Going against one of the nation’s top offenses in Oklahoma State, No. 16 Ole Miss (9-3, 6-2 SEC) will be without two defensive starters in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1.
Defensive back Tony Conner (knee) and defensive end Fadol Brown (foot) will miss the bowl game, according to Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze, as they are having surgery to get a jump on offseason rehab.
Conner missed seven games this season after sustaining a torn meniscus against Alabama on Sept. 19. The junior returned to action against Arkansas on Nov. 7, but missed the regular season finale against Mississippi State. Conner had 17 tackles, including four tackles for loss in limited time this season.
Brown did not play against LSU, but had been a constant force for the Rebels defensive line. He totaled 17 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, a sack and 10 quarterback hurries this season.
Freeze also said he does not “anticipate” Ole Miss linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche to play in the bowl game, but the senior is “doing well.” Nkemdiche was hospitalized after reportedly being found on Nov. 16. He did not play in the Rebels’ final two games of the regular season against LSU and Mississippi State.
Safety C.J. Hampton also missed the final two games for Ole Miss, but Freeze said he believes Hampton will return to action after being sidelined with a stinger.
“We believe that he will be back but it’s still kind of day‑to‑day,” Freeze said Sunday. “His nerve has to respond (properly) in that stinger that he’s got before we allow him to hit. But I anticipate him being back.”
Hampton has 24 tackles this season and gives the Rebels some flexibility in the secondary.