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.”
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.