OXFORD, Miss. (AP) -- BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for 127 yards
and two touchdowns to help Mississippi beat Memphis 28-25 on Sunday
in the season opener.
Dexter McCluster had 268 all-purpose yards in his debut and
scored a touchdown. The freshman caught six passes for 86 yards,
ran four times for 60 yards and returned five kickoffs for 122
The performance was fourth on the team's all-time single game
all-purpose yardage list. Saints running back Deuce McAllister
holds the record with 317 yards.
Brent Schaeffer connected on just 7-of-16 passes for 97 yards,
but he didn't turn the ball over and managed the game well for the
Rebels, who twice scored on fourth-and-1.
He also put the game out of reach with an 8-yard scoring run
with 7:07 left in the fourth. He set up the game-clinching
touchdown with first down passes of 11 yards to fullback Jason Cook
and 13 yards to McCluster.
Schaeffer picked up a key first down with a 5-yard scramble with
1:48 remaining in the game and Memphis threatening 28-25.
Memphis kept the game tight most of the way after jumping out to
a 7-0 lead on its first drive. Ole Miss went for it on fourth-and-1
from the Memphis 41 on its first drive and failed.
Tigers quarterback Martin Hankins drove the team downfield
quickly, then resorted to trickery on third-and-3 from the 8.
Hankins handed the ball to wide receiver Dave Thomas on what
appeared to be an end around. But Thomas pulled up short and tossed
the ball over the advancing defense to Carlos Singleton in the back
of the end zone with 6:59 remaining in the first quarter.
The Rebels answered on the first play of the second quarter with
a tricky formation on fourth-and-1 from the 31. McCluster lined up
in the backfield next to Schaeffer, who was under center. Schaeffer
handed the ball to McCluster, who slipped around the left side and
McCluster helped set up the score with an 8-yard pass reception
and a 12-yard end around on the drive.
The Rebels jumped to a 14-7 lead with heavy lifting from
Green-Ellis, who scored from 1 yard out with 6:10 left in the half.
He set up his own touchdown, running the ball for 31, 6 and 4 yards
on the three plays before the score.
But Memphis tied the score 14-14 on its next drive when Hankins
hit Ryan Scott as he ran a simple fly pattern down the right
sideline. He was left wide open by the Ole Miss defense and scored
from 49 yards out with 4:29 left in the half.
Green-Ellis began to pick up steam and batter the Tigers defense
with his 215-pound frame in the third quarter. He rushed for 22
yards on the Rebels' third scoring drive and capped it off with a
1-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal with 5:40 remaining in the