Rebels finish season with top-10 ranking in major polls

Published 11:59 am Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Ole Miss came in at No. 9 in the season’s final Amway Coaches Poll and No. 10 in the Associated Press top 25 released Tuesday.

The final polls came out hours after Alabama’s win over Clemson in the national championship game Monday night. It’s the highest final ranking for the Rebels (10-3) since they were ranked eighth by the AP at the end of the 1969 season.

Ole Miss beat Oklahoma State in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 to cap its first 10-win season since 2003. The Rebels went 6-2 in Southeastern Conference play to finish second in the SEC Western Division, the highest finish for Ole Miss in Hugh Freeze’s four years at the helm.

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The Rebels won five of their last six games after losses to Florida and Memphis in October and won five games against ranked opponents, a single-season school record. Ole Miss went 3-1 against teams that finished in the top 25.

Behind first-year quarterback Chad Kelly, Ole Miss led the SEC in scoring offense (40.8 points per game), total offense (517.8 yards) and passing offense (334.7). Kelly accumulated 4,542 yards of offense and accounted for a school-record 41 touchdowns.

Kelly will be back for his senior season, but the Rebels are losing wideout Laquon Treadwell, offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil and defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche to the NFL Draft. Other losses include Jaylen Walton, Cody Core, Mike Hilton, Trae Elston, C.J. Johnson and Denzel Nkemdiche as well as offensive linemen Justin Bell, Ben Still, Aaron Morris and Fahn Cooper.

Ole Miss will open the 2016 season against Florida State on Sept. 5 in Orlando, Fla.