It was an emotional night for Matt Luke, the former Gulfport High and Ole Miss offensive lineman. He was now leading the Rebels, a team that is trying to overcome an NCAA investigation, a head coach who was forced to resign and no aspirations of going to a bowl game.
Luke did his best to energize the players, the assistant coaches and the fans. He took advantage of his play makers. Quarterback Shea Patterson and a host of game breaking receivers, highlighted by sophomore sensation A.J. Brown did the trick. The Starkville native established a new Ole Miss single game record with 233 receiving yards and 2 touchdown of 71 and 77 yards. I asked Brown to give his thoughts on head coach Matt Luke.
Brown said, "Matt Luke is a great coach. He brings energy every day, everyday. He loves practicing. We love being around him. Like me and D.K. (Metcalf) go into his office and play Madden. We've just go that bond with him. It wasn't a surprise that we would give a 110 percent for him."
Before the game I had an opportunity to meet with Matt's brother Tom Luke, the former Ole Miss quarterback and Tommy Luke Senior, Matt's dad. He told me that Matt would do a great job, having learned under head coaches like Tommy Tuberville, David Cutcliffe and Hugh Freeze.
Tom Luke said, "Matt said he's taking the good hings that he's learned from each one of them. Sort of, not doing the things that maybe they did wrong, that didn't work out like they should have. He's got a lot of mentors that he's been with. Most of them were good coaches. All of them actually."
After the game I asked Coach Luke to talk about the impact that his dad had on his life. Remember, Tommy Luke played for the great Johnny Vaught from 1964 through 1966.
"My dad was my hero, "stated Matt. "I grew up with his helmet in my den and a picture of him on my wall. He taught me and Tom the value of work ethic.
He went to work everyday and that's such a good work ethic. He was my hero and a great example."
Matt Luke made his dad proud Saturday night and there should be many more happy days up ahead for the Luke family and Rebel Nation.
The Rebels entertain UT- Martin Saturday morning at 11 in Oxford. The Skyhawks beat the Clarion Golden Eagles 36-0.
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