OXFORD, Miss. (AP) -- With archrivals LSU and Mississippi State
on the horizon, there was every reason to think Mississippi might
be looking ahead Saturday against Division I-AA Northwestern State.
Ed Orgeron's Rebels, with their best offensive performance this
season, made sure that didn't happen with a methodical 27-7 win
over the Demons (4-5). The Rebels (3-7) snapped a three-game losing
streak with the win.
"Coach was worried all week if we would be able to get up for a
game like this," Ole Miss linebacker Patrick Willis said. "But we
The Rebels had 401 yards of total offense, the highest output in
Orgeron's two seasons as head coach. The combination of BenJarvus
Green-Ellis and Bruce Hall accounted for 201 yards and two
Green-Ellis, who has been slowed with a sore shoulder, finished
with 116 yards on 14 carries. He did not carry the ball in the
fourth period, giving way to the emerging Hall.
"It was a good one-two punch and it gives BenJarvus some
rest," said Orgeron, who played at Northwestern State. "We are
pleased with the way Bruce is coming along."
Hall, who finished with 85 yards on 12 carries, was more
concerned about the snapping of the losing streak than his personal
"It's definitely going to help our confidence going into the
LSU and Mississippi State games," Hall said. "We needed this
Brent Schaeffer was efficient at quarterback, hitting 13 of 23
passes for 175 yards, including a 35-yard scoring pass to Michael
Wallace for the game's final touchdown late in the third period.
The Ole Miss defense, with Willis making a game-high 11 tackles,
tightened its grip as the game wore on. Northwestern State had only
four first downs and 72 yards of offense in the second half.
The Rebels never trailed, although Northwestern State matched an
opening touchdown drive to tie the game at 7-7 early in the first
Green-Ellis scored on a 6-yard run to give Ole Miss a 7-0 lead
with 11:41 left in the first period. Northwestern State, 0-14
against the Southeastern Conference, countered with their best
series of the day, moving 85 yards in five plays. Roch Charpentier
threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Dudley Guice to finish the series.
Ole Miss dominated the rest of the way. The Rebels took a 17-7
halftime lead on a career-best 52-yard field goal from Joshua Shene
and a 22-yard scoring run by Hall in the second quarter.
Schaeffer was 3-for-3 for 43 yards on the second quarter
touchdown drive that sealed it, including a fourth-down conversion
on a 6-yard pass to Wallace.
"The score before halftime hurt us," Demons coach Scott Stoker
said. "We had the missed tackle that could have saved that. We
would have gone in down 10-7, and we get the ball back to start the
Instead, the Rebels scored on consecutive drives to open the
Shene had a 23-yard field goal, followed by the 35-yard
touchdown pass from Schaeffer to Wallace.
The Ole Miss defense controlled Northwestern State the rest of
the way, allowing a season-low seven points. Schaeffer, who gave
way to Seth Adams in the final period, led an efficient offense
that had only one turnover.
"We didn't make mistakes," Schaeffer said. "That was big and
we got the win. It feels good to get a victory. We needed it."