"Defense won, not even close today," first-year coach Dan Mullen said after the 100-play session.
The Bulldogs' D finished with eight sacks, three interceptions and an 80-yard fumble return for touchdown by sophomore cornerback Damein Anderson. Still, they weren't happy with letting the offense score four late touchdowns in first-and-goal situations.
"When you've got them down, you've got to keep them down, and we didn't do that today," senior linebacker Jamar Chaney said.
The offense was plainly struggling with the spread offense Mullen is installing. Quarterbacks Tyson Lee and Chris Relf were a combined 14-for-37 for 120 yards and two touchdowns, both thrown by Lee.
"I thought our backs ran hard, but you just see the obvious lack of playmakers," Mullen said. "We just need to get some playmakers here."
MSU returns to the practice field Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.
Rebels' defense sets tone for first major scrimmage
n OXFORD - A crowd of about 600 fans, coaches and recruits watched the Ole Miss defense stand out Saturday in the Rebels' first major scrimmage of spring football drills.
With a group of rising high school seniors on campus for "Junior Day" and a number of prep coaches on hand for Ole Miss' coaching clinic, the Rebels did some positional work on the practice fields before joining together for some game-like situations inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
"It was a good overall day," said Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt. "We took it another step, but we all have to be better. We have to coach better, play better and concentrate better."
The defense set the tone early, as junior cornerback Jeremy McGee retured a Jevan Snead interception with a 50-yard touchdown pass.
"Our secondary has more confidence this year," said Nutt.
"Defense is always ahead, and I thought they did a good job of chasing the ball," Nutt said. "We have to be better tacklers. We have to get better at lining up and playing faster."
Snead settled into some good work after the pick, hitting Markeith Summers fora 10-yard touchdown.
Nutt was displeased with the lack of consistency from the receivers.
"We stopped ourselves," he said. "There were a lot of dropped balls that would have been first downs. That makes it awfully tough."
Ole Miss returns to the practice fields Monday at 3:50 p.m.