Jevan Snead threw three touchdowns, Brandon Bolden rushed for 105 yards and No. 5 Mississippi got a big game from a freshman linebacker D.T. Shackelford in a 52-6 win over Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday night.
The Rebels (2-0) won their eighth straight game _ their longest winning streak since they won 10 in 1971-72. But the offense and special teams needed plenty of help from Shackelford and the defense to erase several mistakes against an FCS opponent.
Ole Miss, which had about a third of its roster sick with swine flu symptoms during their off week, steps up in class next week with its Southeastern Conference opener at South Carolina on Thursday night.
Shackelford recovered two fumbles and finished off the scoring with a 58-yard interception return for touchdown against the Lions (2-1).
Snead completed 16 of 28 passes for 208 yards and Bolden averaged 8.1 yards per carry and was over 100 yards in the first half. But the Rebels starters were spotty before being pulled late in the third quarter.
The Rebels also struggled on special teams with Marshay Green fumbling two punt returns and Justin Sparks hitting back-to-back punts of 11 and 34 yards.
The Ole Miss defense continued to make plays, though. The Rebels forced five turnovers, turning three into 21 points and ending two scoring threats deep in Rebels territory. They held the Lions to 302 yards and didn't allow a single third-down conversion in 14 tries. Cassius Vaughn intercepted a pass deep in Rebels territory that kept the Lions off the scoreboard early.
The statistics show a good performance by the Ole Miss offense with 500 total yards and 258 yards rushing after going up 24-0 at halftime.
Snead threw two of his three touchdowns in the first half, extending his school record to eight straight games with multiple scoring passes. But he was 11-of-22 through the first two quarters, missed badly on several passes throughout and had an interception wiped out by a questionable pass interference call.
He got no help from his receivers, who dropped several passes. Markeith Summers had a touchdown pass glance off his hands in the end zone, forcing the Rebels to settle for a field goal. And Lionel Breaux dropped a wide-open pass that would have gone for significant yardage.
Still, Ole Miss simply had too much talent and speed for the Lions.
The Rebels scored more than 40 points for the fourth straight game, a school record.
Bolden was a beast in the first half. He broke tackles at the line of scrimmage and downfield and set up Ole Miss' first touchdown with an athletic run that included a whiplash-inducing stiff-arm and a burst of speed at the corner.
Like the season-opening 31-point win at Memphis, though, the game left some reasons for fans to be concerned about the most anticipated season at Ole Miss since the 1970s.
The Rebels were herky jerky, reverting to the kind of mistakes that cost them three wins last season. And most of their points were set up by Southeastern Louisiana mistakes.