Tulsa true freshman Earl Rollins’ upbringing has given way to success on the field

IRVING, Texas — Earlier this week, Regina Rollins took a moment to assess her son’s well-established upbringing.

TEXAS-SIZE SUPPORT --- For Henry and Regina Rollins, witnessing their son, Tulsa freshman defensive end Earl Rollins, savor his long-awaited dream of playing major college football is testament of the dedication and support they have steadfastly demonstrated since his days of playing in Dallas-area youth leagues. (Photo submitted by Regina Rollins)

TEXAS-SIZE SUPPORT — For Henry and Regina Rollins, witnessing their son, Tulsa freshman defensive end Earl Rollins, savor his long-awaited dream of playing major college football is testament of the dedication and support they have steadfastly demonstrated since his days of playing in Dallas-area youth leagues. (Photo submitted by Regina Rollins)

Given her in-depth relocation, it’s safe to assume she could go all day talking about Earl Rollins, a true freshman defensive end for the University of Tulsa football program.

As Regina Rollins tells it, Earl was brought up in a Christian-oriented environment that was comprised mostly of pastors and ministers. Having been raised in a two-parent home in which family prayer and attending church were customary trends, Regina and her husband, Henry Rollins, proved to be quite instrumental in their son’s continuous success as a football player.

How else to explain why Earl has managed to showcase his immense skills for a major Division 1 college football program?

A former MacArthur High standout, Earl has made his presence felt in this, his first full season of collegiate football for Tulsa (1-6, 1-2), which will be aiming to snap a six-game winless streak when it travels to play Memphis (4-3, 2-1) Friday night at 7 CST in a nationally-televised (ESPNU) American Athletic Conference game.

For Henry and Regina Rollins, witnessing their son savor his long-awaited dream of playing major college football is a testament of the dedication and support they have steadfastly demonstrated since his days of playing in Dallas-area youth leagues.

For starters, Henry Rollins spent years coaching his son during his days of playing competitive ball for the Irving Football Association. And, in Regina’s estimation, she served as the self-proclaimed “team mom” whenever her son suited up for games.

FRESHMAN SENSATION --- A former MacArthur High standout, Earl Rollins has made his presence felt in this, his first full season of collegiate football for Tulsa (1-6, 1-2), which will be aiming to snap a six-game winless streak when it travels to play Memphis (4-3, 2-1) Friday night at 7 CST in a nationally-televised (ESPNU) American Athletic Conference game. (Photo courtesy of University of Tulsa Athletics)

FRESHMAN SENSATION — A former MacArthur High standout, Earl Rollins has made his presence felt in this, his first full season of collegiate football for Tulsa (1-6, 1-2), which will be aiming to snap a six-game winless streak when it travels to play Memphis (4-3, 2-1) Friday night at 7 CST in a nationally-televised (ESPNU) American Athletic Conference game. (Photo courtesy of University of Tulsa Athletics)

“Earl was always off the growth chart as an infant,” Regina told MemphiSport.com. “He was always above average from his peers in school, not to mention when I was carrying him, the hits, turns, flips and kicks gave me a great discernment this is a football player. We knew he had the love for the game in Pee Wee, because he would always say to his dad he’s ready to tackle and why does he have to pull flags.”

Like his parents, there’s no doubt Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship and his staff have embraced how Earl Rollins has gone about finding his niche as a key contributor for the Golden Hurricanes’ defensive unit.

Through seven games, the 6-foot-3, 275-pound Earl Rollins has made two starts, while recording three tackles, two of which were solo tackles.

While Earl isn’t expected to start in Friday’s contest at Memphis, according to a team official, he is expected to see a significant amount of action against the upstart Tigers.

Still, with so much football ahead of him at the collegiate ranks, many would agree the sky’s the limit for a rugged, talented defender who, to his credit, has been nothing less than impressive for a rebuilding Tulsa team.

No one, it seems, knows that more than Henry and Regina Rollins.

“He’s awesome,” Henry Rollins said in assessing his son’s rise a football player. “He was Tulsa’s top recruit at the defensive tackle position. He worked very hard for this position. For him to be in his first year out of high school proves his ability athletic and academic eligibility.”

Said Regina Rollins: “He mentioned in his year book 2014 that he is blessed and not many have had this opportunity. The thing God is showing him through this experience with football and education is the foundation for growing him into a successful young man for whatever his future endeavor.”

A future that, given his rapid progress at the collegiate ranks, could very well land him in the NFL in the coming years.

All because of his well-established upbringing.

DrePicAndre Johnson, a 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NFL and the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, email him at andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

 

MSL’s Playing Hurt Podcast: Memphis Grizzlies Season Preview Edition

Memphis_Grizzlies_Old_wallpaper

Join MSL and HardBashin producer CJ Hurt and Sports 56 producer and WUMR Sports Desk host Drew Barrett as they take you on a sports odyssey full of twists, turns, and a good time during MSL‘s Playing Hurt Podcast.

MemphiSport Live

Week 10 TAM Rankings: Ole Miss Falls to LSU

msu_bulldog_nation_flag_53289smaThere were two undefeated TAM teams going into Saturday’s contests, and after the smoke settled there was only one.

After a heavily contested victory on the road against an improving Kentucky squad, Mississippi State is the only undefeated team in these rankings.

Ole Miss went into Tiger Stadium at night on a Saturday and played valiantly.  Unfortunately the Rebels just could not find a way to pull off the victory and fell to LSU.  Giving the Rebels their first loss of the season.  Even with that loss Ole Miss remains number two in the TAM Rankings.

Memphis came out firing on all cylinders against SMU, torching the Mustangs with 582 total yards and beating them by 38 points.

Arkansas got back to winning this week blasting lowly UAB.  More importantly the Razorbacks gave fans one of the greatest plays of the year.

Tennessee surrendered 20 first quarter points in route to a 14 point loss to Alabama, while Arkansas State fell to Louisiana Lafayette in a Tuesday night game.

MTSU rested this week to get ready for their matchup with BYU, and Southern Mississippi lost more than their game this week when starting quarterback Nick Mullens left the game with a foot injury.

With their loss to Missouri, Vanderbilt is one loss away from missing out on a bowl for the first time since 2010.

As always there are tons of great matchups featuring TAM teams.  Yet there can only be one TAM Game of the Week, and that distinction goes to Ole Miss versus Auburn.  The Rebels are coming off a heartbreaking loss, but have no time to sulk as a very talented Auburn team comes to town trying to keep their national title hopes alive.

We are a week closer to bowl season and the TAM teams are ready for a late season push towards bowl eligibility.

Without further ado, here are week ten’s TAM Rankings…

The Mid-South is full of fans with allegiances to different area college football programs. Which FBS program in the three states surrounding the Memphis area is the best? To help end some arguments and start others, every week MemphiSport ranks all the college football teams in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi. We call it the TAM Rankings.
1.  Mississippi_State_Bulldogs logoMississippi State (7-0):
Last Game: 
W 45-31 @ Commonwealth Stadium
Best Win: 
38-23 vs. Auburn @ Davis Wade Stadium
Worst Loss: N/A
Wins Against TAM Teams: 1 (Southern Miss)
Losses Against TAM Teams: N/A


2.  ole_miss logoOle Miss (7-1):
Last Game: 
L 10-7 vs. LSU @ Tiger Stadium 
Best Win: 
23-17 vs. Alabama @ Vaught-Hemmingway Stadium
Worst Loss: 10-7 vs. LSU @ Tiger Stadium
Wins Against TAM Teams: 3 (Memphis, Vanderbilt, Tennessee)
Losses Against TAM Teams: N/A


3.
  memphis-tigers logoMemphis (4-3):
Last Game:
 W 48-10 vs. SMU @ Gerald J. Ford Stadium
Best Win: 41-14 vs. Cincinnati @ Paul Brown Stadium 
Worst Loss: 28-24 vs. Houston @ Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
Wins Against TAM Teams: 1 (MTSU)
Losses Against TAM Teams: 1 (Ole Miss)


4.  Arkansas logoArkansas (4-4):
Last Game: 
W 45-17 vs. UAB @ Razorback Stadium
Best Win: 
49-28 vs. Texas Tech @ Jones AT&T Stadium
Worst Loss: L 35-28 (OT) vs. Texas A&M @ AT&T Stadium
Wins Against TAM Teams: N/A
Losses Against TAM Teams: N/A


5.   University-Tennessee-Logo-2Tennessee (3-5):
Last Game: 
L 34-20 vs. Alabama @ Neyland Stadium
Best Win: 38-7 vs. Utah State @ Neyland Stadium
Worst Loss: 34-10 vs. Oklahoma @ Memorial Stadium
Wins Against TAM Teams: 1 (Arkansas State)
Losses Against TAM Teams: N/A


6. MTSU LogoMTSU (5-3):
Last Game: 
W 34-22 vs. UAB @ Floyd Stadium
Best Win: 50-47 (3 OT) vs. Western Kentucky @ Floyd Stadium
Worst Loss: 36-17 vs. Memphis @ Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
Wins Against TAM Teams:
 1 (Southern Mississippi)
Losses Against TAM Teams: 1 (Memphis)


7. 
  Arkansas State Logo 2Arkansas State (4-3):
Last Game: L 55-40 vs LA Lafayette @ Cajun Field
Best Win: 21-14 vs Utah State (OT) @ Liberty Bank Stadium
Worst Loss: 55-40 vs LA Lafayette @ Cajun Field
Wins Against TAM Teams: N/A
Losses Against TAM Teams: 1 (Tennessee)


8.  Vandy LogoVanderbilt (2-7):
Last Game: 
L 24-14 vs. Missouri @ Memorial Stadium
Best Win: 34-31 vs. UMass @ Vanderbilt Stadium
Worst Loss: 
 41-3 vs. Ole Miss @ LP Field
Wins Against TAM Teams: N/A
Losses Against TAM Teams: 1 (Ole Miss)


9.  Southern Miss logo 2Southern Mississippi (3-5):
Last Game: 
L 31-20 vs. LA Tech @M.M. Roberts Stadium
Best Win: W 26-20 vs. Alcorn State @ M.M. Roberts Stadium
Worst Loss: 49-0 vs. Mississippi State @ Davis Wade Stadium
Wins Against TAM Teams: N/A
Losses Against TAM Teams: 2 (Mississippi State and MTSU)

 

SEE ALSO:


CJ Hurt covers college football for MemphiSport. Follow him 
@conradicalness for live tweets from games.

 

 

 

Top Five Indie Memphis Movies For Sports Fans

indie memphisThere are few annual events in Memphis bigger than the Indie Memphis Film Festival.  Serving as one of the best film festivals in the nation, Indie Memphis gives Memphians a chance to see some truly special films that they otherwise might not get the chance to see.

This year’s film selection has several outstanding movies with sports tie-ins, and below is a list of some of the best ones at this year’s Indie Memphis Film Festival.

1. American Cheerleader
Day: Sunday, November 2
Time: 2:45 pm
Location:  Playhouse on the Square
First up on our list is this spectacular documentary.  In American Cheerleader, two separate high school cheerleading teams are followed and filmed as they practice and get ready to compete for the illustrious National High School Cheerleading Championship.  For more, check out the trailer:

2. Happy Valley
Day:  Saturday, November 1
Time: 9:15 pm
Location:  Studio on the Square
We all remember the scandal that that shook Penn State football to its core.  The Jerry Sandusky scandal led to an unprecedented series of events, including a NCAA mandated four year bowl ban and major scholarship losses for one of the proudest college football programs in the nation.  Said scandal also forced Penn State officials to fire legendary head coach Joe Paterno amid a firestorm of controversy.  This film takes an in depth look at the events that led to Sandusky’s arrest.  A real must see for all college football fans everywhere. For more, check out the trailer:

3.  Glena
Day:  Saturday, November 1
Time: 6:30 pm
Location:  Circuit Playhouse
Glena is a sports documentary that will be shown at Indie Memphis that is truly like no other.  A woman who appears to have it all, Glena Avila decides to join the world of cage fighting with no background or training whatsoever.  She shocks opponent after opponent in the amateur ranks on her quest to live her dream and make to the professional ranks.  If you do not think this is going to be a great film, simply check out the preview below:

GLENA – Trailer Slamdance World Premiere from Allan Luebke on Vimeo.

Listen to Kevin Cerrito, Greg Akers, and Executive Director of Indie Memphis Eric Jambor discuss all of this years Indie Memphis Films

4.  Hoop Dreams
Day:  Sunday, November 2
Time: 5:00 pm
Location: Hattiloo Theatre
Every now and then the folks at Indie Memphis like to give Memphians a look at a film that is far from new, yet still holds relevance in our society today, and Hoop Dreams is that movie this year.  For those who may not know, this film came out 20 years ago and follows two young men from Chicago, Arthur Agee and William Gates, as they chase their dreams of becoming professional basketball players.  Both Agee and Gates will be in the house to commemorate the 20 year anniversary of this great film, and there will be a question and answer session following the film. Watch the trailer from 1989:

Click here to purchase your Indie Memphis tickets, weekend passes, or standby cards

5.  “They Live”
Day:  Friday, October 31
Time:  9:15 pm
Location:  Studio on the Square
One of John Carpenter’s earlier films, They Live follows a drifter who realizes that the ruling class is a bunch of aliens and that the Earth has in fact been invaded by these extraterrestrials.  The aliens are manipulating people, tricking humans into spending money, reproduce, and be satisfied with the monotony of everyday life.  Now you might be asking yourself where the sports element is in this film, after all aliens taking over the world does not exactly scream sports themed like the other movies.  The sports element for this film lies in the star of the movie.  Retired wrestler and WWE  Hall of Famer “Rowdy” Roddy Piper plays John Nada, a man on a quest to save the world. Watch the trailer:

WIN TIX: Like Memphis Sport on Facebook, follow @memphisport on Twitter and listen to MSL for your chance to win tickets to these Indie Memphis sports films as the festival approaches.

CJ Hurt covers a wide range of topics for MemphiSport. Follow him @conradicalness for live tweets from all sorts of events sports and otherwise.  You can also hear him every week on MSL’s Playing Hurt Podcast.

Q & A: NBA Reporter Andre Johnson catches up with Jr. Pro Sports director Jason Buford

EDITOR’S NOTE: Memphis loves Jason Buford. And Buford loves Memphis. So much, in fact, that three years ago, Buford founded Jr. Pro Sports, which enabled him to establish a close-knit relationship with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies through an organization called Junior Grizzlies. An organization that has flourished immensely throughout the Mid-South since its inception, Buford is devising ways to enhance his product on a national platform. Just recently, Buford spoke with MemphiSport NBA reporter Andre Johnson about his organization. Here’s a Q and A conversation.

JPSANDRE: You seem to really love basketball? Did you play in high school?
JASON: Yes I played basketball in junior high school at Havenview Jr. High School and played in high school at Hardin County High School in Savannah, Tennessee. My dad was a coach of Babe Ruth Dixie youth baseball for 16 years in Savannah, Tn. I’ve been around sports all my life. So, I love basketball but more than that I love being able to teach, mentor, and guide the kids in life lessons through athletics. My passion comes from the affects you have on increasing a child’s self-esteem, building their self-confidence or improving their talents.

ANDRE: What motivated you to start Jr. Pro Sports?
JASON: Jr. Pro Sports was started because my son was having a problem making his middle school team. I knew he was capable of playing because he played AAU against a lot of the best players in the city. I didn’t want my son to lose his passion for the game through the disappointment of rejection. So after creating the tournaments at my church, I decided to create a sports organization for kids like him who has the passion and ability but who are not making the team. It’s thousands of kids just like he was. It’s such a reward now to see kids that start in my organization move on to other organizations and becomes stars or make their middle school, high school, or college.

ANDRE: What is your organization’s mission?
JASON: The mission of Jr. Pro Sports is to create an organization that brings athletic programs to our children that inspires, develops, and encourage our kids in a positive, healthy, and uplifting environment. We aim to bring churches, schools, businesses, and government resources together to give our children more hope about their future. Mission- Jr. Pro Sports takes pride in seeing the vision of our clients’ and partners’ need in sports. Choosing the best direction to fulfill the purpose received with a combination of healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually athletic programs. JPS focus on producing results remarkably beneficial to all participants, partners, and parents.

Services-League, Tournament, Fundraising, and Clinic Development
-Managerial, Organizational, and Promotional Support
-Coach, Player, and Mentor Recruitment and Placement

ANDRE: When did you organize this organization? What are the age ranges?
JASON: I started Jr. Pro Sports in 2011 after talking with my family and praying for God’s direction in my life after losing my Job with the city. I had been working with kids of all ages at my home church Mt. Moriah East Baptist Church. Mt. Moriah East Church allowed me to operate the Jr. Grizzlies League my first year under their name. The demand and opportunities started opening new doors so I started Jr. Pro Sports. Dicks Sporting Goods, approved me for sponsorship the following year, this allowed me to bring business support to the children. Then my mom, sister, brother-in-law, girlfriend, church members, step out on faith with me to build this brand. I had felt such love and support. There is nothing like having your family believes in you and your dream. I felt like one of the kids in my league. My nephew was five years old and had a love for the game, so I started at that age and went to age 16. My son was 15 at the time so naturally I included that age group. So, I felt it was necessary to involve all ages.

ANDRE: On average, how many athletes do you generate annually?
JASON: I normally average between 60 to 125 kids annually that sign up under Jr. Pro Sports. Which comes out to five-to-12 teams under Jr. Pro Sports.Jason

ANDRE: What are the various activities involved?
JASON: We have numerous activities (sports and non-sports) that have been included in the Jr. Pro sports programs. We offer training camps, tournament development or promotion, league or sports program creation. We have worked with the University of Memphis on Ashley Furniture Bracketville tournament during the Tigers’ games. Our partnerships have helped us include school supply drives, coat drives, pictures, blood drives, blood pressure checks, and food drives. All kids that have participated have received pictures, knapsacks, T-shirts, Grizzlies tickets and trips to the FedExForum to watch the players up close. I am so blessed to have my organization impact, influence and inspire over a 1000 kids to love and most of all play basketball despite their talents or ability. A lot of children nowadays play basketball on video games. I pride this organization on opening the kids to the joys of healthy physical activities along with making them all feel like winners despite their physical talents, abilities, and differences.

ANDRE: When does your organization’s season start and end?
JASON: We have started our registration drive. We will begin a six-week training program for the kids. This gives us time to evaluate the kids and to also start getting them in shape and introducing them to the rules and fundamentals of basketball. We start having games in November on Saturdays. We play every Saturday except holiday weekends for 15 weeks. We usually end around the end February or beginning of March.

ANDRE: Does it offer a summer program?
JASON: In the summer, we do training for the kids to continue to develop. We also do tournaments in the summer. We have been in talks with Building Block Mentoring Program to institute mentoring and educational programs within the athletics. I normally do two tournaments in the summer. This year I assisted with Team Penny tournament and we also had the Dicks Sporting Goods Sponsored JPS invitational in June.

ANDRE: How is your league cost effective?
JASON: I try to make the activities we do affordable for the parents that participate. For example, most AAU programs have initial fee of about $200-$350 and up. Then you have to start factoring in tournament and travel cost. My Jr grizzlies fees totals about $300-$400 dollars over a 4 month period which include jersey, shorts, shoes, grizzlies tickets, game entry fees, pictures, knapsack, and banquet fees. We try to make this as affordable as possible so all kids no matter their economic resources can afford to support and watch their child. Being as though this is a developmental league and a lot of our parents and kids have never been involved in sports programming like this, they aren’t quite as knowledgeable about the cost, time, and commitment it takes to support their child athletics. So I like to believe that my league is both parent and player development.

ANDRE: How does Junior Pro Sports stand out above other organizations similar yours?
JASON: Jr. Pro Sports stands out is our ability and willingness to work with other organizations to create sporting events. We also standout because we Accept all kids, not just the star players. In our programs we focus on recruiting the non-talented. What makes Jr. Pro Sports unique and different is the passion and perseverance of putting on great athletic programs without having a definitive home base or home gym in which to work continuously all year round. It’s been numerous churches that allowed us use and access to the facilities, while including their kids in the activities. This is vital that we have the churches support. They have the resources to make the events a positive and impact community success. We have worked with Mt. Moriah East Baptist Church, Mississippi Blvd. Christian Church, New Bethel MB Church, Berean Baptist, Oak Grove Church, Holy Nations Church, and One Accord Ministries. All of these churches pride themselves on being a community cornerstone in their neighborhood.

ANDRE: Describe your relationship/partnership with the Memphis Grizzlies.
JASON: We have had a partnership with the memphis grizzlies organization for the past 4 years. We organize, operate, and manage a developmental basketball league under the Jr Grizzlies name. They provide us with jerseys and tickets. We provide them with a community event for the kids of Memphis. They have been completely supportive of Jr. Pro Sports efforts to give these kids the best professional basketball experience possible. We have had use the fed ex forum numerous times to have before game jamborees, mini tournaments, & exhibitions for my kids and others. When I started with them, I was the only black organization in Memphis to have a Jr. Grizzlies league. I’m proud to be there first to introduce this program to our inner-city youth. I started in OrangeMmound at my church. Now we have teams and kids from Whitehaven, Orange Mound, Cordova, Raleigh, East Memphis, and South Memphis involved.

ANDRE: Anything else you’d like Memphians to know about Jr. Pro Sports?
JASON: The future and goals of Jr. Pro Sports to get more high school students exposed to college recruiters and find a multiple court facility we call home to develop all our programs consistently. But most of all, Jr Pro Sports wants to continue to build our kids self esteem, confidence, talent, and character through our mentoring athletic programs.

DrePicAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send an email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

 

 

 

MSL Podcast: Grizzlies 2014-15 Season Preview Show

Donald+Faison_and_Vince+Carter_look_alike_celebrity_twins (1)

HOUR 1:

(Segment 1)  Marcus Hunter joins Kevin Cerrito live from the best football state in the world- Mississippi. The two recap the week’s biggest stories during the Starting 5.
(Segment 2) It’s KeVinsanity when The Memphis Flyer’s  Kevin Lipe stops by in studio to preview the 2014-15 Grizzlies season.
(Segment 3) Cerrito and Lipe discuss concerns about Vince Carter’s age and health.

 

MemphiSport Live

  HOUR 2:
(Segment 1)  Hang Up & Listen with the winner getting a $50 Standby Card to the 17th Annual Indie Memphis Film Festival Plus, Cerrito and Lipe make their 2014-15 Grizzlies season predications.
(Segment 2/3) Executive director of Indie Memphis Erik Jambor joins film expert Greg Akers and Kevin Cerrito in studio to preview the 2014 festival and to help cast new Grizzlies star Vince Carter in a movie.

 VIEW THE FULL SCHEDULE & BUY TIX TO INDIE MEMPHIS:  www.indiememphis.com

 

Click here for more MSL interviews.


MemphiSport Live

Kevin Cerrito hosts MemphiSport Live (MSL) with Marcus Hunter on Sports 56 & 87.7 FM every Saturday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. MSL was voted 3rd Best Sports Radio Show in the 2010, 2011 & 2012 Memphis Flyer Best of Memphis poll. 

Audio: MSL’s 2014 Indie Memphis Preview With Erik Jambor

Indie Memphis show

Executive director of Indie Memphis Erik Jambor joined film expert Greg Akers and Kevin Cerrito in studio on MSL to preview the 2014 festival and to help cast new Grizzlies star Vince Carter in a movie.

VIEW THE FULL SCHEDULE & BUY TIX TO INDIE MEMPHIS:  www.indiememphis.com

Click here for more MSL interviews.


MemphiSport Live

Kevin Cerrito hosts MemphiSport Live (MSL) with Marcus Hunter on Sports 56 & 87.7 FM every Saturday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. MSL was voted 3rd Best Sports Radio Show in the 2010, 2011 & 2012 Memphis Flyer Best of Memphis poll. 

Preview: LSU vs. Ole Miss

ole-miss-powder-blue-helmetsSo my previews and predictions for Ole Miss have been pretty good this year. You can’t deny that. I faltered a little bit with the Tennessee game prognostication but was only 10 total points off. Not too bad.

The Rebels did not falter at all with the Vols. Ole Miss held Tennessee to ZERO rushing yards, and save for an early field goal, absolutely decimated their offense. Once Ole Miss got their offense going, they never looked back, cruising to a convincing 34-3 victory. Check out some great highlights from the Ole Miss Sports Productions crew below.

But this week is a different kind of monster. The Ole Miss Rebels travel to take on LSU in Baton Rouge, at night no less. The Rebel/Tiger rivalry is one that is unpredictable, always interesting, and usually produces a pretty close game. This year should be no different. The contests from the past two years have both come down to the final minute, with the home team winning each time. Last year’s Rebel victory in Oxford was a huge upset ending with a field goal in the waning seconds to seal the deal.

Ole Miss will once again be featured in a College GameDay game, but this week, the focus will be on an LSU team that since losing to Mississippi State and Auburn, has made some improvements and defeated Florida and Kentucky. Even though the Rebels are ranked higher and are about a field goal favorite to win, the LSU team they are facing is probably a lot better than their record and ranking indicates. Les Miles is 43-3 at night in Tiger Stadium, a place that is beyond hostile for opposing teams. Since the game will be at night and LSU has looked a lot better in recent weeks, a lot of media are picking LSU to upset the Rebels this week.

Here are three factors that I think will determine the outcome of this heavyweight SEC West showdown.

1) Hugh Freeze’s Gameplan:

I think since the Rebels are rolling, there is some temptation for Freeze to try and slow things down, to not play as aggressively. It’s no secret that the Rebel defense is carrying the team and giving the offense plenty of cushion. But a team still has to score points to win a game. Coach Freeze needs to play to win at this point, not play to not to lose. Championship teams want to hit other teams in the mouth out of the gate. The Rebels need to do that this week by scoring early to take the crowd out of it and to put LSU on their heels, just like they did against A&M. If the Rebs can do that, they have a much better chance of winning.

2) A Defensive Battle:

Both Ole Miss and LSU have good offenses, but both teams’ bread and butter is defense. So who will come out on top in a  defensive slugfest? Ole Miss’ defense is more highly touted and in all reality more talented. But LSU will have the crowd helping them on defense. While Ole Miss is no stranger to big crowds, having just played at biggest SEC game of all time in College Station, the A&M defense was pretty mediocre compared to LSU. On the other hand, LSU’s offense is not as good as Ole Miss’, so that should give the Rebel D a good chance at shutting down LSU. If Ole Miss can stop Leonard Fournette and LSU’s strong run game, they should be in good shape. Just like last week against UT, if the Rebs eliminate the run, then the D-line will force Tiger QB Anthony Jennings into some bad decisions. I’ll take Ole Miss’ offense and defense over LSU’s, but the margins don’t favor the Rebs that much.

3) Can the Rebels win a close one on the road?

The Ole Miss/Alabama game was a thriller, down to the last play. But that was in Oxford. Every other game this season has been a blowout in favor of the Rebels. This game is not going to be a blowout. So will Bo Wallace be able to win a close game in Death Valley, arguably the most hostile environment in the country? I think the defense will do its job for Ole Miss. But I don’t think points are going to be easy to come by for the Rebels. That could easily frustrate Bo Wallace and lead him to force things. If he does force things and lets LSU take advantage, Ole Miss will have a mountain to overcome to pull out a win. Not to sound like everyone else when talking about Wallace, but if ever there were a moment for Good Bo to show up it’s this game. Without a solid showing from Wallace, I don’t think Ole Miss will win.

To say this game will be fun is an understatement. Nothing that happens on Saturday would surprise me. I think both teams are really good and both teams are capable of winning. This one all comes down to who wants it more. LSU has a lot to play for. They would love to spoil the Rebels’ fairytale season. But Ole Miss is still playing for a trip to Atlanta and potentially a trip to the College Football Playoff. The Rebels are locked in. Hugh Freeze understands the implications of this game on the season and this season on the program going forward. I predicted Ole Miss would win this game before the season, and I’m sticking with it. It’ll be close and ugly and nerve-wracking for both fan bases, but the Rebs will prevail.

Ole Miss 17 – LSU 13

Warner Russell covers Ole Miss Football for MemphiSport. Read his non-sports stuff over on The Wise Guise. Follow him on Twitter @uncle_warny.

Throwback Thursday: Vampire Warrior Gangrel returns to Memphis tonight

10511671_518883954914456_5502080124092945174_oTonight is a big night for wrestling fans, as Memphis Wildfire Wrestling returns to Minglewood Hall for their annual Halloween Spooktacular “Bumps in the Night”.  With Halloween just one week away, what could be a better main event than Jerry “The King” Lawler going one on one with The Vampire Warrior Gangrel?

The King has battled monsters such as Leatherface, Freddy & even a Christmas Creature.  But no monster has been as successful & done the damage that The Vampire Warrior has.  These two men have a long history, dating back to Gangrel’s Memphis Wrestling debut.

Let’s rewind back to July 10, 1993 inside WMC-TV5 Studios for USWA Wrestling.  A rare match-up between Brian Christopher and Jerry Lawler was interrupted by the man who will step inside the square circle against The King tonight at Minglewood Hall – Vampire Warrior Gangrel.

Also announced for the event:  Buff Bagwell vs “Grand Master Sexay” Brian ChristopherDustin Starr with Maria vs Hurricane Helms with weatherman Tim Van Horn & a special Halloween Costume Contest.  Along with the fantastic line-up, a special Meet & Greet is scheduled for 6PM.  Bell time is at 7PM.

Catch up on the latest videos featuring your favorites at Memphis Wildfire Wrestling!

VIDEO:  Tim Van Horn’s Weather Forecast to Dustin Starr & Maria

VIDEO:  Hurricane Helms on MSL

VIDEO:  Tim Van Horn calls in on MSL

VIDEO:  Dustin Starr & Maria join Local Memphis Live

VIDEO:  Kevin Lawler joins Good Morning Memphis

Dustin Starr is an active sports entertainer and regular contributor to MemphiSport and MSL. Follow him @DustinStarr.

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