By Robert Wilson
VICKSBURG ST. AL ALUMNUS BROWN IS MOST EXPERIENCED REBEL
Ole Miss center Ben Brown, from St. Aloysius High in Vicksburg, is the most experienced Rebel entering Saturday’s Egg Bowl against Mississippi State in Oxford (3 p.m. on SEC Network).
The 6-foot-5, 315-pound junior is scheduled to make his 32nd consecutive start for 3-4 Ole Miss Saturday, the most of any Ole Miss player on the roster. Brown will start at center, a position he took over when last year’s starter, Eli Johnson, opted out prior to the start of the season. Brown started at right guard as a freshman, guard and center as a sophomore last season and moved full time to center this season.
“There’s definitely things I can work on, but I’ve enjoyed helping to push the tempo when I can, getting my guys lined up, making the correct call and getting it rolling,” Brown said earlier this week. “There’s definitely more responsibility with center, leadership wise, just making sure everyone is on the right assignment and on the right man at all times. It’s definitely more pressure than at guard.”
Brown is an important reason why Ole Miss’ offense is one of the best in the country and one of the most productive of any offense in school history. The Rebels rank No. 4 in the nation and No. 1 in the SEC with 564.9 yards per game. They have gained more than 500 yards three times and scored at least 50 points three times, including the last two games in wins over Vanderbilt (54-21) and South Carolina (59-42). And Ole Miss scored 48 in a loss to No. 1 Alabama.
“It’s been a whole lot of fun,” Brown said. “It’s been a really exciting year. I think everyone is locked in. I think everyone is having fun out there just playing football, scoring a lot of points, making a lot of yards and firstdowns. I think that excitement really brings us confidence and some kind of juice. We know that we can score, and we know that we can put up yards, and that’s what we do.”
Now, Brown will try to win his first Egg Bowl.
“We always say treat every game like the next one,” Brown said. “Attack every game the same. But obviously, the Egg Bowl is different. I’ve had a head coach get hired and a head coach get fired from this game. There’s a lot that’s always on the line. It’s a big deal, the Egg Bowl, and we’re going to attack it like it’s a big deal.”
Brown’s family has been a part of Ole Miss football for a long time. His father, Tim Brown, played for Ole Miss (1988-89) and his grandfather Allen Brown was a first-team All-American (1962-64). Also his maternal grandfather, Bobby Robinson (1962-64), uncle Burkes Brown (1991-92), great uncle Jerry Brown (1959-61) and his father’s cousin, Alton Brown (1971-72) played for the Rebels.
MSU’S ROGERS SETS PASSING RECORDS
Mississippi State true freshman quarterback Will Rogers, the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Football Player of the Year last year from Brandon High, broke Dak Prescott’s completion percentage record for a game in his second career start last week against then No. 13 Georgia.
Rogers completed 78.8 percent of his passes (41 of 52), breaking Prescott’s mark of 76.6 percent (20 of 26) set in 2014, for a minimum of 25 passes in a game. Rogers had set the school record for completion percentage with a minimum of 15 passes earlier this season when he completed 83.3 percent (15 of 18), breaking John Bond’s mark of 81.2 percent (13 of 16) in 1982. Rogers completed his first seven passes, four short of the school record for most consecutive completions in a game, set by Garrett Shrader last season and Dave Marler in 1978.
Also, Rogers has not thrown an interception in the past two games, 98 attempts, and has now thrown 106 passes without an interception, going back to the fourth quarter of the Alabama game. Prescott has the school record with 238 passes without an interception in 2015. Rogers tied Prescott’s school record of 52 passes in a game without interception against Georgia. Prescott set the record against LSU in 2015.
Rogers, who is the seventh true freshman to start at quarterback at MSU since true freshmen were allowed to play in 1972, passed for 226 yards against Vanderbilt, the most passing yards by a true freshman in his first start in school history. Rogers was also only the second true freshman to throw a touchdown pass in his first start (Todd Jordan did in 1989). Rogers’ 336 passing yards is the second most by a freshman in school history (Wesley Carroll threw for 421 in 2007).
Rogers’ 41 completions against Georgia is the second most in school history. C.J. Costello completed 43 against Arkansas earlier this season.
Rogers has completed 73.8 percent of his passes (124 of 168), which is on pace to break Prescott’s school record of 66.2 percent in a season, set in 2015. Rogers ranks third in the SEC (behind Alabama’s Mac Jones’ 77.1 and Ole Miss’ Matt Corral’s 73.9) and seventh in the country.
MADISON CENTRAL ALUM SPENCER TO TRANSFER FROM MISSOURI TO JSU
Madison Central alumnus and Missouri true freshman left guard Dylan Spencer announced on his twitter (@bigspencer73) Thursday that he is transferring to Jackson State and first-year JSU coach and NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders. The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Spencer, a member of the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard All Metro Jackson Football Team last season, made his debut against Kentucky and made his first start against Florida.
Spencer is the second Metro Jackson football player to announce they are transferring back home to JSU. Callaway High alumnus and Florida International offensive lineman Maljon Joor announced on his twitter (@Mjayy601) Monday he was transferring to JSU.
Provine High alumnus and Mississippi State cornerback Javorrius Selmon announced earlier this season he was transferring to JSU.