The Rebels won the opening coin toss, but that was all they won. They elected to take the football but couldn't move it far enough for points. After a Tyler Campbell punt, the Vols started a drive at their own 20.
It lasted one play. Freshman sensation quarterback Tyler Bray passed to Gerald Jones, a ball that was tipped by Jonathan Cornell, and it landed right in the hands of Justin Hunter. Hunter then raced 80 yards to the end zone. And the rout was on.
"It was just a bad day today," Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt said. "A bad feeling, a bad showing. Start off the game feeling good, went from one end of the field to the other, then dropped a pass. Then, we're in good position (on defense), tip a ball, thought we were going to intercept it, but the way things went was perfect for them all day. We helped them with interceptions and turnovers. The bottom line is just bad. Just a bad, bad day for the Ole Miss Rebels."
Rebel running back Brandon Bolden's fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season and a pair of touchdowns weren't nearly enough to overcome the Ole Miss debacle this one turned out to be.
Bray threw three touchdown passes, two of them to Hunter, and Tauren Poole ran for two more as Tennessee got its first Southeastern Conference win of the season. The Volunteers are now 1-5 in league play, just like Ole Miss is.
Bray and company shredded an undermanned Ole Miss defense. UT had only seven yards on the ground in the first half but countered that with 265 yards through the air.
For the contest, Tennessee outgained Ole Miss 441 yards to 295 in total offense.
Bray was 18 for 34 for 323 yards. Last week he led the Vols to a 50-14 rout of Memphis. In two games as the starter, Bray has completed 37 of 67 for 648 yards and eight touchdowns with no turnovers.
Rebel senior signal caller Jeremiah Masoli, on the other hand, had a disastrous day. He finished 7 for 18 for 80 yards, threw three interceptions and no touchdowns. Two of those interceptions, however, went for touchdowns – for the Volunteers. The scrambling quarterback had 22 yards rushing.
The Rebels entered the game having given up only seven sacks in eight games, but the Vols took Masoli down twice and sacked backup Nathan Stanley once.
Tennessee led 21-0 at the end of the first quarter. The Rebels trimmed the lead to 21-7 and had the football with a shot at cutting the lead even more. But the Vols struck back to go up 28-7, and that was basically that. It was 31-14 at halftime and 45-14 at the end of the third quarter.
"We just wanted to swarm them and smother them," said Tennessee all-star defensive end Chris Walker. "We didn't want to give them a chance to even peek back in and have even a little bit of momentum. We just wanted to completely crush them and not give them any hope to come back."
Mission accomplished for the Tennessee Vols.