Ole Miss will lose Denzel Nkemdiche for the remainder of the season after he broke his ankle this past weekend. The redshirt junior linebacker broke his ankle in the first quarter in Saturday’s 10-7 loss at LSU. Nkemdiche didn’t return to play for the remainder of the game and was wearing a boot on the sideline during the second half.
Head coach Hugh Freeze confirmed to ESPN.com that Nkemdiche underwent ankle surgery Sunday, and will not be returning for the remainder of the regular season.
The Rebels lose a key part of their defense as Nkemdiche had 28 tackles through seven games. Nkemdiche will be replaced by Serderius Bryant, a senior outside linebacker. Bryant led the Ole Miss defense with 78 tackles, 12 TFL and three forced fumbles last season.
Nkemdiche wasn’t the only missing piece to the Ole Miss defense this past Saturday. Sophomore DT Robert Nkemdiche, Denzel’s brother, was also out with an undisclosed injury along with All-American safety Cody Prewitt. Freeze said that both players are day-to-day and the Rebels hope to have them back by this Saturday.
The Rebels are still hunting for contention in the SEC – falling victim in Death Valley is far from a bad loss, especially when it’s the lone blemish on an otherwise stellar year. This defense has earned their national regard, and one 10-7 loss on the road will not be a deterrent for Playoff voters.
No. 7 Ole Miss (7-1, 4-1 SEC) hosts No. 4 Auburn (6-1, 3-1) on Saturday in a key SEC West matchup. The winner of this game could be a contender in the inaugural College Football Playoff.
*Section Photo credit to Stacy Revere, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Daniel Shirey, USA Today Sports