Ole Miss has no problem with UAB

Published 1:50 am Sunday, October 18, 2009

OXFORD (AP) — Twenty minutes into Saturday’s homecoming game against Alabama-Birmingham, Mississippi still had not gotten what it needed from its junior quarterback who garnered so much preseason optimism.

But when Jevan Snead and the rest of the Ole Miss offense finally came alive in the second quarter, they did so in a big way.

Snead threw for a season-high 240 yards and added three touchdowns and no interceptions as the Rebels defeated the Blazers 48-13 before a sparse, announced crowd of 47,612 fans at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

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One week after throwing four interceptions and no touchdowns against Alabama, Snead completed 15 of 22 passes for the Rebels (4-2).

‘‘Jevan got back on track,’’ Mississippi coach Houston Nutt said. ‘‘That’s the Jevan we know.

‘‘There is nothing like winning. That’s good medicine.’’

The Blazers, playing their first game in 16 days, fell to 2-4.

Snead threw for all but 34 of his yards in the second and third quarters. He did not play in the fourth quarter because of Mississippi’s large lead.

But the biggest stat, Snead said, was his offensive line allowing no sacks.

‘‘This week and last week, it is like night and day,’’ Snead said. ‘‘To play the offense like we did tonight is great. All we needed was a game we could grow on.’’

Mississippi was looking for a breakout game after last week’s loss to Alabama put a damper on many of the Rebels’ preseason dreams. They got a quick shot in the arm when Jesse Grandy received the kickoff at the 12-yard line, leaped over teammate Brandon Sanders, who was blocking near the 30-yard line, and broke free down the right sideline for the score.

‘‘I bring a little determination and a little speed,’’ Grandy said. ‘‘I saw the hole, I leaped over the guy and that is all there was to it.’’

Ole Miss managed just 45 yards of offense in the first quarter before scoring touchdowns on six consecutive possessions.

‘‘I never lost my confidence,’’ Snead said. ‘‘It was frustrating, but it was frustrating because I knew what we could do, and it wasn’t happening.’’

UAB quarterback Joe Webb rushed for 121 yards, threw for 89 and scored the Blazers’ lone touchdown. UAB didn’t get on the scoreboard until the fourth quarter, when the Blazers trailed 41-0.

‘‘We ran the quarterback,’’ UAB coach Neal Callaway said. ‘‘It was a nice job blocking up front, but again, we didn’t get any points out of it, which is not good.’’

While Mississippi was struggling to get going in the first quarter, the Blazers cost themselves a couple of opportunities to gain momentum. Webb was intercepted in the Rebels’ end zone by Jeremy McGee on a play that began at the Mississippi 10-yard line, and kicker Josh Zahn missed a 40-yard field goal on the ensuing possession.

‘‘We just couldnt finish it, but that’s football,’’ Webb said. ‘‘We just have to go back and watch tape and see what we can do better.’’

Mississippi freshman Rodney Scott rushed for two second-quarter scores and was one of four Rebel players to score their first career touchdowns in the win.

Grandy got his first career score, as did junior Lionel Breaux and sophomore Andrew Harris.

With Ole Miss already leading 27-0 at the half, Snead completed a 65-yard touchdown pass to Markeith Summers on the Rebels’ first play of the second half.

‘‘When he starts hitting passes, he gets rhythm, then he gets confident, but it takes 11, and I think our receivers really played much better,’’ Nutt said.

After Snead left the game, backup quarterback Nathan Stanley completed 6 of 9 passes for 98 yards and a score.

Ole Miss gained 501 yards of offense, compared to 351 for UAB.

Scott led the Rebels on the ground with 57 yards on nine carries, and sophomore Brandon Bolden rushed for 56 yards on 12 carries. Senior receiver Shay Hodge caught a team-high seven passes for 99 yards.

‘‘There is a new sense of attitude and as we get going, we can really take off,’’ Nutt said.