OXFORD • John Rhys Plumlee doesn’t talk a lot about individual statistics but admits being the rushing champ of the SEC has a nice ring to it.
The Ole Miss freshman quarterback for the first time will appear in NCAA statistical record-keeping after the Rebels face rival Mississippi State on Thursday night.
A player has to compete in 75 percent of his team’s games to be counted. Plumlee didn’t get on the field until roughly 5 minutes remained in Week 4 of the Rebels’ 28-20 loss to California.
He’s started every game since but with appearances in only eight of 11 games – 72.7 percent – he’s yet to appear in NCAA stats.
That will change after the Egg Bowl, and when it does Plumlee will likely be the SEC’s No. 1 rusher. He’s currently at 123.6 yards a game, 13.1 yards ahead of the current leader, MSU running back Kylin Hill.
“It would be a blessing. It would be cool to do,” Plumlee said. “That’s not necessarily the goal. The goal is to go and get a win … whatever it takes to get a win. That would be a pretty neat thing. I think it would be kind of fun.”
Plumlee needs 11 yards against MSU to reach 1,000 for the season. Through his eight games he has 136 carries for 989 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Phillips healthyIt was Scottie Phillips, then a first-year junior college transfer, who was trying to get to 1,000 rushing yards for Ole Miss last year.
Phillips played but was unable to push off a severely sprained ankle and finished with 1 yard on four carries.
Now a senior, Phillips is healthy, although he’s overcome a couple of injuries to a knee and an ankle this month.
He would like to have “helped his team compete better last year. Maybe it would have changed things, maybe not.”
Phillips has 560 yards on 125 carries this season and is eager to play in the Egg Bowl.
“I’m excited to be able to compete this year.”
MacIntyre returns to rivalryOle Miss defensive coordinator Mike MacIntyre in a sense will be making his first appearance in the Egg Bowl for a second time.
And like his first appearance, it comes after memories of rivalry fight are fresh in the minds of many players, coaches and fans.
‘I remember the first time we played it they had policemen lined up at the 50-yard line because they year before they’d had a big fight,” MacIntyre said.
MacIntyre’s first Egg Bowl was in 1999 as David Cutcliffe’s wide receivers coach. The fight he referenced had actually occurred two years before in 1997.
“It was pretty amazing how feisty and aggressive it was, not only on the field but in the stands and everywhere else. I’m expecting the exact same thing, a very physical, feisty, crazy kind of atmosphere,” he said.
Injury updatePhillips isn’t the only Ole Miss player to benefit from last week’s open date.
Offensive lineman Ben Brown (ankle), defensive lineman Benito Jones (concussion) and safety Jonathan Haynes (ankle) are all expected to play Thursday.
Haynes is the only one who still has a little ground to cover to be 100 percent.
Ole Miss coach Matt Luke described Haynes as “gimpy.”