Ole Miss overwhelms Tulane 39-0
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Chief Brown's diving interception in the end zone in the final minutes set off exuberant celebrations on the Mississippi sideline, even though the Rebels had led by more than three touchdowns since the first quarter.
For Ole Miss, winning at winless Tulane was not enough. The Rebels' defense sought redemption after a loss last week in which Texas put up 66 points, and Brown's drive-ending play punctuated a confidence-restoring 39-0 victory over the Green Wave on Saturday.
"One goal for the week was getting a shutout and that's exactly what every defensive player wanted to do," said Ole Miss linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche, who also had an interception. "It was big-time for us. We need this confidence."
Mississippi's offense had its share of highlights as well, piling up 304 yards on the ground, including a pair of touchdowns by Jeff Scott. Mississippi's Bo Wallace was 7 of 16 for 101 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown pass to Donte Moncrief. Randall Mackey and Ja-Mes Logan each added running touchdowns.
But it was clear that coach Hugh Freeze took particular satisfaction in the play of his defense in its final game before opening its Southeastern Conference schedule against top-ranked Alabama next weekend.
"It was huge," Freeze said. "We needed some confidence there. I thought our confidence was shaken a bit last week and obviously, we're still young at a lot of spots and we're fixing to get into a great stretch of football teams.
"Anytime you can pitch a shutout at this level, you have to gain some confidence from it."
The Rebels (3-1) constantly pressured Green Wave freshman quarterback Devin Powell. Making his first start, Powell was sacked three times and threw three interceptions.
"He struggled a little bit," Tulane coach Curtis Johnson said of Powell. "He had poor body language a couple of times, but he can still get better. This was his first true start. He'll get better."
Tulane (0-3) also struggled to run, finishing with 14 net yards, a statistic that served as another morale boost for the Ole Miss defensive front.
"Last week, defensively, we just had a meltdown," Mississippi defensive end C.J. Johnson said. "To bounce back with a shutout this week is real big for us."
Playing for the first time since safety Devon Walker fractured his spine at Tulsa on Sept. 8, Tulane wore Walker's No. 18 on one side of its helmets. The similarly supportive Rebels had small "DW" stickers on their helmets.
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