Ole Miss wins

Published 11:12 pm Saturday, November 3, 2007

BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for 120 yards and three touchdowns as Mississippi snapped a three-game losing streak Saturday with a 38-31 win over Northwestern State.

The Rebels (3-7) held a precarious 17-14 lead over the Football Championship Subdivision opponent in the third quarter. Mike Wallace extended the lead with a 77-yard kickoff return for a touchdown for Ole Miss.

The point total was the most for Ole Miss since a 31-28 win over South Carolina in 2004. But the Rebels struggled, allowing the Demons (3-6) to rally with two late scores, and had to bleed away the last 3:16 to preserve the win.

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It was a homecoming victory for the Rebels and the 10th career win for third-year coach Ed Orgeron, coming on the heels of a vote of confidence from the university administration. Still, Rebels fans showed displeasure with the team’s performance by staying away. The announced attendance was 23,283, less than half capacity.

Ole Miss built a 17-0 first-quarter lead with 222 yards of total offense and Green-Ellis’ touchdown runs of 41 and 25 yards.

Northwestern State pulled within 17-14 in the opening six minutes of the second half on a 28-yard reverse by Tyler Cheramie and a 16-yard pass from Germayne Edmond to Adam Varnado.

Ole Miss answered with Wallace’s kickoff return and a 10-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Brent Schaeffer to Shay Hodge that made it 31-14.

Defensive tackle Peria Jerry intercepted a pass to set up Green-Ellis’ 4-yard scoring run with 12:01 left for a 38-17 cushion. The Rebels forced three turnovers, converting two into second-half touchdowns.

But Northwestern State scored twice in the final eight minutes to make the game close. Edmond scored on a 3-yard run, followed by a 37-yard touchdown pass from Drew Branch to Kedrin Seastrunk with 3:16 left.

Ole Miss will have an off date this week before hosting LSU on Nov. 17.