n Great defense by the Rebels. It was a dominant performance for 31-2 quarters, the best collective performance of The Orgeron Era. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis gave the hard-working, productive effort that has defined his career. Receivers got open behind the MSU secondary.
n Quarterback Brent Schaeffer was unable to connect with open receivers. While the Bulldogs had gained momentum in a 14-7 game, the defense had no chance to protect the lead after special teams gave up a line drive punt and a subsequent 75-yard touchdown return.
n The decision to go for a first down on fourth-and-1 from his own 49 backfired on Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron and put his defense in a bad position.
Reviewing the three game keys noted in Friday’s GameDay preview section:
n 1. Block Brown: Great players like MSU defensive end Titus Brown usually leave their mark on a game. Brown had eight tackles, 11-2 for loss and two quarterback pressures. But his big plays were spaced out, and he did not control the game.
n 2. Involve the receivers: The Rebels’ very talented and efficient receiving corp did not get involved. There were only 10 pass completions on the day. Receivers more than once got open behind the MSU secondary, but Schaeffer could not connect. Late in the fourth when the Rebels were needing a first down, Shay Hodge and Dexter McCluster both had to leap high to get their hands on a ball. The result was time for the defensive back to close, deliver a hard hit and force an incompletion.
n 3. Pressure Carroll: There were mixed results here. Carroll was horrid early, to the point of being benched. But when the Bulldogs went to the spread with time running out, there wasn’t enough pressure from the Rebels. Ole Miss linebacker Ashlee Palmer did manage an interception on State’s potential game-tying drive. But when the Rebels couldn’t get a first down, Pegues’ 75-yard punt return followed.
Rebels’ MVP of the game
n Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis finished strong with his fifth 100-yard game of the season, totaling 117 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries.
Play of the Game
n For all Green-Ellis accomplished, he was smothered for a 3-yard loss on fourth-and-1 from the Ole Miss 49 with roughly 10 minutes to play. It was the game’s turning point.
n The Rebels turn in their gear, and athletics director Pete Boone begins his search for a new head coach.