NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Tulane emerged from the Superdome tunnel with the No. 18 on one side of its helmets in honor of injured safety Devon Walker, whose locker was symbolically stocked with his pads and uniform.
The Green Wave wanted to win for Walker, a senior leader who fractured his spine against Tulsa two weeks earlier, and fans wearing white shirts with Walker's number printed in green were eager to see that happen.
Mississippi also affixed small "DW" stickers to its helmets, but that is as supportive as the Rebels were willing to be. The Ole Miss defense overwhelmed Tulane freshman quarterback Devin Powell, and the Rebels seemingly ran at will in a 39-0 victory over the Green Wave on Saturday.
"It was very emotional," said Tulane defensive back Darion Monroe, normally a cornerback who had moved into Walker's safety spot. "We wanted to win this game for him. It's unfortunate that we couldn't do it."
The Rebels (3-1) constantly pressured Powell, who was sacked three times and threw three interceptions in his first start.
"He struggled a little bit," Tulane coach Curtis Johnson said. "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."
Powell finished 22 of 41 for 145 yards.
"I have to keep focusing and stay in the right frame of mind," he said. "I just have to keep my composure a little better."
Tulane (0-3), playing without top running back Orleans Darkwa because of his ankle sprain, managed only 14 net yards on the ground, leaving Johnson searching for answers.
"We have to figure out what we can do and do it. We've tried almost every conceivable run," Johnson said. "I don't know if there's anything easier to be done."
The Green Wave, losers of 13 straight dating to last season, were 2 of 16 on third-down conversions. Tulane's longest running play was 10 yards on Powell's scramble early in the fourth quarter.
Ole Miss had no such problems, piling up 304 yards rushing, including a pair of Jeff Scott touchdown runs. 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.