Hello from beautiful Oxford, where the weather is in the high 70s and there’s not a cloud in the sky. Kickoff against Jacksonville State is set for 2:35 p.m.It appears plenty of the fans at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium heeded the University’s request to wear white, as the majority of the stands is… wearing white.
Kentrell Lockett, in shorts, is still walking out to mid-field as one of Ole Miss’ captains. The senior defensive end is missing the game after spending the majority of the week in Cleveland, Ohio, where he visited with cardiac specialists and underwent a series of tests.
Other Ole Miss captains were Jerrell Powe, Johnny Brown and Jonathan Cornell.
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy did the pregame “Are You Ready?” (See picture above.)
LOOKING AROUND THE STATE: Former Ole Miss players Pat Patterson and Clayton Moore had solid junior college debuts facing one another on Thursday. In No. 5 Gulf Coast’s 40-21 win over No. 7 East Mississippi, Moore completed 11 of 22 passes for 189 yards and two scores, while EMCC’s Patterson caught a team-high seven passes for 79 yards. Moore had transferred from the Ole Miss program during the summer, while Patterson was dismissed from the team later in the summer.
7-0 Ole Miss: Quarterback Nathan Stanley connects with Melvin Harris on his first pass attempt for a 44-yard TD. Stanley eluded two Gamecocks to complete the pass while scrambling to his left.
14-0 Ole Miss: Stanley hits Jesse Grandy over the middle for a 31-yard TD with 9:25 remaining in the first quarter.
14-7 Ole Miss: Jacksonville State gets on the scoreboard via a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Stanley fumbled the ball and Jamison Wadley scooped and scored at the 2:30-mark of the first quarter.
17-7 Ole Miss: IT’S MASOLI TIME: QB transfer Jeremiah Masoli entered the game on the next Ole Miss possession and quickly went to work. After a 6-yard run by Enrique Davis, Masoli completed a play-action pass to Ferbia Allen for 10 yards and then gained 15 yards on a draw and another four yards on a scramble. The drive would stall at Jacksonville State’s 6-yard line and Ole Miss would have to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Bryson Rose with 13:01 remaining in the second quarter.
17-10 Ole Miss: Jacksonville State kicker James Esco converts a 45-yard field goal attempts with 9:01 remaining in the second quarter. Former Mr. Football and Ole Miss signee Tig Barksdale had two carries on the drive, including a 13-yard run.
24-10 Ole Miss: Stanley picks up his third TD pass of the game, connecting with Markeith Summers for an 18-yard strike with 7:00 remaining in the first half. The pass makes 133 total passing yards for Stanley in the game.
31-10 Ole Miss: Davis caps off the first half for Ole Miss by scoring on a 1-yard run up the middle. Masoli was the quarterback for Ole Miss’ final drive of the half, which took 5 :26 and covered 73 yards. Ja-Mes Logan made a nice grab on a wobbly throw from Masoli for a 22-yard gain to set up a first-and-goal from Jacksonville State’s 8-yard line.
HALFTIME LEADERS: Stanley: 5/6 133 yards 1TD; Masoli: 3/3 59 yards, 3 rushes/20 yards; Bolden: 7 rushes/40 yards, 1 reception for 34 yards; Enrique Davis: 9/39 yards, 1 TD… Tig Barksdale led JSU with 14 rushing yards on two rushes… Ole Miss has 192 yards passing and 131 yards rushing… JSU has 70 total yards of offense… Ole Miss has also scored on all three of its red-zone opportunities.
31-13 Ole Miss: Jacksonville State’s Esco converts a 44-yard field goal attempt with 5:07 remaining in the third quarter.
31-20 Ole Miss: JSU’s Calvin Middleton scores on a 2-yard run with 14:56 remaining in the game. JSU’s drive began courtesy of an interception from Masoli in the Gamecock’s territory.
31-26 Ole Miss: JSU continued its rally when QB Coty Blanchard found WR James Shaw in the end zone for a 4-yard TD. The Gamecocks’s 2pt conversion attempt failed when Jeffrey Cameron was pushed out of bounds.
34-26 Ole Miss: Rose converts 35-yard field goal with 2:55 left in the game.
34-34:With 18.9 seconds remaining in the game the Gamecocks tied the game when Marques Ivory completed a 19-yard pass to Alan Bonner over the middle of the field. Bonner spun off of a defender and found his way into the end zone to pull JSU within two points. On the ensuing 2-point conversion, Ivory was able to stall long enough for receiver La’Ray Williams to get open in the back of the end zone, before completing a pass to the junior to tie the game.
Ole Miss won the coin toss and opted to play defense first. In college football, each team gets an equal number of possessions to score from the 25-yard line.
41-34 Jacksonville State: Ivory completed a 7-yard TD pass on second-and-4 to Bonner to put the Gamecocks ahead and Esco converted the PAT.
41-41: With Masoli in at quarterback, the Rebels were able to tie the game when Brandon Bolden took a toss around the left side of the line on fourth-and-goal.
48-41 Ole Miss: On the next possession Ole Miss took a 48-41 lead with Enrique Davis doing the bulk of the work. The junior tailback had back-to-back 7-yard runs before punching in the ball from 2-yards out to give the Rebels a 48-41 lead.
HOW THE GAME WAS WON: 49-48 JACKSONVILLE STATE: The Ole Miss defense kept JSU from gaining any yards on its first three plays of the second overtime to force a fourth-and-15. Freshman QB Coty Blanchard rolled right and was able to find Kevyn Cooper in the back of the end zone to bring the score to 48-47. Instead of opting to kick the extra point, JSU coach Jack Crowe put his offense back on the field to go for two. On the ensuing play, Blanchard was able to get what looked like a hook-shot in basketball to running back Calvin Middleton with a Allen Walker in his face on the blitz. Middleton turned, put his shoulder down and was able to bounce his way into the end zone to complete the upset. JSU’s sideline spilled over onto the field and helmets were thrown in the air like it was graduation.
After the game, Ole Miss safety Damien Jackson took credit for the busted coverage on the fourth-and-long TD repeatedly saying it was his fault.
“I feel like I let them down,” he said. “It was my fault. It should not have happened. It won’t happen again.”
On the win, Crowe said, “I don’t believe you could repeat the circumstances again in a hundred years. You just couldn’t.”
He would later say, on choosing to go for two, that he did not think his team could go back out on the field and play defense.
Crowe, who knows what it feels like to be at a SEC school and lose to a Football Championship Subdivision team, still credited Houston Nutt and said he’d be surprised if the Rebels were not still in the running for the SEC West title. (When Crowe was coach at Arkansas the Razorbacks lost to The Citadel.)
(September 4, 2010)