Ole Miss football got a huge boost to its season when star sophomore Shea Patterson broke out against South Alabama in its first game of 2017.
Many were skeptical as to how the Ole Miss Rebels would look in 2017. The scandal surrounding former head coach Hugh Freeze during the offseason did not put the program in a good light. However, fans enjoyed a solid opening weekend victory over the South Alabama Jaguars, behind a huge performance from sophomore quarterback Shea Patterson.
Since Ole Miss is not eligible for a bowl game in 2017, that puts the odds for Patterson to win the Heisman this year much lower. However, it is still possible. With the way Patterson played against South Alabama, anything is really possible for him.
The way Ole Miss played against South Alabama is an encouraging sign for Rebel fans. This could actually be a very good season in Oxford. South Alabama is a quality opponent for being a Group of Five team. Defeating them by a 20-point margin is not an easy feat for anyone.
Patterson completed 28 of his 35 attempts for 429 yards and four touchdowns. Ole Miss almost solely relied on Patterson to command the offense. They rushed for only 102 yards and one touchdown as a team. South Alabama actually rushed for 68 more yards.
With some top Heisman candidates like USC’s Sam Darnold, Washington’s Jake Browning, Florida State’s Deondre Francois, and Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett not playing to expectation in Week 1, Patterson could position himself right in with the group. We have a good idea of who is a contender or a pretender in the Heisman Trophy race this year.
Now, let’s take a look at five reasons why Shea Patterson is a true Heisman contender in 2017.