Ole Miss beat NAU

Published 5:56 am Sunday, November 8, 2009

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Shay Hodge scored two touchdowns on a career-high 169 receiving yards and Mississippi pulled away from Northern Arizona 38-14 Saturday night.

With the Rebels’ top offensive weapon Dexter McCluster getting much of the night off, Hodge scored twice, including a 65-yard strike from quarterback Jevan Snead.

The Lumberjacks (5-4) made the game interesting with a pair of second-quarter touchdowns, the second one tying the score at 14 with just under 8 minutes left in the half. But the Rebels (6-3) responded with 24 unanswered points.

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McCluster did not touch the ball and saw limited action as Mississippi rested the senior in anticipation of its final three-game stretch. But Snead threw for two touchdowns and rushed for two more, and Hodge came up with his second consecutive 100-plus-yard game.

It was the fourth time this season that Snead did not throw an interception, with three of those games coming outside of conference play. The junior completed 16 of 29 passes for 235 yards. Hodge caught nearly half of those passes, finishing with seven receptions.

Northern Arizona quarterback Michael Herrick returned to the school that signed him out of high school. The junior who did not play in two seasons with the Rebels, threw for 233 yards on 20-for-31 passing in his first action at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

Conrad Meadows caught seven passes for 113 yards and Ed Berry had seven receptions for 81 yards.

Northern Arizona’s Alex Henderson rushed for 102 yards and the Lumberjacks had 354 yards of offense, but they could not score in the final 38 minutes.

Mississippi blocked a pair of field goals in the second half. Kendrick Lewis blocked the first and Kentrell Lockett got the second.

Most of the action came during a second quarter, when the two teams combined for 38 of the game’s 52 points. Mississippi quickly grabbed momentum when Marcus Tilman intercepted Herrick on the first play of the game and returned it to the 15-yard line. Five plays later, Snead completed a 6-yard touchdown pass to Hodge. But the Rebels’ offense stagnated after that until the prolific second quarter. Mississippi scored on all four of its drives in the quarter. All six Mississippi scoring drives lasted 2:01 or less. Brandon Bolden had a 45-yard touchdown run and ran for 85 yards. He gained 83 of those yards in the second quarter.

Because two of their wins have come against Football Championship Subdivision opponents, the Rebels need to win one of their final three games to become bowl eligible. They host Tennessee and LSU the next two weeks before finishing the season at Mississippi State.

“It is all hands on deck,” Rebels coach Houston Nutt said. “Now we get back to the war.”