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Saturday, September 4, 2010
Ole Miss goes down ... hard

By Chris Low

What had been an awful week for Ole Miss got a lot better when quarterback Jeremiah Masoli won his appeal Friday to be eligible this season.

And then on Saturday, the bottom fell out again.

Jacksonville State, an FCS school, shocked the Rebels 49-48 in double overtime. Jacksonville State could have kicked the PAT, which would have sent the game into a third overtime, but chose to go for the two-point conversion and the win.

When Jacksonville State converted on a short pass, Ole Miss nose tackle Jerrell Powe slammed his helmet to the turf.

It might as well have been the Rebels' season, too.

Losing to an FCS school at home is one thing. But the Rebels were leading 31-10 at the half, and people were leaving the stadium to get a head start on the post-game tailgating.

The most incredible thing about the loss, though, was how Ole Miss' defense could give up so many points. The Rebels have been outstanding the past two seasons defensively under Tyrone Nix. They were missing senior defensive end Kentrell Lockett, and Jacksonville State carved them apart in the second half.

Offensively, Houston Nutt elected to go with Masoli at quarterback down the stretch. That's after Nathan Stanley started the game and played well. Stanley threw three touchdown passes and wasn't intercepted, although he did lose a fumble.

The Rebels hurt themselves with three turnovers. Still, giving up 39 points after halftime -- to an FCS school -- is inexcusable.

Last week wasn't a fun time to be in Oxford. Next week will be even worse.