OXFORD, Miss. — For a school with an enrollment of only 18,000 students, Ole Miss boasts a proud and rich football tradition.
At Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, where lathered Ole Miss fans still chant “Hotty Toddy,” banners celebrate the school’s three national championships (each won before 1962) and six SEC titles (each won before 1963).
In a town in which many locals say author William Faulkner’s presence can still be felt at the Oxford Square, it seemed as if Ole Miss football also stood still for too long.
The Rebels’ most recent era of national prominence came nearly four decades ago, when quarterback Archie Manning — the school’s most famous son — was a two-time All-American and led his team to a Sugar Bowl victory during his junior season in 1969.