Saturday's Ole Miss-California showdown represents a small, emotional homecoming for Bears offensive lineman Ryan Gibson.
Gibson's mother, Deborah Cornell and his former St. Stanislaus High classmates: Noah Nicaud and Alex Myrick – all will fly into Berkeley, Calif. for the 9:30 p.m. contest at California Memorial Stadium.
Gibson, a third-year sophomore, is looking forward to the Pac-12-SEC contest. Cal, a three-point underdog, is hosting its first SEC team since 2007.
“It's pretty cool playing the team that your family and friends rooted for growing up,” Gibson said. “I'm real excited.”
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The timing to play the Rebels is perfect for Gibson, who's currently a second-team center and guard. Gibson has played in both games for the Bears (2-0). Cal beat North Carolina 35-30 and Weber State 33-20.
The Political Science major didn't play his first two seasons at Cal, redshirting as a true freshman.
“It's a dream come true to play at Cal,” Gibson said. “I've worked hard. I'm blessed. I'm thankful.”
The six-foot-two, 290-pound Gibson earned Sun Herald All-South Mississippi and 4A all-state honors as a senior in 2014, helping the Rockachaws reach the Class 4A state championship game.