COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Ole Miss defense was down a starter in the first half, but the Rebels responded in a big way.
Cornerback Mike Hilton moved to strong safety in place of Trae Elston who was suspended for the first half by Rebels coach Hugh Freeze.
Freshman Kendarius Webster started in place of Hilton at corner.
Ole Miss got off to a great start, holding the Aggies to only one first down on their first two possessions.
The Rebels’ offense helped out by scoring twice during that span, and the defense got into the scoring act early in the second quarter when Cody Prewitt returned a pick 75 yards to the end zone.
Linebacker Keith Lewis really applied pressure to the Aggies when he returned a fumble by quarterback Kenny Hill 21 yards for a 35-7 lead.
Texas A&M entered the game averaging 583.2 yards and 47.8 points.
The Aggies finished with 455 yards on 88 plays, but much of that came when defensive coordinator Dave Wommack was more than willing for his players to give up yards in front of them and not big plays behind them.
After three quarters A&M had 263 total yards and trailed 35-7.
The Aggies had more late opportunities for points and yards when Ole Miss twice followed A&M scores with three-and-out possessions in the final minutes.
“They’re a good D line. They did a lot of good stuff. They twisted us. They set us up. As an offensive line we’ve got to do better than that,” A&M offensive lineman Mike Matthews said.
Tony Conner led the Ole Miss defense with 11 tackles. He also had a tackle for loss and a pass break-up.
Webster finished with four tackles on the night.
Freshman defensive end Marquis Haynes had both of the Rebels’ sacks.
Ole Miss had seven tackles for loss and limited the Aggies to 54 rushing yards on 35 carries.
“We kept shooting ourselves in the foot. We sputtered on drives and made it that much harder on ourselves,” A&M offensive lineman Mike Matthews said.