Cotton Bowl coverage -

After Dexter McCluster ran all over the Cotton Bowl Stadium field, the little man with the big heart was the last man standing in the Rebs' 47-34 win over number 7 Texas Tech.

Ole Miss and SEC fans already knew it.

Now, the rest of the nation does.

Dexter McCluster, every bit of 5-9 and 172 pounds, is one of the most dynamic and effective football players in the country, and we'll argue the point with anyone who cares to differ.

"Dexter can do so many things for an offense. He's incredible," said Coach Houston Nutt. "Put him anywhere and get him the ball. It's not hard to figure out."

But Houston admitted during the week that he was hesitant to give Dex the ball too much early in the year for fear of injury.

"The staff stayed on me about getting him the ball more. I finally realized they were right," he smiled.

McCluster confirmed everyone's faith in him with a scintillating performance in the Cotton Bowl.

He gained 99 yards on 14 carries and scored a TD on the ground and caught six passes for another 83 yards in the air.

"When we needed a big play, he delivered," Nutt stated.

For his efforts, Dex was named the Offensive Most Valuable Player of the game.

"We have so many different plays and so many different weapons that I think I get lost in the shuffle sometimes," said Dexter modestly. "I don't know how a defense can gameplan for all of us."

You can be sure Tech knew to keep an eye on #22, but there was nothing they could do about it, in the end.

"That little McCluster, we couldn't run with him," said Tech DB Darcel McBath. "He outran us to the edges and made some open field cuts that left us standing. He's a great player."

McCluster, as always, gave all the credit to everyone else.

"Our coaches believe in me. My teammates block for me. Jevan is a terrific quarterback who gets the ball to your in places where you can make something happen after the catch," Dexter noted. "I just get behind those big guys up front, get a crease and hit it. Anything else is just instinct and using my quickness.

"When you are small, you better be able to run and better be able to know how to use those abilities. I'm small, but my heart is big. I'm going to do everything I can to help my team."

Fittingly, the Rebs' last score came on a McCluster scamper around left end out of the Wild Rebel formation.

He left Tech pursuers in his wake.

"I can't lie. I wanted to score in this game," he laughed. "I was determined to get in the end zone on that play."

Now McCluster and the Rebels will relish this win for a couple of weeks and then get back to work.

"This are the moments you cherish. We'll always remember this game and this season and these seniors who led us to this point, but we are hungry for more," he closed. "We won't stop here."

Dexter McCluster has one more season as a Rebel.

The entire nation will know his name, if they don't already.

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