Ole Miss easily defeats Samford

Published 9:57 pm Saturday, September 13, 2008

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — It wasn’t the kind of start that Mississippi coach Houston Nutt was looking for Saturday night, but the Rebels proved they could finish with a 34-10 win over Samford.

“It was a rocky start,” Nutt said. “But we closed well. The second and third quarters were very good. Samford played well, and we’re proud to get this one.”

Samford (2-1), which plays in the Southern Conference, made it interesting until the final four minutes of the second quarter.

The Bulldogs held a 7-6 advantage, scoring on a 13-yard run by Riley Hawkins after Jeremy Richardson set up the touchdown with a 36-yard interception return.

“I think we gained a lot of confidence,” Hawkins said. “We played very good in the first half.”

Ole Miss (2-1) answered with 31 consecutive points in the next 20 minutes to make it a blowout.

The Rebels assumed control with consecutive touchdown drives of 53, 91 and 63 yards late in the second quarter and early in the third quarter.

The Rebels led 20-7 at halftime as Brandon Bolden and Cordera Eason had touchdown runs of 6 and 12 yards, respectively.

Jevan Snead, who finished 13 of 24 for 222 yards, was especially sharp in the decisive scoring drives, going 4 of 5 for 102 yards.

“I am pretty disappointed in my play,” Snead said. “I feel like I can play better. I felt like the team did a good job. Any time you get a win, you have to be happy with that.”

The Rebels dominated the second half, scoring on the opening series on a 5-yard run by Enrique Davis.

Ole Miss added a 77-yard punt return touchdown by Marshay Green, turned in a goal line stand and finished with 422 yards of total offense.

“Marshay gave us life with that return,” Nutt said. “To hit it like he did was really spectacular.”

Samford’s John Paul Fraites kicked a 35-yard field goal with 5:03 left to cap the scoring.

The Bulldogs finished with 198 yards of total offense, did not have a turnover and had a pair of interceptions, but could not match Ole Miss in the final 35 minutes.

“I didn’t know how we would be, but I was proud of our guys,” Samford coach Pat Sullivan said. “Give Ole Miss credit. We didn’t do what we came over here to do, which was win a football game, but we are growing.”