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Sometimes that underdog will jump up and bite you
by Amanda Sexton Ferguson, Editor and Publisher
Oct 24, 2013 | 132 views | 0 0 comments | 158 158 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On September 27, 2008, I sat in my tiny TV room in Winona watching the Ole Miss Rebels take on Tim Tebow and the University of Florida Gators in the Swamp. As was our routine since I had moved from DeSoto County the year before, my sister, Stephanie, and I watched the game together over the telephone - well, we talked and commented on the game occasionally.

The Rebels were playing well that day, and I was happy to see that Florida, the number four team in the nation at the time, would not completely embarrass my poor Rebs. As the game went on, I was shocked to see that Ole Miss was holding its own, matching the Gators touchdown for touchdown. By the end of the fourth quarter, Ole Miss was ahead by a touchdown, but Florida was about to tie up the game.

Then the extra point was blocked giving Ole Miss a 31-30 lead, but there was plenty of time on the clock left after Ole Miss was forced to punt in the next series.

I remember telling my sister that Florida would definitely score on the next drive and win the game, but the Rebs had nothing to be ashamed of - they played their hearts out.

I muted the sound, and Stephanie and I continued our conversation. But something on the television screen caught my attention. The Ole Miss players were celebrating on the field.

"Uh, Steph, I think Ole Miss just beat Florida."

"Seriously?" she said.

"Yeah, I think they did."

You see, just the week before Ole Miss lost to an unranked Vanderbilt team, and in 2008, for the Rebels to defeat Tim Tebow's Gators in the Swamp was equivalent to Alabama losing a game in Tuscaloosa on Bear Bryant's birthday.

That year, the Rebels went on to go 9-4 and beat Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl. Florida would not lose another game that season and beat Oklahoma for the National Championship.

Fast forward to last Saturday night as my rabid MSU Bulldog husband and I watched the Rebels take on number six LSU, there was no muting the television to chit chat. Oh, I learned that lesson in 2008. After Ole Miss' defenders intercepted passes three times - huge snaps to Chief Brown of Winona! - and Ole Miss went into the half with a 17-0 lead, anything could happen.

So with three seconds left in the fourth quarter, Ole Miss kicker Andrew Ritter split the uprights for the win, and even Keith Ferguson uttered the words "Hotty Toddy"-- well he typed it on Facebook.

Now, I don't know what this Saturday has to bring when Ole Miss takes on Idaho, but I plan to cheer them on until the final tick of the game clock.

The point to this football tale? Never underestimate the Ole Miss Rebels or the Mississippi State Bulldogs or the Auburn Tigers or the Vanderbilt Commodores because teams in the Southeastern Conference love an upset.

Even if Ole Miss is the team you hate the most, I encourage you to watch former Winona Tiger Chief Brown in action. He is just as explosive for the Rebels as he was for the Tigers, and it makes me proud to cheer one of our own.

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