OXFORD, Miss. – There would be no second-half collapse for the Mississippi Rebels. Brandon Bolden made sure of that.
Bolden rushed for a career-high 228 yards on 19 carries, including a 71-yard touchdown on the opening play of the third quarter as the Rebels defeated previously unbeaten Fresno State 55-38.
The Rebels (2-2), who wilted in the second half of home losses to Jacksonville State and Vanderbilt, built an insurmountable 41-10 lead early in the third quarter. Ole Miss scored on six of seven offensive series that carried into the second half, erasing an early 7-0 deficit.
Ole Miss rolled up 578 yards of total offense, including 425 on the ground against a Fresno State unit that ranked among the nation's leaders entering the game. The Bulldogs had given up only 272 yards per game and allowed only one touchdown in the second half.
The Rebels erased that statistic on Bolden's first carry on the second half, breaking cleanly through the middle of the Fresno State defense for the touchdown. Four plays later, Jesse Grandy had a 50-yard punt return touchdown.
Fresno State (2-1) rallied with Ryan Colburn, who finished 32-for-42 for 390 yards and four touchdowns. The Bulldogs finished with 420 yards in total offense, but were hampered by five sacks, a lost fumble and a blocked field goal attempt.
Jalen Saunders, Jamel Handler, Austin Raphael and Tapa Taumoepeau had touchdown catches of 16, 9, 3 and 2 yards, respectively, for the Bulldogs. Michael Harris added a 2-yard touchdown run, but Fresno State never got closer than 10 points in the final period.
Ole Miss quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was an efficient 8-for-12 passing for 153 yards with touchdown passes to Melvin Harris for 30 yards and Bolden for four yards. Masoli added 59 rushing yards, including an early 56-yard run that set up the opening touchdown.
Enrique Davis, Jeff Scott and Bolden scored on runs of 8, 55 and 14 yards, respectively. Scott added 92 yard on 11 carries, while Bolden capped his performance by recovering the final onsides kick by Fresno State.
Linebackers Jonathan Cornell and Allen Walker were the beneficiaries of the early lead, with Cornell finishing with 12 tackles and Walker with 10. Walker had a pair of sacks, while Cornell added two tackles for loss.