Ole Miss

Ole Miss' Memphis natives excited about Saturday's game

BRUCE NEWMAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS 
 Ole Miss running back Jordan Wilkins is among the Memphis area natives who will be going home Saturday.
BRUCE NEWMAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS Ole Miss running back Jordan Wilkins is among the Memphis area natives who will be going home Saturday. AP

OXFORD - Eleven Memphis-area players on the Ole Miss roster are amped up to be playing the hometown school.

They want to bring their teammates along for the ride as the Rebels travel 80 miles northwest to face a ranked opponent on the road for the third time this season.

Ole Miss is ranked No. 13 in the AP Top 25, No. 12 by the coaches. Memphis is unranked by AP but is No. 22 in the coaches poll as the teams approach Saturday's 11 a.m. kickoff.

"We heard them chanting we want Ole Miss after the Cincinnati game," said Ole Miss running back Jordan Wilkins, from the Memphis suburb of Cordova. "That fired me up a little bit so I'm excited. I heard it on TV, saw all the tweets, people tagging me and stuff."

It was a group of fans in one end zone celebrating the Tigers' 53-46 win over Cincinnati on Sept. 24 who wished to advance immediately to this week.

Since then, Memphis defeated South Florida on the road on Oct. 2 to run its win streak to 12 games, third-longest among FBS schools.

The Tigers haven't lost since falling 24-3 to Ole Miss in Oxford last year.

Wilkins has friends on the Memphis team and his girlfriend is a Tigers cheerleader.

Senior running back Jaylen Walton, who played high school ball in Memphis, is also pumped.

"This is a dream come true to go back and play in front of thousands of fans who watched me develop from the beginning of my career in middle school," he said.

Memphis is one of three unbeaten teams in the American Athletic Conference. If the Tigers beat Ole Miss and run the table they could find themselves in a New Year's Six bowl game.

For the non-Memphis players on the roster there are plenty of indicators to what this game means for the Tigers.

"Coach Freeze says this is like the Super Bowl for Memphis, so I'm thinking it's a big game," sophomore cornerback Kendarius Webster said.

Tunsil Update

Nothing happened to advance the Laremy Tunsil story Monday. The Rebels' star offensive lineman remains held out until the NCAA clarifies his status.

"All I've been told is that we hope to get an answer early this week," Freeze said.

If the answer comes and is favorable for Tunsil he will step into the lineup immediately.

Injury Update: Defensive lineman D.J. Jones and tight end Evan Engram were the new additions to the injury list coming out of the New Mexico State game.

"D.J.'s in the concussion protocol," Freeze said. "You're never quite sure how that's going to go. Evan's day to day."

Engram did not practice Sunday and will be reevaluated today.

Guard Justin Bell, wide receiver Damore'ea Stringfellow and running back Jaylen Walton, all held out against New Mexico State, are expected to play.

Center Robert Conyers is day to day.

Ordway's debut: With the departure of Tee Shepard at cornerback, Freeze removed the redshirt from freshman cornerback Cameron Ordway, a four-star recruit who made his college debut last week.

"Cam's come a long way. He knows the defense better than he did in camp, and he's getting the hang of it," cornerback Kendarius Webster said.

Ordway had five tackles and a half tackle for loss against New Mexico State.

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