Ole Miss took the Bullies to the woodshed early and often, on the way to a convincing 45-0 victory in front of an announced crowd of 55,231 inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
This was not simply a game dominated in all three phases. The Rebels were sending a message.
Ole Miss is back to stay and no player donning Maroon and White would be allowed to say otherwise.
"Today was important," said Rebel head coach Houston Nutt. "The Chancellor even came to see me Sunday to reiterate how important this game is. He wanted to know if I knew how important this game was. I knew, but then he wanted to know if I really knew. That was a very important game. I'm excited for these guys. To see that locker room now, I can't wait to take them and let them experience a bowl."
The defense swarmed and the offense attacked. The "landsharks" were on full display, feeding on quarterbacks Tyson Lee, Wesley Carroll and Chris Relf. The Red-Blue machine held State to merely 37 yards of total offense - the fewest in any game since 1962.
Accounting for a school-record 11 sacks and two turnovers, the D laid their stamp - doing so in convincing fashion.
"I thought their offensive line was good and physical and I thought they had been a very good rushing team," defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix said. "What happened today was that our playmakers showed up with something to prove in their minds and they made plays.
"Peria Jerry, Greg Hardy, Kentrell Lockett, and on and on, came to play and did what we expect them to do every week. It all came together this week better than it had in the past. We've been playing some very good defense for several weeks, but this was a different level - the level we've been searching for all year."
The Ole Miss offense set the tone. Sophomore quarterback Jevan Snead equaled his career high for passing TDs with four, including a 72-yard strike to senior Mike Wallace in the final seconds of the first half.
For the second-straight game, Wallace equaled his career high with two TD catches. He finished with four grabs for 105 yards, registering his fourth 100-yard receiving day of the year and sixth of his career.
"I knew they had been talking a lot of trash and we were just going to keep it all in and wait until the game," Wallace said. "We came out to prove a point. We want to sit down and make the selection as to where we're going to go (bowling)."
The disgusting feeling that once haunted the Rebels since the 2007 heartbreak in Starkville is put to bed. There would be no gut-wrenching comeback in this one.
It was an historic beatdown. Not since 1971, when the Rebels prevailed 48-0, have we seen a Battle of the Golden Egg so one-sided.
"The last few weeks we've been tremendous," Nutt continued. "The seniors don't want the season to end. Did I think 45-0? No. But I felt good about our execution and the level of effort. I knew we weren't going to just throw our helmets on and go through the motions. I knew that."
By the midpoint of the fourth quarter, fans were throwing cotton off the roof. It was a welcomed sight.
Times are good in Oxford.
Many Happy Returns
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