And so the 2010 football season at Ole Miss comes to a close. For the fifth time in the past seven seasons, there is no bowl bid for Ole Miss after a football season.
Ole Miss finished with a 4-8 mark and a 1-7 Southeastern Conference record that proved what prognosticators had said since last season. This Ole Miss team was the worst in the West. Game after game they proved it.
Unfortnuately a significant case can be made for worst team in the entire league. This team even lost to Vanderbilt, whose lone SEC win was against Ole Miss in Oxford.
In the Battle for the Golden Egg, the Rebels actually scored first, thanks to a Mississippi State turnover. After Jeremy McGee forced an MSU fumble deep in Bulldog territory, the Rebels took an early lead a play leter, Jeff Scott taking it in from 16-yard line.
In true-to-season form for the team overall, the extra point attempt by Bryson Rose was blocked – a tone setter from the get-go.
State moved ahead early in the second quarter with a long but quick drive. Chris Relf ran right up the Rebels' gut for a 71 yard gain to set up a 15-yard pass play from Relf to Chris Smith for a touchdown. The Bulldog's Derrick DePasquale gave MSU a 7-6 lead.
Ole Miss was held to a field goal of 34 yards on its next scoring opportunity. The 9-7 Ole Miss lead was the last for the Rebels.
The Ole Miss defense gave up two big plays in a three-play drive for another MSU touchdown. A 44-yard pass from Relf to Chad Bumphis for 44 yards was followed two plays later by a 33-yard touchdown pass from Relf to LaDarius Perkins. DePasquale was good again, and MSU led 14-9, a lead it would not relinquish.
Late In the first half, MSU got more points on a two-play drive with Perkins on the receiving end of a 36-yard pass from Relf. DePasquale was good and MSU led 21-9 with 46 seconds left in the opening half.
The Ole Miss misery, as expected, continued in the second half.
MSU added a field goal with 11:11 to go in the third quarter after an Ole Miss fumble. The Bulldogs weren't able to move it after a muffed punt by Jesse Grandy, and on fourth and 3 from the UM 24, DePasquale was good on a 42-yarder. That made it 24-9 and MSU wasn't nearly done.
The Bulldogs added a touchdown late in the third on a Vick Ballard rush of eight yards, capping a six-play march of 79 yards. Once again an Ole Miss defense that has struggled all season gave up a predictable huge play.
A 71-yard pass from Relf to Perkins got the Bulldogs to the Rebel 20. Three plays later Ballard scored from the 8-yard line. The extra point by DePasquale made it 31-9 MSU with 3:04 to go in the third period.
Ole Miss got a touchdown by Brandon Bolden early in the fourth quarter, a rush from the 10-yard line. Rose was good, and at 31-16 with 13:22 left, it appeared Ole Miss had plenty of time to win it.
And they did. But clock management late in games was not this team's forte' and it proved that way again in this most important game of them all.
Ole Miss scored with 4:21 on a Jeremiah Masoli to Ja-Mes Logan pass of 24 yards. That, along with a successful Rose kick, cut the MSU lead to 31-23. It was a potential one possession game.
The Rebels kicked off and State started at its own 29. Five plays later MSU punted to Ole Miss at the Rebel 11. Nine plays later the Rebs had moved all of 12 yards, all the way up to their own 23 when a fourth and 24 rush by Masoli was stopped – at the 23.
MSU (8-4, 4-4 SEC) took over the football, and the Bulldog faithful took over the stadium, headed for a bowl game somewhere. Ole Miss now heads to offseason workouts.
MSU was two yards shy of 500 on offense for the evening – 288 through the air; 210 on the ground.
Ole Miss had 326 yards of offense – only 65 yards on the ground, which had been such an improved area until now. Through the air the Rebs had 261 yards.
Bolden finished with 45 yards, 23 yards short of 1,000. Bolden was also the Rebs' leading receiver with six catches for 78 yards.
Masoli was 24 for 44 for 261 yards with an interception and a touchdown. He rushed 11 times for 12 yards.
Relf was 13 for 20 for 288 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Perkins led State on the ground with 98 yards on 13 carries.
Ole Miss next plays football when BYU comes to Oxford to open the 2011 campaign.