By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Ahead 35-10 in the third quarter, Ole Miss watched a Football Championship Subdivision opponent scored 14 unanswered points.
With Southern Illinois trailing 35-24, the outcome was very much in doubt with 6 minutes, 39 seconds left in the third quarter.
It was a scene many Ole Miss players saw play out on opening day in 2010, but one thing the Rebels weren’t thinking about at the end of the third quarter was Jacksonville State.
“We weren’t thinking about that at all,” said senior defensive end Wayne Dorsey. “All we were thinking about was finishing. That’s been the emphasis with coach (Tyrone) Nix and coach (Keith) Burns.”
Jacksonville State rallied from a 31-10 deficit to win 49-48 in two overtimes last year.
“We weren’t thinking about that,” linebacker Mike Marry said. “We want to keep that in the past. We had to keep pushing, keep our enthusiasm like it was the first play of the game.”
Nix happy with win
After a solid showing in a loss in the opener against BYU, the Ole Miss defense gave up 420 yards and a handful of big plays along the way. Southern Illinois had a 74-yard run, a 53-yard pass completion and other plays of more than 20 yards.
“We knew they were an explosive team with explosive players,” defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix said. “Last week we had good-looking stats and lost the game. I’ll take the win every time.”
The Rebels also had four interceptions.
The last time Ole Miss picked off four passes in one game was the Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma State following the 2009 season. Ole Miss has five interceptions in two games. The Rebels didn’t have five interceptions last season until the 11th game.
Freshman cornerback Senquez Golson was a surprise starter in place of Wesley Pendleton.
A junior college transfer, Pendleton had a solid debut last week. He entered the game in the second quarter.
Nix said Golson’s start had to do with an “internal matter.”
Dorsey made the correct read on a screen pass, got off a block, then tipped the ball to himself for the first interception. It came on the Salukis’ first drive. Dorsey returned it to the SIU 4 and set up a short touchdown run for Jeff Scott.
167 – The Rebels had 167 yards in the return game. Scott had a 67-yard punt return touchdown, and freshman Tobias Singleton returned three kicks for 75 yards, a long of 34.
The Rebels put the game out of reach with a seven-play, 64-yard drive, capped by a 3-yard touchdown run by Devin Thomas with 1:28 left in the game. Every play was a run, one of them a 25-yard keeper by quarterback Randall Mackey.
“We knew they had one of the best return guys in Jeff Scott. That wasn’t something that was lost on us, but the punt return for a touchdown was very disappointing.” – Southern Illinois coach Dale Lennon
Scott finished with 210 all-purpose yards. … He became the first Ole Miss player to scored three touchdowns in one quarter since running back Randy Baldwin in 1990. … Freshmen C.J. Johnson and Tobias Singleton played for the first time. Johnson finished with one tackle. … In addition to Dorsey, Charles Sawyer, Marcus Temple and Damien Jackson had interceptions for Ole Miss. … For the second time, linebacker Mike Marry shared the lead in tackles. He had eight, along with spur Aaron Garbutt.