for this game

Ole Miss upsets Texas Tech in Cotton Bowl

Jan 3, 2009 - 1:17 AM DALLAS (Ticker) -- In the final Cotton Bowl game played in Dallas, Mississippi spoiled Graham Harrell's collegiate swan song.

Jevan Snead threw three touchdown passes Friday as the 24th-ranked Rebels surprised No. 8 Texas Tech, 47-34, before a Cotton Bowl-record crowd of 88,175.

Next year, the Cotton Bowl shifts to the Dallas Cowboys' new stadium in Arlington.

Snead got the best of the more-heralded Harrell as the Rebels (9-4) continued their resurgence under first-year coach Houston Nutt, who guided Ole Miss to its first winning season since 2003.

"(It's) just extremely special to be able to come back home and get a win," said Snead, a native of nearby Stephenville, Texas. "It feels great. I'm from about an hour and a half from here, so I had a lot of family and friends in the stands. (I) just have to thank these coaches and my teammates for getting us this win."

Ole Miss ended the season with its first six-game winning streak since 2003, when Eli Manning led the Rebels to their last bowl appearance.

"I'm so proud of them," Nutt said. "Our seniors, they bought in, they took ownership. They represented the Ole Miss Rebels in a first-class way."

It was a bitterly disappointing conclusion to a banner season for Texas Tech (11-2), which started 10-0 and climbed to No. 2 in the national rankings before suffering a 65-21 loss at Oklahoma on November 22.

Friday marked the Rebels' second upset of a top-10 team this season. On September 27, Ole Miss shocked then-No. 4 Florida, 31-30, in "The Swamp."

"I wish we could keep this team and bring it back (next season), the same team," added Nutt, who guided Arkansas to the Cotton Bowl last season but didn't coach in the game after taking the Ole Miss job. "You can't leave. Bring it back one more time."

Harrell broke Colt Brennan's record for career touchdowns while becoming the first player in NCAA history to pass for 5,000 yards in multiple seasons.

Harrell threw four touchdowns and finished his career with 134 - three more than Brennan's total at Hawaii from 2005-2007. He completed 36-of-58 passes for a Cotton Bowl-record 364 yards.

However, Ole Miss did not allow any big plays and Harrell also tossed two interceptions, with cornerback Marshay Green returning the second one 35 yards for a touchdown to give the Rebels a 31-21 lead with 12:12 remaining in the third quarter.

Texas Tech converted a pair of early turnovers into touchdowns, grabbing a 14-0 lead on safety Darcel McBath's 45-yard interception return for a score with 5:22 left in the first period.

Once the Rebels shook off their early-game jitters, however, they shredded Texas Tech's defense, which had no answers for Mississippi's surprisingly potent offense.

"We had one of the best third-down defenses all year and we did not stop them in third down,"

Texas Tech defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill said.

Ole Miss scored touchdowns on its next three possessions and grabbed a 24-21 halftime lead on

Joshua Shene's 27-yard field goal with 1:08 remaining in the half.

Snead completed 18-of-29 passes for 292 yards, helping the Rebels amass more than 500 yards of total offense, including 347 in the first half.

"Coach Nutt came in and got us on the right track and got us to believe," said Ole Miss running Dexter McCluster, who set a career high with 190 yards in total offense.

Ole Miss extended its lead to 38-21 on Brandon Bolden's 17-yard TD run with just under seven minutes left in the third quarter. Bolden rushed for 101 yards on only 11 carries.

"Some occasions, maybe somebody was trying to do too much," Texas Tech defensive end Jake Ratliff said. "I don't know what it was. But some assignments were blown."

Harrell answered with a 12-yard TD pass to Edward Britton and Texas Tech appeared to get a huge break when the Rebels' Enrique Davis fumbled at the Red Raiders' 2-yard line with just over 10 minutes remaining.

However, Harrell was sacked in the end zone for a safety and McCluster added a 4-yard TD run, giving the Rebels a 47-28 lead.