(Saturday, January 2nd)
Final Score: Ole Miss 21, (21) Oklahoma State 7
Arlington, TX (Sports Network) - Dexter McCluster scored twice and had the go- ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter as Ole Miss took a 21-7 win over 21st-ranked Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl.
McCluster carried the ball 34 times, a Cotton Bowl record, for 184 yards while Jevan Snead went 13-for-23 with 168 yards and three interceptions with a lost fumble for the Rebels (9-4), who won this event for the second straight year after downing Texas Tech, 47-34, last year.
Shay Hodge finished the game with seven catches for 112 yards while Patrick Trahan had a fumble return for a touchdown for Ole Miss, which is 8-1 in its last nine bowl games and improved to 21-12, overall.
"I'm really proud of our team," said Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt. "It's hard to win back-to-back Bowls. It's very difficult. We have excellent preparation. I was really disappointed offensively, shaking my head for about three- quarters. But our defense, our defense, our defense was just outstanding."
Zac Robinson was picked off four times and also lost two fumbles as he was 13-for-31 with 118 yards for the Cowboys (9-4), who fell to 12-8 in bowl games. Keith Toston threw the only score of the game for Oklahoma State, to Wilson Youman.
"Obvioulsy the defense played a tremendous game," said Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy. "They continued to make plays and plays but we didn't give them a chance. Offensively we played a sloppy game. To use a term from another sport, too many unforced errors."
Ole Miss took the lead with 4:03 to play. After recovering a Robinson fumble at the Oklahoma State 34, Lionel Breaux caught a pass for eight yards and, after a one-yard loss, Snead took the ball eight yards to the 19-yard line. A McCluster three-yard carry was followed on a pass interference call to make it 1st-and-goal at the two and McCluster stretched the ball over the pylon for a 14-7 lead.
The Rebels then sealed the win on a defensive score as Hubert Anyiam fumbled the ball after a catch and Trahan took it 34 yards into the end zone for a 21-7 lead with 3:12 to play to seal the victory.
"I don't know what happened," said Trahan. "Basically we were in a defense, and they threw the pass. I was just running to the ball. I got lucky. I scooped and scored. I always told everybody, if I was gonna score what I was gonna do. Nobody believed me, so I made it happen."
After an exchange of punts to start the game, Ole Miss went on a long drive to get into scoring position, but came away empty.
A 22-yard catch by Hodge gave the Rebels a 1st-and-goal at the seven. Rushes of one yard and five yards from McCluster got the ball to the one-yard line. Ole Miss then brought in 340-pound defensive tackle Jerrell Powe to punch the ball in, but he was stuffed on third and fourth down to give Oklahoma State the ball back.
Ole Miss, though, did put the ball into the end zone in the second quarter. On the first play of the drive with the ball at the Ole Miss 14, McCluster took a handoff around the right end and sped his way to paydirt for a 7-0 lead with 11:19 left in the first half.
Midway through the third quarter, Andre Sexton picked off Nathan Stanley to give OSU the ball at the Ole Miss 12. With a 3rd-and-goal at the one, Toston took the snap and started to run, but stopped at the line of scrimmage and made a jump pass to Youman to tie the game with 7:13 left in the third.
In the game, McCluster became the first player in SEC history with 1,000 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving in the same season...There were a total of 12 turnovers in the game, seven from Oklahoma State...The only previous meeting between Oklahoma State and Ole Miss took place in the 2004 Cotton Bowl, and Eli Manning led the Rebels to a 31-28 victory in that contest.
01/02 21:26:53 ET