Ole Miss secured consecutive victories over Alabama for the first time in series history last season, winning 23-17 in 2014 and 43-37 in 2015. Rebels sophomore defensive lineman Breeland Speaks believes that success is a trend that will continue into next season and beyond.
“It’s almost expected,” Speaks said, according to a report from ESPN’s Edward Aschoff. “It’s like how ‘Bama fans think they should beat Auburn every year, it’s kinda like we’re supposed to beat (Mississippi) State every year, we’re supposed to beat ‘Bama, we’re supposed to beat LSU. We got to get over that Arkansas hump, but … we’re supposed to win now and nothing less is going to be taken.”
The bravado may be premature, since the Crimson Tide are coming off a national title and still lead the overall series with the Rebels by a wide margin (48-11-2). But what is Speaks supposed to say? He expects to lose?
Speaks missed the 2014 victory over Alabama, as he was redshirted at the time. The interior lineman played in 13 games last season and totaled 32 tackles. He saw action against Alabama in 2015, but he did not record a statistic.
The Crimson Tide had won 10 in a row against Ole Miss, two of which were vacated prior to the 2014 upset. The matchup has intensified in the past two seasons with Ole Miss’ newfound success, although Alabama reached the College Football Playoff in each of the last two seasons.
The Rebels likely would have ended Alabama’s title hopes if not for an overtime loss to Arkansas late in the season (remember this insane 4th-and-25 lateral)? But, with last season in the rearview mirror, Ole Miss seems ready to ditch the underdog role.
“It’s something we’ve worked for since (Coach Hugh) Freeze got here and now that it’s actually happening it’s the new normal for us,” Speaks said.