Indians reflect on rout by Ole Miss

Updated: October 13, 2003, 4:35 AM ET

OXFORD, Miss. -- The Arkansas State Indians did a bit of soul-searching on the long road back to Jonesboro, Ark., smarting from a 55-0 rout at the hands of Ole Miss Saturday.

It was a lopsided contest in a lopsided series, with Arkansas State falling victims to a brutal passing game put on by the Rebels' Eli Manning, who was 23 of 36 passes for 306 yards and three touchdowns in three quarters.

Ole Miss (4-2) leads the series 19-1-2, having now recorded its highest point total and largest margin of victory over the Indians (3-4).

At the very least, the defeat will be educational for second-year ASU head coach Steve Roberts.

"Hopefully there will be a point where we can look back and say, 'Hey, we realized where we are and what we have to do to be successful," Roberts said. "We had a good talk in there in our locker room after the game. That's what we've got to do."

The Rebels (4-2) confirmed their status as the Southeastern Conference's leading offensive team, with 582 total yards, nearly 100 above their pregame average.

"He's one of the best quarterbacks I've ever played against," ASU quarterback Elliott Jacobs said of Manning. "Whether he was born to do it or what, I think he's hard working. You can tell he takes the leadership role of their offense and moves them."

The Ole Miss defense was successful in shutting down ASU's running game, which had previously averaged 198.5 yards, allowing just 54 yards on 28 attempts Saturday.

The Indians finished with 235 yards (only 84 in the second half) and threatened to score only once, on a 71-yard drive to the 5-yard line in the second quarter. They stalled and Eric Neihouse hit a 21-yard field goal attempt off the upright.

The Indians look forward to a bye week before starting a string of Sun Belt Conference games at Utah State on Oct. 25. They're hoping the down time will sort some things out.

"We need to get our swagger back. Something is missing," senior safety Casey Venters said. "We've got guys who are confident on our team, we've got a lot of guys who have played who are confident guys. We need to come together and jell together."

"We proved that when we play like we're capable of playing, it's fun," Roberst said Saturday. "This today wasn't any fun. We've got to get back to that point."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index