Feeley to play in Jan. 1 Sugar Bowl

Published 7:00 am Friday, December 25, 2015

Submitted photo Standout: Feeley playing with the Rebels earlier this year.

Submitted photo
Standout: Feeley playing with the Rebels earlier this year.

For Jacob Feeley, the biggest surprise of the year might well have come weeks before today.

Feeley, a football standout at Picayune Memorial and then at East Mississippi Community College, is now a junior transfer student at the University of Mississippi and in his first year with the Rebels, he will be playing in the Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma State.

The Sugar Bowl is among the oldest bowl games in the nation, and in the SEC, it holds particular esteem. Ole Miss hasn’t played a Sugar Bowl game since 1970—when Archie Manning quarterbacked the team to a 27-22 victory against Arkansas.

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Just how big of a deal is this game to fans? The bowl will be played at the Superdome which seats about 73,000 people.

Tickets have been sold out for weeks. 

“This has been an exciting ride for the first season,” said Feeley. 

Feeley plays center, and he said that while he is looking forward to the game, he knew his team would get there since the earliest days of spring training. 

“I would like to say I didn’t expect it, but I did coming in. Once I got in in the spring, it was all business. We fell short of the SEC championship, which was our original goal, but playing in the Sugar Bowl is just as exciting. A lot of alumni, when they were growing up, playing in the Sugar Bowl was the game to play in.”

Feeley is used to winning. After he graduated from Picayune in 2013, he spent two years at EMCC playing for the Lions, a team that went undefeated and snagged two national championships in both years with Feeley on the roster.

“Winning is something that’s important to me,” he said. “I haven’t been on a losing program.”

Feeley said he hopes the Jan. 1 game won’t disappoint the vast Rebel fan base.

“We just want to get this win for all the alumni and for our coaches,” he said. 

Feeley is the son of Picayune School Board member Frank Feeley. The elder Feeley expressed pride in his son’s athletic career.

“We’re very proud of him,” Frank Feeley said. “The community is proud of him. He’s representing our community well. … It’s just been a blessing, we’ve been really proud.”

The younger Feeley didn’t want to make any predictions about the next season, but said if the team puts in the work next spring, they’ll do alright.

“Well it’s going to depend on how the spring goes,” he said. “You just gotta put the work in. That’s how it’s been since I was here at Picayune.”