West wide open again after a Rebel whitewashing

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 18, 2001

Sunday, November 18, 2001

Special to The Natchez Democrat

OXFORD, Miss. – Georgia running back Verron Haynes didn’t

Email newsletter signup

know who was calling the plays. He was just happy he was getting

the ball.

In a what looked like a throwback to the Vince Dooley/Herschel

Walker days, the 233-pound senior fullback came into Saturday’s

game at Ole Miss (6-3, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) with a hair

more than 170 yards rushing on the season.

He left the 35-15 win with well over 350 as the Georgia Bulldogs

whipped the Ole Miss.

&uot;I would not have believed it coming in,&uot; said Haynes,

who’s used to starting at the fullback position. &uot;It was

like the old Herschel Walker days.&uot;

The Bulldogs (6-3, 5-3) used a heavy dose of Haynes in the

second half to keep the soft Ole Miss rushing defense on its heels.

Haynes rolled up 192 yards on 26 carries, including two for touchdowns.

Of the Dogs’ 26 second-half plays, only three were passes.

Each of the passes – strikes of 10, 44 and 9 – came from quarterback

David Greene on the Dogs’ second drive of the half that was capped

with a 9-yard scoring pass to receiver Terrence Edwards. The dominant

Georgia defense held the Rebels to 261 total yards of offense,

including 12 plays for losses.

The Bulldogs stopped seven running plays, mostly in the first

half, for a loss of 26 yards. The Rebels threw five screen plays

– none that netted positive yardage – and lost 21, bringing boos

from the more than 47,000 on hand.

&uot;I expect every team to run the ball against us,&uot;

Rebels linebacker Eddie Strong said. &uot;We’re small. Until

we stop it, they’re going to keep running it.&uot;

The anticipated shootout between Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning

and Greene never materialized as Georgia coach March Richt kept

the ball on the ground during the second half.

Manning was 35 for 47 for 233 yards and two touchdowns, but

was relegated to mostly short tosses. &uot;We were able to complete

the ball, but we couldn’t really get downfield like we wanted

to,&uot; Manning said.

Greene was 8 for 14 for 93 yards and a touchdown and didn’t

mind having a light work day.

&uot;&uot;I can’t tell you how great it is to have the pressure

off, when you can just turn around and hand it off,&uot; he said.

The Rebels took a 9-7 lead into the locker room at the half,

but mustered only six points in the second. Ole Miss kickers were

0-for-2 in point-after-touchdown attempts.

The Rebels’ only other score was a 37-yard field goal by Lee

Rogers early in the second quarter.

The big blow came on the third play of the fourth quarter when

Manning’s third interception of the year was returned 82 yards

for a score by Jermaine Phillips.

That touchdown sent Rebel fans to the exits, Haynes capped

the best day for a Georgia back in nine years by bursting through

the middle for a 26-yard touchdown with 7:36 left in the game.