McCluster's long TD run stirs echoes

ARLINGTON, Texas – Dexter McCluster’s 86-yard TD run in Saturday’s third quarter brought to mind an infamous Cotton Bowl play.
Tommy Lewis came off the Alabama bench to tackle highly touted Rice running back Dickey Maegle in the ’54 Cotton Bowl.
“I would have made him miss,” McCluster joked.
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy was pleased with the way his defense performed against McCluster beyond the long TD run.
“When he jumped outside, our defense understood that a good angle on him was very important,” Gundy said. “He hit us with the big run, but for the most part our guys contained him very well.”
Subtract the long run, and he would have had 98 yards. That would have preserved the Cowboys’ 2009 streak of no 100-yard games by an opponent but would have been a season high by an OSU foe.
McCluster finished with 184 yards and two touchdowns on a career-high 32 carries. He also caught five passes for 45 yards.
Hodge sets record
– With 112 yards on seven catches, Shay Hodge became the school’s career leader in receiving yardage, with 2,646, passing the mark of 2,621 set by Chris Collins.
The Rebels tried to take advantage of the absence of Oklahoma State All-American cornerback Perrish Cox, suspended Friday for an undisclosed team rules violation.
The Cowboys started redshirt freshman Brodrick Brown instead.
“They covered better than I thought they would. They played a lot of off coverage, spotting us an extra eight to 10 yards,” Hodge said. ” We had to adjust to that, because we planned on throwing a lot of deep balls against them. We had to go back to our short game.”
Powe: ‘I scored’
– Give defensive tackle Jerrell Powe a career rushing total of no yards on two carries.
Powe lined up at fullback as Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt tried to beef up his goalline offense. Powe thought he crossed the goalline on third-and-goal from the 1 in the first quarter. He wasn’t as close on his second attempt.
“Oh, I scored. I know I scored. I was down there at the bottom with the ball across the line,” he said.
Linebacker Donald Booker was credited with the fourth down stop.
“I can honestly say I’ve never had to stop a 334-pounder,” Booker said. ” That was a big play. It let the know we were there to play.”
Booker led OSU with a game-high 13 tackles.
Teammate Andre Sexton, another linebacker, had 10 tackles, a tackle for loss and two sacks to take home defensive MVP honors.
Key drive
– The Rebels moved 34 yards in five plays to score on McCluster’s 2-yard run with 4:03 left in the game. The drive was set up after a fumble recovery by end Kentrell Lockett.
– “Jevan wasn’t having his best game and was turning it over. We had to make the tough move, but as it got tighter I needed the most experienced player I had.” – Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt on moving QBs Jevan Snead and Nathan Stanley in and out of the lineup.
Rebel ramblings
– Snead’s 168 yards passing gave him a Cotton Bowl-record 460 yards in two games. … Cassius Vaughn led Ole Miss with seven tackles. … Kendrick Lewis had four tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble. … Linebacker Patrick Trahan, playing in his third Cotton Bowl – including one with Auburn – had four tackles, a tackle for loss, a fumble recovery and an interception. He limped off the field after returning his fumble 34 yards for a TD … With a safety in last year’s Cotton Bowl, Trahan has scored eight points in the last two bowls.

Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal

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