Will bowl eligibility on the line, Ole Miss left nothing to chance. The Saturday afternoon contest quickly turned into a matinee massacre.
ULM provided little resistance to the Rebels' postseason party, as Ole Miss (6-4, 3-3) produced 38 first half points and buried the Warhawks 59-0 before an announced Vaught-Hemingway crowd of 43,665.
The Rebels are guaranteed a bowl game for the first time since 2003 and can heighten their appeal with rivalry games remaining against LSU in Baton Rouge and Mississippi State in Oxford.
Houston Nutt stressed the importance of focus throughout the past two weeks, and Ole Miss responded by scoring on six of seven first-half possessions on its way to the highest first half point total since being ahead of Memphis in 1980, 40-0, and highest overall point total since drilling these same Warhawks 59-14 in 2003.
The Rebels have now won three straight games for the first time since, guess when, 2003. The Warhawks are now 3-32-1 all time against SEC opponents.
ULM (3-8) came into the game surrendering more than 200 yards rushing, and the Rebels attacked that weakness, running for 350 yards and five scores. Cordera Eason led the way with 106 yards on 14 carries, and Dexter McCluster and Brandon Bolden followed that up with 78 and 39 yards respectively.
Derrick Davis achieved 44 yards on five totes late. Eason, McCluster, Jevan Snead (twice)and Enrique Davis all reached the end zone rushing.
Snead made the most out of limited pass attempts. The sophomore quarterback completed 6-of-12 throws for 170 yards and three touchdowns to go with the two rushing. Billy Tapp relieved Snead during the majority of the second half and didn't try a pass, but he did bootleg on a 21-yard run.
Mike Wallace led the team in receiving with 111 yards and a score on just two catches. Snead hooked up with the senior for an 88-yard connection, where Wallace weaved all over the field before being brought down at the three.
The completion is the longest in school history, eclipsing an 86-yard pass from Snead to Shay Hodge in Ole Miss' victory over Florida in Gainesville earlier this season.
Derrick Davis and Gerald Harris also caught touchdown passes. It was the second of Harris' career and the second for Derrick Davis in back-to-back weeks.
While the offense left little time to speak of traps and upsets, The UM defense matched that performance. Tyrone Nix's unit pitched the first Rebel shutout since a 24-0 defeat of Louisiana Tech last season. Ole Miss held ULM to 131 yards of total offense and just more than 2.5 yards per play.
The Warhawks' lone drive into the Rebel red zone ended when Cassius Vaughn intercepted back-up quarterback Trey Revell at the Ole Miss five-yard line. Starting QB Kinston Lancaster suffered an injury in the first half and didn't return. ULM passed for just 59 yards with two picks.
One of the bright spots for the Rebel defense was veteran Chris Bowers leading the team in tackles with six. Bowers, who has been hampered throughout his career with injuries, also posted 1.5 sacks for a team high.
Jonathan Cornell and Jamarca Sanford finished with five tackles each. Sanford and Greg Hardy each had a sack, and Hardy picked off a Revell pass and returned it 22 yards.
The Rebels set the tone early with an opening drive of 72 yards that included eight runs and just one pass and culminating in Eason scampering in from 17 yards.
The following drive ended with Ole Miss' lone punt of the day, but the onslaught would soon ensue. The Rebels put up 31 second quarter points, finishing the period with a nifty seven-play, 36-yard drive that spanned 1:30 and ended with a 39-yard Josh Shene field goal as time expired.
The Rebel defense made the outburst possible by holding ULM to only 27 yards in the second quarter. Ole Miss totaled 220 yards in the same time span.
Bowlin' Over Monroe
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