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Rebels earn first victory behind Scott’s four touchdowns

Petre Thomas

 

Ole Miss sophomore running back Jeff Scott had three touchdowns in the first quarter of what looked to be the start of a blowout win for the Rebels.

In the end, Ole Miss hung on to secure a 42-24 win over the Southern Illinois Salukis, bringing back relapses of last week’s fourth quarter collapse.

“There’s nothing like winning,” Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt said. “Winning is very precious. I am proud to be in the locker room celebrating with these guys. We have to learn to win. I was really proud of how hard out guys played.”

Scott’s first score of the day came on a 37-yard touchdown run when the speedster got around the edge of the Saluki defense on the team’s first possession of the game.

On the Salukis’ first possession, senior defensive end Wayne Dorsey batted a pass from Southern Illinois junior quarterback Paul McIntosh pass up in the air, intercepted the ball and returned it to the Salukis’ four-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Scott punched it in for his second touchdown of the game.

After the defense forced a three-and-out on the Salukis’ next possession, it was more fireworks from Scott when he returned a punt 67 yards for a touchdown to put the Rebels on top 21-0.

The Salukis put 10 points up on the board before the half, while the Rebels added another score on a three-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Zack Stoudt, who finished the game 11-for-18 for 118 yards, to junior tight end Jamal Mosley.

The second half began on sophomore safety Charles Sawyer’s second interception of the season and one of the defense’s four interceptions in the game. On the next drive, senior cornerback Marcus Temple intercepted a pass that would lead to another touchdown for Scott, a seven-yard touchdown run.

Scott ended the game with 210 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns.

“It feels extremely good to get that first win,” said Scott. “It’s been a big disappointment because we knew we were supposed to get the win last week. We just have to keep moving forward, and tonight, we went out and did that.”

The Salukis made things interesting when they got a couple of touchdowns on two passes from McIntosh. The first came to sophomore fullback Rik Hicks from one yard out.

The next time out for the Salukis’ offense, junior running back Steve Strother busted a 74-yard run up the middle. Senior safety Damien Jackson halted the drive with an interception in the end zone for a touchback.

The Salukis cut the lead to 35-24 with 6:39 left in the game on a 31-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Cam Fuller.

The Rebels finally put the game away as they pounded to ball on the ground on a 7-play, 64-yard drive, ending in a three-yard touchdown run from junior running back Devin Thomas.