OXFORD, Miss. (Ole Miss Athletics) - Ole Miss will face off against Louisville in the 2021 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in what will be the first-ever meeting between the two programs. The game will be played in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. An exact date, kick time and television network will be finalized at a later date.
The Rebels are no strangers to the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, making their second appearance in the game after knocking off Boise State 35-21 to open the 2014 season. The Cardinals are also making their second trip to the Atlanta after falling to Auburn 31-24 in 2015.
The 2021 matchups will mark the 13th ACC vs. SEC meeting in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, with the SEC currently holding a 7-1 advantage over the ACC in those games.
“We are thrilled to once again be part of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff. We always set the goal to end the regular season in Atlanta, so it’s only fitting that's where we begin it,” said Ole Miss Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Ross Bjork. “With our strong alumni base in Georgia, Rebel Nation will arrive in full force to experience this premier matchup in the nation's finest new stadium. In addition, the Atlanta market is a key recruiting area for our staff, and this trip offers a tremendous opportunity to compete in front of those prospects.”
“We’re looking forward to welcoming both Louisville and Ole Miss back to Atlanta in what will be another exciting ACC vs. SEC showdown in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game,” said Gary Stokan, Peach Bowl, Inc. CEO and president. “An electric crowd in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium should be the perfect setting for the first-ever game between these two storied programs.”
“To have the opportunity to play in this game again for the second time is a huge win for our program,” Louisville Vice-President/Director of Athletics Tom Jurich said. “We are honored to be welcomed back by the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, which is a tremendous testament to our loyal fan base, who helped pack the stadium in 2015. Our fans have a great history of traveling, and to have the opportunity to play a great program like Ole Miss in this brand-new facility will certainly be a hot ticket for the fans. Gary Stokan and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl group do a tremendous job with this game and we appreciate them selecting Louisville for what has become the premier game to kick off the season.”
The game averages 68,887 – higher than the attendance of 37 bowl games last year – and has an average payout of $5.2 million.
Television viewership is also traditionally strong with more than 59.7 million viewers tuning in to the series since its inaugural game in 2008.
The teams will battle for The Old Leather Helmet Trophy, one of college football’s newest rivalry-style icons. Traditionally, winners of The Old Leather Helmet don the helmet on the field after the game, starting with the head coach and then rotating from player to player as the team celebrates its victory.