NCAA Game Summary - Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech|
(Friday, January 2nd)
Final Score: (20) Ole Miss 47, (8) Texas Tech 34
Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - Jevan Snead threw for 292 yards and three
touchdowns to help lead the Ole Miss Rebels to a 47-34 triumph over
Texas Tech in what was the final Cotton Bowl Classic to be played at the
Dexter McCluster had 97 yards rushing and 83 yards receiving on six catches
while scoring once on the ground, helping to garner Sanford Trophy honors
as most outstanding offensive player. Brandon Bolden also ran for a score,
gaining 101 yards on just 11 carries. Snead hit on 18-of-29 passes and tossed
Gerald Harris hauled in a pair of TD grabs and Mike Wallace had four
receptions for 80 yards and a TD for Ole Miss (9-4), which closed out the
season with six consecutive victories, including a 45-0 romp over rival
Mississippi State in the regular season finale.
Head coach Houston Nutt garnered SEC Coach of the Year honors in his first
year at the helm and led the Rebels to a 5-3 league mark and a
signature win against Florida, dealing the national-champion hopeful Gators
their lone loss this season. All four of the program's losses came by seven or
"The memories are just awesome, to be in the last historic game right here in
this stadium," Nutt said of the victory. "These guys have had such great
character and it's gotten better each and every week. When it was time to go
to work, these guys went to work. So our preparation was just outstanding."
The Rebels are now 7-1 in their last eight postseason tilts.
Graham Harrell threw for 364 yards and four TD passes but had two
interceptions, including one that was returned for a score. Harrell became
the NCAA's all-time leader in touchdown passes with 134. Hawaii's Colt Brennan
had 131. The senior also became the first player in NCAA history to post
multiple 5,000-yard passing seasons. He finished 36-of-58 passing to post
5,111 yards on the season. He recorded 5,705 yards during the 2007 season.
Edward Britton caught five passes for 87 yards and two TDs while Eric Morris
logged a game-high 10 catches for 89 yards and a score. Michael Crabtree was
limited by an ankle injury but managed to snag a TD as part of a four-catch,
30-yard performance for Texas Tech (11-2), which suffered only its second
loss in what was an otherwise historically successful campaign.
The Red Raiders' regular season record was the best in school history, and the
team's 7-1 Big 12 mark was also an all-time best.
Texas Tech carried a 10-0 record into a road clash with Oklahoma on November
22nd, and a 65-21 beating in that game cost the squad a shot at the national
title and a BCS bowl bid as well.
"You never like to lose your last. All losses hurt, and this one was no
different. It's unfortunate to be the last game, but it's been a fun run
here," Harrell said after playing in his final game for the Raiders. "It
wasn't the way we wanted to end the season, but it's the way it happened."
The Raiders had won their last two postseason encounters.
Ole Miss beat Texas Tech in both the 1986 and 1998 Independence Bowls in the
two team's previous bowl meetings.
It was the highest scoring affair in the storied Cotton Bowl history with the
contest moving to the new Dallas Cowboys' stadium in Arlington next year.
Ole Miss took a 31-21 lead early in the third. Crabtree lost his footing on a
short Harrell pass, and Marshay Green intercepted the offering and took it
back 65 yards for the score on his way to McKnight Trophy honors as the most
outstanding defensive player.
Following a Rebels missed field goal, Texas Tech attempted to go for a first
down on 4th-and-4 at its own 37, but Harrell could muster only three of those
yards. Ole Miss needed only three plays to find the end zone, as Bolden
rumbled up the middle for a 17-yard score to make it 38-21 after three
Texas Tech opened the final stanza in the midst of an extended scoring drive
that travelled 83 yards in nine plays, as Harrell hit Britton for a 12-yard
An Enrique Davis fumble at the Raiders' two-yard-line stymied the ensuing
possession for Ole Miss, but Harrell was sacked in the end zone on the very
next play, and the ball went out of the end zone for a safety to give
the Rebels a 40-28 advantage with 10 minutes to go.
McCluster capped the next series with a four-yard TD to essentially put the
game out of reach; although, Harrell was able to lead a 62-yard drive that
resulted in a 17-yard TD pass to Morris -- leaving only 1:37 to play.
The two-point conversion failed and Ole Miss was able to fall on an onside
kick attempt, sealing the victory.
"We knew the type of team we were playing, and I'm just really proud of our
defense. Our defense stopped 'em, stopped 'em, time and time again. They never
were discouraged when we turned the ball over," Nutt added.
The Red Raiders went three-and-out on their first series, then took advantage
of a pair of Ole Miss turnovers to open a 14-0 lead in a span of just 69
seconds in the first quarter.
A Cordera Eason fumble gave Texas Tech the ball at its own 39 and it took
Harrell just four plays to find the end zone. Harrell finished the quick set
with a 35-yard touchdown pass to Britton, who raced untouched to the end zone
after an Ole Miss defender fell down on the play.
On the third play after the kickoff, Darcel McBath stepped in front of a
tipped Snead pass and returned the interception 45 yards down the left
sideline for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 5:22 left in the opening
Ole Miss followed with an eight-play, 78-yard march and cut its deficit in
half with 1:49 to play in the first on an eight-yard scoring pass from Snead
The Rebels began their second consecutive scoring drive late in the first and
opened the second frame by finishing off a 10-play trek with a 41-yard deep
ball down the middle of the field to Wallace, who briefly bobbled the pass,
but held on for the score amid a pair of defenders.
Texas Tech was undeterred, though, and responded with a crisp 11-play, 75-yard
scoring drive, with Harrell stepping out to his right and finding Crabtree on
a quick two-yard slant to take a 21-14 lead with 7:44 remaining until
Ole Miss responded in kind by moving the ball 80 yards, with Snead going over
the top 21 yards to Harris for a score to tie the game at 21. The Rebels were
in line for more points after Cassius Vaughn returned a Harrell interception
to the Raiders' 45. A McCluster 34-yard winding run set up Joshua Shene's 27-
yard field goal that allowed for a 24-21 margin with 1:08 left in the half.
That provided enough time for the Raiders to reach midfield, from which
Harrell dashed 44 yards but was tripped at the three-yard-line on the final
play of the half.
The Rebels are now 20-12 all-time in bowl games, and made their fourth
Cotton Bowl appearance. They beat Oklahoma State by three points in the 2004
Cotton Bowl...Texas Tech is now 10-21-1 all-time in bowl games...Ole Miss
racked up 223 yards rushing to Texas Tech's 105...Shannon Woods led the
Raiders with 46 yards on six carries while Harrell gained 43 yards on the
ground...Green also logged 79 yards on four punt returns while Wallace
returned four kickoffs for 91 yards.
01/03 02:50:30 ET