No. 14 Mississippi tops Louisiana-Lafayette 56-15
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) Bo Wallace's first throw was perfect - a 25-yard strike that Vince Sanders caught in stride for a big gain.
Mississippi's senior quarterback was just getting started, completing pass after pass for big chunks of yards and two touchdowns. By early in the second quarter, he was well aware he was throwing football's version of a perfect game.
''I knew it,'' Wallace said. ''I didn't want to throw an incompletion.''
He finally did. His 15th attempt of the game down the middle of the field was just out of the reach of Derrick Jones, but the 14th-ranked Rebels were already well on their way to a 56-15 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday.
Wallace completed 23 of 28 passes for 316 yards and four touchdowns, including two to Sanders, as the Rebels rolled up 554 total yards and an easy victory.
''I'm really happy we went out and took control of the game and kept control of it,'' Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said.
Ole Miss (3-0) has never lost to Louisiana-Lafayette (1-2) and this one wasn't in doubt for very long. I'Tavius Mathers rushed for a 56-yard touchdown on the first drive and the Rebels pushed out to a 28-0 lead by midway through the second quarter.
Senquez Golson intercepted two passes, including one that was returned 59 yards for a touchdown.
Louisiana-Lafayette fell behind 49-6 by midway through the third quarter before scoring its only touchdown. Terrance Broadway completed 15 of 30 passes for 129 yards and three interceptions.
It was another effective performance for Wallace, who now ranks second in Ole Miss history with 49 career passing touchdowns.
He was flawless for much of the first half, completing 20 of 24 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns as Ole Miss built a four-touchdown lead.
''I'm playing how I expect to play,'' Wallace said. ''Now I just have to continue to execute each week.''
The only real blemish came just before halftime when Wallace threw an interception. The Ragin' Cajuns were able to convert the turnover into a short field goal and pull within 28-6 by halftime.
Ole Miss quickly re-established momentum early in the third quarter when Mike Hilton intercepted a ULL pass after it was tipped by Cody Prewitt. The Rebels drove downfield and made it 35-6 on Cody Core's acrobatic 14-yard touchdown catch.
Ole Miss had a solid defensive day with three interceptions. The Rebels have only given up two touchdowns over three games this season.
The only issue was another inconsistent performance for the running game.
Mathers' 56-yard run on the game's opening drive was a bright spot. So was Jaylen Walton's 71-yard touchdown when the game was already in hand during the second half. But in between the Rebels relied on Wallace because the running plays went nowhere.
They will have plenty of time to work on the issues, with a bye weekend before a home game against Memphis on Sept. 27. If everything goes as planned, Ole Miss will then host Alabama on Oct. 4 in an SEC Western Division showdown.
''There are some things we did not do particularly well today that we have to get cleaned up,'' Freeze said. ''Even though you may be the better football team on a given day, you still have to execute and do the things that will make you one of the top tier teams in the country.''
Louisiana-Lafayette was picked to win the Sun Belt Conference this year in a preseason poll by the league's coaches, but it's been a rough two weeks.
The Ragin' Cajuns lost 48-20 last week to Louisiana Tech on their home field and weren't competitive against the Rebels. They didn't score a touchdown until late in the third quarter when Alonzo Harris rushed for an 8-yard score.
Elijah McGuire led Louisiana-Lafayette with 66 rushing yards. Trae Johnson had a game-high 11 tackles.
But it wasn't nearly enough to stop the Rebels.
''Our football team right now is not clicking on all cylinders, but that's part of football and a part of life,'' Louisiana-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth said. ''Our coaches have to figure that out.''
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