Scores

Final

Memphis 24

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Ole Miss 41

(1-0, 1-0 home)

7:00 PM ET, August 30, 2008

Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS

1 2 3 4 T
MEM 7 3 0 1424
MISS 14 13 7 741

Top Performers

Passing: J. Snead (MISS) - 185 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: B. Bolden (MISS) - 8 CAR, 76 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: S. Hodge (MISS) - 2 REC, 79 YDS, 2 TD

Ole Miss tops Memphis to give Nutt win in debut

Associated Press

OXFORD, Miss. -- Jevan Snead hit Shay Hodge with touchdown passes of 64 and 15 yards and Mississippi beat Memphis 41-24 Saturday night in Houston Nutt 's debut as Rebels coach.

With all eyes on Snead, making his first start, and Nutt, it was Dexter McCluster who provided the spark with 125 total yards and a touchdown run out of Ole Miss' new Wild Rebel formation.

Despite Snead's long touchdown to Hodge in the first quarter, the Rebels struggled early. McCluster, working out of the shotgun in the same "Wildcat" role played by Darren McFadden under Nutt the last two seasons at Arkansas, got Ole Miss rolling with a 32-yard run around the right end for a touchdown and a 14-7 lead late in the first quarter.

It was the first time Ole Miss scored 40 points against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent since a 43-40 win over South Carolina on Nov. 1, 2003.

The Wild Rebel had a lot to do with the point total. Ole Miss rolled up 148 yards on 10 plays out of the formation and capped off the scoring with a 10-yard run from freshman tailback Brandon Bolden. He debuted with 61 of his 76 yards rushing coming in the new formation and hit Snead with a 37-yard pass out of the shotgun.

McCluster finished with 64 yards rushing -- 50 out of the Wild Rebel -- and four catches for 61 yards receiving.

Nutt was hired last November to restore fan enthusiasm and field a team that was more prepared on game day after 10 wins in three seasons under Ed Orgeron. With 56,127 fans in the stands and players making few mistakes, about the only setback for Nutt was the overeager fan who surprised him with a chestbump as the team made its way through The Grove a few hours before kickoff.

Snead's debut was solid, though not particularly sharp as he completed 10 of 22 passes for 185 yards. He made few mistakes, but overthrew several receivers in his first action since 2006 when he played in a handful of games for Texas before sitting out last season under NCAA transfer rules.

And Nutt appears to have made a difference for the Southeastern Conference's last-place defense. The Rebels intercepted two passes, setting up two field goals by Joshua Shene, and held Memphis in check except for a late 43-yard touchdown pass from Will Hudgens to Maurice Jones and a 1-yard scoring dive by Hudgens once the game was out of hand.

Hudgens and starter Arkelon Hall struggled. Hall finished with 159 yards passing before leaving due to injury and Hudgens passed for 102 yards. Each threw an interception.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
MEM
MISS
1st Downs2819
Total Yards453438
Passing265222
Rushing188216
Penalties8-504-45
3rd Down Conversions8-167-12
4th Down Conversions2-40-0
Turnovers20
Possession33:4026:20

Passing Leaders

MemphisC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Hall15/271595.901
Ole MissC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Snead10/221858.420

Rushing Leaders

MemphisCARYDSAVGTDLG
Steele15835.5025
Hall7385.4012
Ole MissCARYDSAVGTDLG
Bolden8769.5136
McCluster66410.7132

Receiving Leaders

MemphisRECYDSAVGTDLG
Singleton68914.8042
Jones36120.3143
Ole MissRECYDSAVGTDLG
Hodge27939.5264
McCluster46115.3028

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERMEMMISS
TD08:20Shay Hodge 64 Yd Pass From Jevan Snead (Joshua Shene Kick)
Drive: 7 plays, 97 yds, 3:07
07
TD03:07Earnest Williams 3 Yd Pass From Will Hudgens (Matt Reagan Kick)
Drive: 9 plays, 77 yds, 5:13
77
TD00:56Dexter Mccluster 32 Yd Run (Joshua Shene Kick)
Drive: 5 plays, 60 yds, 2:11
714
SECOND QUARTERMEMMISS
TD08:42Enrique Davis 1 Yd Run (Joshua Shene Kick)
Drive: 10 plays, 80 yds, 5:07
721
FG01:59Joshua Shene 26 Yd
Drive: 6 plays, 58 yds, 2:14
724
FG00:48Joshua Shene 47 Yd
Drive: 4 plays, 4 yds, :50
727
FG00:00Matt Reagan 39 Yd
Drive: 5 plays, 37 yds, :47
1027
THIRD QUARTERMEMMISS
TD08:13Shay Hodge 15 Yd Pass From Jevan Snead (Joshua Shene Kick)
Drive: 9 plays, 59 yds, 3:43
1034
FOURTH QUARTERMEMMISS
TD14:51Maurice Jones 43 Yd Pass From Will Hudgens (Matt Reagan Kick)
Drive: 5 plays, 65 yds, 1:40
1734
TD09:12Brandon Bolden 10 Yd Run (Joshua Shene Kick)
Drive: 5 plays, 66 yds, 2:19
1741
TD03:28Will Hudgens 1 Yd Run (Matt Reagan Kick)
Drive: 13 plays, 78 yds, 5:44
2441