yard line where Duece bounced over the line giving the Reb’s new life only down 16-14.

Derrick Burgess got in on the action on MSU’s next possession and intercepted a Fant pass allowing Romaro and Grant Heard to link up on a slant and put the home team up 21-16 at the half. This was the first time MSU found themselves trailing a game at halftime this year and if Fant was concerned about the rain it only got worse while they were in the locker room.

The rain didn’t bother Deuce however as on his first carry after the intermission he took it to the house on a 72 yards score from the line of scrimmage. This was the longest rush given up all year by MSU, by 26 yards; 28-16 Ole Miss. deuce_eggbowl_00

If you knew Jackie Sherrill, you knew he wasn’t going to let the emotion sweep his team away. As Ole Miss starts to party in the stands and on the sidelines, he goes back to work to find something his team can do without the senior Wayne Madkin passing option. Sherrill was quoted by the ESPN crew after halftime:

“We will play it one play at a time, don’t get too emotional, we are concerned with injuries. Offense has done a good job, but we are down to some walk-on d-lineman. We can’t get pressure on the QB, having a hard time.”

MSU’s Kendall Roberson intercepts a pass to get his team back in the game which resulted in a nice scramble by Kevin Fant and a Donte Walker score. On the next possession Fred Smoot breaks up a long pass to Grant Heard and Donte answers Deuce’s run with a 73 yard run of his own to take back the lead and momentum for the Bulldogs 30-28.

On the next Ole Miss drive, MSU gets called for pass interference to set up the Rebels for one of the best plays in Ole Miss history, a halfback pass from Deuce to Romaro which puts Ole Miss up for good 35-30 just before the fourth quarter. romaro 2000

Romaro stated on the MakeItRainSports show that, “Looking back, I wish I had gotten out of the pocket more during my college career, but i had to do it against those Bulldogs!”

Kevin Fant and the MSU team begins to self-destruct.  As the most penalized team in the SEC, they looked frustrated and this probably cost them the game. At least one score was called back on a holding call, a couple of drives were killed due to off sides penalties and incompletions.

The game was iced when MSU punter Prentiss Cole fumbled a high snap at his own 8 yard line which resulted in the signature Deuce McAllister high jump over the line into the endzone. It seemed he got higher over the line every time he pulled that move. The Rebels finished the game with another field goal and back to back sacks on Kevin Fant on the last drive to win the highest scoring egg bowl to date 45-30.

The ESPN crew awarded one Pecan pie to Romaro Miller, from Corso, and Herbstreit gave half of his apple pie to Deuce and the othercutcliffe-ole-lg half to Coach Cutcliffe.

McAllister finished the game with all-time Ole Miss records in carries (612), rushing yards (3,050), all-purpose yards (4,879), touchdowns (37) and total touchdowns (42). I’m sure it was great to get the win over the Dogs in 2000, but Deuce had to be hurting over the loss of his brother to a spinal cord disorder and related respiratory ailments. Demetrius McAllister was only 23 and the two brothers were very close.

When asked about playing and dealing with the grief of losing his brother, Deuce was quoted by the Associated Press:

“Football becomes so much smaller. You realize that it’s just a game. Just be thankful that you are able to just go out there each day. The two two’s (referring to his jersey number 22) is one for me and one for Demetrius. I think I played to the standards that he would have wanted me to.”

Both teams went on to memorable bowl games as MSU went out to Shreveport and played in rare blizzard conditions against Texas A&M in the Independence Bowl (now known as the Snow Bowl). Ole Miss got ran out of the building at the Music City Bowl against West Virginia allowing young Eli Manning to enter the game and almost pulled out the win. He didn’t have enough time but after scoring three touchdown passes in six and a half minutes, he gave a glimpse of his future in Oxford.

msu stadium

Bulldogs Flexing Muscles on Football Recruiting Trail

Mississippi State has opened some eyes this year thus far on the recruiting trail as the Bulldogs have hovered at, or around the top fifteen in the country – depending on the outlet.

The Bulldogs continued that momentum this week, garnering a 2016 commitment and three more to their 2015 class.

(Originally posted at Maroon Magazine.com)

Defensive lineman Briston Guidry was the first to commit.  The 4-star defensive lineman out of Metairie, LA is a 2016 commit and chose the Bulldogs over Louisville, Mississippi, Tennessee and others.

At 6-2 and 265 lbs – he will add depth and athleticism to an already deep defensive line.  Defensive linemen are come at a premium so it’s never to early to start recruiting these guys.

Coming into this week the 2015 class had thirteen commits but pushed that number to sixteen yesterday.

The first to commit to the Bulldogs was 3-star corner Maurice Smitherman.  Smitherman is from Adamsville, AL and chose the Bulldogs over Arkansas, Clemson, Baylor and others.

He tells 247sports.com’s Paul Jones it was the right choice for him to be a Bulldogs.

“It’s just a great family at Mississippi State and I couldn’t pass up that opportunity,” said Smitherman. “I could not turn down the chance to play for that great defense and to play for (MSU cornerbacks) Coach Deshea Townsend. I called Coach Townsend and told him I had great news for him and he said it was great news to hear.”

He is rated the 29th best corner prospect in the country.

Joining Smitherman in the class of 2015 is quarterback Nick Tiano.  Tiano is the second quarterback committed to the Bulldogs for this class and one the Bulldogs had high on their board.

Tiano, who is another 6-5, 230 lb guy for Mullen, chose the Bulldogs over Miami and Chattanooga.

Finally, the Bulldogs got a commitment from defensive lineman Kendell Jones.  Jones, who is 6-4, 240 lbs chose the Bulldogs over Cincinnati, Louisville, Memphis and others.

Jones says he wanted to commit now and get the process over with.  “I just didn’t want to wait until The Opening,” said the 6-foot-4 and 245-pound Jones. “I wanted to commit now. I just love it there and every time I go to Mississippi State it feels like home and the coaches show me a lot of love. Coach (Geoff) Collins told me again yesterday he wanted be to be a Dawg. So I just decided to go ahead and do it tonight.”

With 16-commitments now on board, the Bulldogs have the 8th-best recruiting class in the country per 247sports.com.

These commitments are nonbinding – National Signing Day is Wednesday February 4, 2015