Hello from Ole Miss’ Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, where the rain has cleared and the Rebels are preparing to face WAC opponent Fresno State for the first time in school history.The Bulldogs come to ole miss with a 2-0 record, having defeated Cincinnati 28-14 and WAC opponent Utah State 41-24.
Offensively, the Bulldogs are led by QB Ryan Colburn and RB A.J. Ellis.
Colburn has completed 33 of 47 passes for 396 yards and five scores while throwing two interceptions. His 70.2 completion percentage ranks 12th in the nation, while his 167.58 passer efficiency ranks 11th.
Ellis meanwhile has 171 yards on the ground with two scores to lead the Bulldogs’ rushing attack.
Only one FSU receiver, Jamel Hamler, has over 100 yards receiving (nine receptions for 122). Rashad Evans isn’t far behind, having hauled in eight passes for 93 yards. Both have one receiving touchdown.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Two matchups to keep an eye on tonight will be the Ole Miss offensive line against Fresno State’s pass rush, and the Bulldogs’ passing attack against the Rebels’ secondary.
Making their first starts along the offensive line will be redshirt junior Logan Clair at right guard and freshman Patrick Junen at left guard. Flanked to their left and right by Bobby Massie, Bradley Sowell and A.J. Hawkins, the OL — along with help from the running backs and tight ends — will need to be able to keep QB Jeremiah Masoli off of his backside on passing plays. Through two games, the Bulldogs have already amassed 12 sacks as a team.
From a passing/secondary angle, Colburn’s efficiency has already been covered.
In three games, the Rebel defense — supposed to be the team’s strength — allowed 252 yards passing to Jacksonville State, 218 at Tulane and 73 against Vanderbilt.
0-7 Fresno State: Colburn connected with Jalen Saunders for a 17-yard TD strike to cap a 7-play, 74-yard drive to open the game. The Bulldogs passed four times for 61 yards on the drive. I don’t think Colburn was touched during the drive…
7-7: Ole Miss retaliated on its next drive. Enrique Davis‘ 8-yard TD run was set up by a 56-yard run from QB Jeremiah Masoli. The drive covered 68 yards in 1:06.
14-7 Ole Miss: Masoli leads an 86-yard drive and caps it by connecting with Melvin Harris in solo coverage down the Fresno State sideline for a 30-yard TD. 2:43 remains in the second quarter.
21-7 Ole Miss: Ole Miss freshman Jeff Scott flashed his speed on Ole Miss’ third score of the game, taking a handoff from Masoli, hitting the FSU sideline and and weaving his way through the Bulldogs’ defense for a 55-yard TD run. F-A-S-T. 14:15 left in the second quarter.
21-10 Ole Miss: Fresno State kicker Kevin Goessling converts a 50-yard FG to bring the score to 21-10 in favor of Ole Miss. 9:30 remains in the first half. Ole Miss freshman CB Tony Grimes has seen his fair share of playing time tonight and made the third-down tackle to set up the field goal attempt.
24-10 Ole Miss: Kicker Bryson Rose converts a 40-yard field goal with 4:06 remaining to give the Rebels a 24-10 lead. The play was set up by a 51-yard pass-and-catch from Masoli to Ja-Mes Logan on third-and-10.
27-10 Ole Miss: Rose converts a 20-yard field goal with 18.7 seconds left in the first half to extend the Rebels’ lead. The drive was started thanks to a fumble recovery by Charles Sawyer in Ole Miss’ territory.
34-10 Ole Miss: That didn’t take long… Brandon Bolden broke free for a 71-yard TD run on the Rebels’ first play of the possession. Bolden hit the hole in the middle of the line and just took off, out-running the Bulldogs’ defense.
41-10 Ole Miss: After forcing the Bulldogs to punt from their 7-yard line, Jesse Grandy got involved in the scoring by returning the kick for a score. Grandy danced through the initial wave of Fresno State gunners and broke free for a 51-yard return. 12:30 remains in the third quarter.
41-17 Ole Miss: The Bulldogs retaliated on their next drive. Colburn avoided the four-man rush of Ole miss and found receiver Jamel Hamler open over the middle for a 9-yard score to cap 62-yard drive.
41-24 Ole Miss: Feels like I’ve seen this before. Masoli is intercepted by Fresno State’s Phillip Thomas, who returns the ball to Ole Miss’ 10-yard line. Three plays later, Colburn connects with Austin Raphael on a play-action pass for 3-yard TD. 7:00 remains in the third quarter.
48-24 Ole Miss: Masoli connects with Bolden rolling to his left with 9:42 remaining in the game for a 4-yard touchdown pass to extended the Rebels’ lead.
48-31 Ole Miss: With 7:29 remaining in the game Colburn hooked up with sophomore Tapa Taumoepeau for a 1-yard score on fourth-and-goal.
48-38 Fresno State: With 3:20 remaining, Fresno State’s Michael Harris found the end zone on a 4-yard run.
55-38 Fresno State: It was only fitting that Bolden would finish the Rebels’ scoring on the day with a 14-yard run around the left side of Ole Miss’ new-look offensive line. The score came with just 35 seconds remaining in the contest.
—RUNNING WILD: Brandon Bolden set a career-high in rushing yards with 228 on 19 attempts. Bolden’s 71-yard TD run was the longest of his career, surpassing the 45-yard scamper he had against Northern Arizona next year. Jeff Scott saw his first extended action of the season and rewarded the coaching staff by rushing for 74 yards on 11 carries. Scott’s 55-yard TD run was the longest TD run by an Ole Miss freshman since Mico McSwain broke free for a 60-yard score against Wyoming in 2005.
—MR. EFFICIENT: Fresno State’s Ryan Colburn completed 32 of 42 pass attempts for 390 yards and four scores. He was also sacked five times. Jamel Hamler led the Bulldogs with 130 yards and a score on eight receptions.
—DEBUTS: Several players made debuts for Ole Miss including receiver Terrell (T.O…even has No. 81) Grant, defensive end Delvin Jones and tight end Layton Jones. Patrick Junen, who had seen time on special teams, made his first career start at left guard. The 6-foot-8, 300-pound lineman called the start a surreal moment.
—OUT: Senior defensive end Kentrell Lockett went down early in the first quarter and it appears he has suffered a season-ending ACL injury according to coach Houston Nutt. (September 25, 2010)