Moody, MSU and the Modern Era – What it all means

After Stefan Moody’s career-high 43 points against Mississippi State the question was raised on social media: What have been the most dominant individual performances by Ole Miss athletes in the modern era.

I saw this question as I was working on deadline and had little more time than to say, “Hmmm, interesting question.”

Minutes later it was answered by Chase Parham of with three that will be hard to argue with, but you can argue it depending on your definition of “modern.” The list includes Drew Pomeranz as a sophomore in the 2009 Oxford Regional championship game against Western Kentucky, running back Dexter McCluster against Tennessee later that fall in 2009 and now Moody.

After Ole Miss had won the first two games of the regional, Western Kentucky, a hard-hitting and dynamic offensive team that season, won the first of the two games it would have to win to advance.

Pomeranz came back on two days rest on a Monday night and threw a complete game two-hit shutout with 16 strikeouts.

McCluster had 324 all-purpose yards, 282 rushing yards and four touchdowns against the Vols in a 42-17 Ole Miss win. It just seemed like every time McCluster touched the ball that day it was a big play. Then-Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin would later say he thought his team set a record for missed tackles. That was also the return of former Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron to Ole Miss. He was a Vols assistant then. He was an LSU assistant this past season, so Ed is 0-2 playing against the Rebels in Oxford.

Moody was 11-for-24 from the floor, 6-for-12 from 3-point range and 15-for-18 from the free throw line. He finished with 43 points, six assists and eight turnovers. As is often the case, a couple of the turnovers would have been assists if handled cleaner by teammates. That’s not to say most of the turnovers weren’t earned. Moody, believe it or not, looked a little tight at the beginning and had five turnovers in the first five or six minutes of the game.

In a two-year career Moody would have faced MSU four times had he not missed this year’s Starkville game with the injured hamstring.

He was fairly average the first time he faced the Bulldogs. It was Jan. 28, 2015 in Oxford. Moody had 14 points. He was 5-for-15 from the floor and 0-for-5 from 3-point range.

It was a big turnaround for Moody in Starkville on Feb. 19 of last year when he had 29 points on 8-for-16 shooting, 8-for-12 from 3-point range.

So in Moody’s last two games against MSU, he goes 14-for-24 from 3-point range. The difference last night was that he was so effective in the lane and from mid-range. Twenty-five of his 43 points came from inside the arc. He was 15-for-18 at the free throw line. That’s a part of his game that was missing when he lit up the Bulldogs in Starkville a year ago.

Unless these two meet in the SEC tournament Moody will end his career averaging 28.6 points against MSU.

Now the question. When does the “modern era” begin?

Moody’s 43 points were the most by an Ole Miss player since Gerald Glass’ 53 in the famous shootout with LSU guard Chris Jackson at Tad Smith Coliseum, you guys remember that place don’t you, in 1988. Jackson had 55 points, but Ole Miss won 113-112 in overtime.

Speaking of the Glass-Jackson shootout, here you go:

Chris Jackson refused comment after the game.

Glass had 53 points on 20-for-36 shooting and 14 rebounds. I haven’t found a complete box score from that game. That was the third year of the 3-point line for college basketball. I doubt if Glass had as many turnovers in that game as Moody did, but Glass also wasn’t running the point.

Moody’s 43 only ties him for 13th among the highest-scoring games in school history. Johnny Neumann had 43 or more 10 times including 63 against LSU in 1971 which remains the school record. In addition to Neumann, Don Kessinger (twice) and Joe Gibbon also exceeded 43 points.

As a child of the 80s I probably tend to stretch the definition of “modern” more than most.

Certainly Moody’s performance is the best three decades. Modern may fit too.

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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  • Jim Galloway

    The “modern era” probably started in 1955 or ’56. My vote goes to Archie Manning vs Alabama, 1969: 33 for 52 for 436 yards passing and 15 rushes for 104 yards, 540 yards total offense in the very first prime time college football TV broadcast.

    • Parrish Alford

      I like the Archie vote. I’m still partial to the McCluster game. While Archie’s game was an elite performance, there was something different about watching a player of McCluster’s size baffle defenses the way he did. He rushed for 1,169 yards in 2009 and didn’t move to running back until about four games in. I wonder if he would have had the same success had he been able to play in 2010, and teams were getting a second look at him. They clearly were not ready for him in their first at-bat.

      • Jim Galloway

        My very favorite McCluster move came against Tennessee. DMC had several runs wide that he got downfield and when the safety finally came up, he cut quickly out of bounds. Later in the game, he had the same success on a sweep, but when the safety came up, Dexter faked to the sideline, then cut it up and scored on a long run. There was considerable Orange “laundry” left on the field.

  • Farm Hand

    I too agree with Jim Galloway – it would be Archie Manning and all his outstanding achievements while at Ole Miss

  • ripleyreb

    I was at the Glass/Jackson shoot-out. What a game,wow. Biggest crowd I ever saw in the Tad Pad. There were people outside that could not get in. A storm came up so they opened the doors to let the fans that were outside come in. People were sitting on the walkways and standing all around the top of the Tad Pad. Good thing the Fire Marshal wasn’t there. Most entertaining game that I have ever seen. There has been a lot of close games and over-time games, but that was a true Classic.

  • Farm Hand

    How about Rod Barnes – an All American Basketball player at Ole MIss and later a head coach there leading the rebels to its first and last ever sweet sixteen NCAA Tournament, Rod got the axe for his outstanding achievements;

    Rod Barnes (G, 1985-88)

    An honorable mention

    All-America pick by The Sporting News following his 1987-88 senior campaign …

    Selected to numerous All-SEC teams in 1988 and finished third in SEC Player of

    the Year voting by the league coaches … Averaged 19.0 points as a senior and

    became the first Ole Miss player to record 500 points, 100 rebounds and 100

    assists in one season … Finished his career with 1,201 points, while his 456

    career assists are second-most in Ole Miss history … Served as the Rebels’

    head coach from 1999-2006.

  • Farm Hand

    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi defensive lineman Breeland Speaks was
    arrested early Friday morning and charged with driving under the
    influence. Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department records show Speaks was
    arrested just after midnight and released at about 7 a.m. The 6-foot-3,
    313-pound sophomore played in all 13 games last season, starting two,
    and made 31 tackles. He’s expected to be one of the Rebels’ primary
    defensive tackles next season. Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze released a
    statement through the athletic department saying, “Breeland’s poor
    choice does not meet the expectations of our program, and there will be
    consequences. He and I have spoken, and he is very disappointed in
    himself and .

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