Houston Nutt is in his first season at Ole Miss and in his 16th season overall with a record of 119-74 (.616). Kent Austin serves as the offensive coordinator and the defensive coordinator is Tyrone Nix.
Mike Leach is in his ninth season at Texas Tech and overall with a record of 76-38 (.667). The Red Raiders' offensive coordinator is Leach and Ruffin McNeill serves as the defensive coordinator.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN OLE MISS HAS THE BALL
All-American Michael Oher leads a Rebel line that is No. 4 in the SEC in fewest sacks allowed with 16 and has helped Ole Miss rank No. 3 in rushing offense at 183.4 yards per game. His 46 starts is third in the SEC among active players. Jevan Snead ranks second in the SEC in TD passes (23) and third in both passing average (205.8 ypg) and and pass efficiency (142.7). Led by junior RB Cordera Eason, the Ole Miss running game has risen to third in the SEC and 31st in the nation at 183.4 yards per game. With Shay Hodge, Mike Wallace and Dexter McCluster, Ole Miss has arguably the best trio of wide receivers in the SEC. The Rebels are the only team in the conference with three players averaging more than 45 receiving yards per game. Each wideout has over 35 receptions and 540 yards.
Brian Duncan leads the team with 89 tackles on the season, including 59 solo. He also has two interceptions and two TLFs on the year. Brandon Williams and Dixon McKinner create chaos for the offense, as Williams provides 11 sacks and 12.5 TFLs on the season with McKinner producing eight sacks and 10 TFLs this season. Darcel McBath leads the Texas Tech defense with six interceptions, while also being second on the squad with 70 tackles. Daniel Charbonnet adds five interceptions.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN TEXAS TECH HAS THE BALL
Led by senior DT Peria Jerry, Ole Miss ranks No. 1 in the nation in tackles for loss with 8.92 per game. The Rebels also lead the SEC and are fifth in the NCAA in sacks with 3.08 per game. Jerry is the SEC leader in TFLs and ranks ninth in the NCAA with 17.0 and has 12.5 TFLs in his last six games. With his team-high 8.5 sacks, junior DE Greg Hardy's average of 1.06 sacks per game would rank third in the nation and first in the SEC had he played in the minimum 75 percent of games necessary for consideration. Jamarca Sanford has recorded double-figure tackles thrice this year and 10 times in his career. He leads the team and is tied for 13th in the SEC in tackles (80). Kendrick Lewis ranks 15th in the SEC in total tackles (78) and is tied for sixth in the league in interceptions (4).
Graham Harrell has thrown for 4,747 yards and 41 touchdowns this season and is the NCAA active leader in career touchdown passes (130) and touchdowns responsible for (142). Harrell leads the nation in passing and has NCAA records in career 300-yard passing games (32) and 400-yard passing games (20). Michael Crabtree has 93 receptions for 1,135 yards and 18 touchdowns this season. He set the school career receiving yardage record in the final regular season game last weekend and has 3,097 for his career. The offensive line allowed only 11 sacks on the season in 604 pass attempts and the led the country with only one sack allowed per every 55 pass attempts. Rylan Reed allowed only one sack in over 500 passing attempts by Harrell. Sophomore RB Baron Batch leads the Red Raider rushing attack with 61.8 ypg, while averaging 6.7 ypc.
Joshua Shene has now converted 68 straight PATs, which is the second-longest streak in school history. He ranks first in the SEC in field goal percentage (16-of-19, 84.2) and tied for first in PATs (46-for-46, 1.000). He is a perfect 14-of-14 on field goals of inside 40 yards. Wallace ranks third in the SEC in average at 24.8 yards per kickoff return, and he has posted three of the top-11 single-game totals in school history, including the best ever. Rob Park has notched six punts of 50-plus yards. his season, the Rebels jumped in net punting from 93rd nationally last year to 35th and from 107th in punt return coverage to 34th.
Matt Williams made his Red Raider debut at Kansas and kicked nine extra points and that earned him AT&T All-America Player of the Week honors. Williams, who earlier in the season was just a regular student at Texas Tech, quickly found himself on the team after winning a halftime promotion at the UMass game. Williams made a 30-yard field goal that drew the attention of head coach Mike Leach, who quickly found a spot for him on the team. After receiving word from the NCAA that he was eligible, he was named the starter four weeks ago in the extra point and short field goal role. Williams has 35 points in five games.
Record: Tied, 2-2 • Last: TT, 49-45 (2003 at Oxford)
Houston Nutt becomes just the fifth Ole Miss head coach to guide the Rebels to a bowl in his first season at the helm... With an 8-4 regular-season record and a 5-3 mark in the SEC, Nutt revived a Rebel squad that was coming off four straight losing seasons and a 3-8 campaign with no conference wins in 2007... It marked the team's best improvement from one season to the next since legendary Ole Miss Coach John Vaught's debut in 1947...Projected to place fifth in the SEC Western Division in the preseason, the Rebels finished second in the West, knocked off the last two national champions on the road in No. 4 Florida and No. 18 LSU and ended the year on a five-game win streak...The Rebels' last bowl bid came five years ago and ironically in the Cotton Bowl, in a 31-28 victory over Oklahoma State... Ole Miss will be appearing in its fourth Cotton Bowl Classic, posting a 2-1 record... The Rebels defeated TCU 14-13 in the 1956 game and dropped a 12-7 decision to Texas in 1962...Ole Miss is 6-1 in its last seven bowl games dating back to a 13-0 win over Air Force in the 1992 Liberty Bowl.