Louisiana Tech showed a balanced offense and scored two defensive touchdowns in a 27-7 win on homecoming at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Nutt was dismissed as Ole Miss coach on Monday, two days after a 30-13 loss at Kentucky, but agreed to coach the final three games.
“It’s very hard, the situation we’re in, and it seems like when things go wrong they snowball. That’s where we are,” Nutt said.
Offense was a struggle for Ole Miss, particularly at quarterback.
Randall Mackey fumbled three times, two were recovered by the Bulldogs, one returned 33 yards for a touchdown by defensive back Chad Boyd.
That gave Tech a 20-7 lead with 3 minutes, 49 seconds left in the third quarter.
Then with 11:45 to play, Zack Stoudt’s first pass was picked and returned 25 yards for a score by Javontay Crowe.
Ole Miss was outgained 351-308.
“Mackey didn’t play his game tonight, and that hurt,” Nutt said. “The defense did some good things, but you’ve got to score points. I hate the way we played tonight.”
The Rebels lost their fifth straight to fall to 2-8. La. Tech – which previously lost at Southern Mississippi and Mississippi State this season – won its fifth straight to improve to 6-4.
Ole Miss scored on a Mackey-to-Brandon Bolden pass of 34 yards with 8:53 left in the first quarter.
Tech missed some opportunities in the first half but tied the game with 3:32 left in the first half on a 21-yard pass from Colby Cameron to Taulib Ikharo, who got behind two defenders near the back line of the end zone.
It appeared the Rebels might get to halftime in a 7-7 game after punting the Bulldogs back to their 5 with less than a minute on the clock.
But on first down walk-on running back Hunter Lee got loose on the right side for 48 yards. Tech efficiently worked the clock for a manageable field goal attempt, and Matt Nelson knocked it through from 36 yards on the last play of the half. He’d missed his first two attempts.
Nelson was good from 35 yards to give Tech a 13-7 lead, and Boyd’s return sent scattering many in the remnants of a 44,123 crowd.
Tech had not returned a fumble for a touchdown in 10 years.
After Bolden’s touchdown the team’s traded missed field goals.
The Rebels forced a fumble from Tech tailback Lennon Creer, and Cody Prewitt recovered at the Tech 41.
Ole Miss reached the Tech 11 but after a first-down incompletion went backwards on successive plays, and Bryson Rose was wide left on a 36-yard field goal attempt.
Nelson missed field goal attempts of 35 and 40 yards in the second quarter, the latter after the Bulldogs recovered a fumble by Mackey at the Ole Miss 22.
Tech finally tied the game at 7 on Cameron’s 21-yard pass to Taulib Ikharo with 3:32 left in the half. Ikharo got behind two defenders near the back line of the end zone.
The Bulldogs had just taken control of field position to set up a 37-yard drive. The Rebels were pinned at their 2 with a 59-yard punt. They went three-plays-and-out, Tech got a nifty punt return.
Ikharo’s catch made it 7-7 with 3:32 left in the half.