Originally created 10/12/03

Mississippi blanks Arkansas St

OXFORD, Miss. -- Mississippi's 88-year winning streak against Arkansas State remains intact.

Eli Manning was 23-for-36 for 306 yards and three touchdowns as Rebels routed the Indians 55-0 on Saturday.

"It's exciting and it crossed my mind at halftime that we had not given up any points," Mississippi head coach David Cutcliffe said. "It's hard to do this in this day and time. But we got better today and we played a lot of people."

Manning, who played just three quarters, moved ahead of Florida's Rex Grossman for eighth place on the Southeastern Conference's career completion list with 692. He also moved up to No. 7 in career total offense with 8,309 yards.

"We ran the ball well and the offensive line protected well, not allowing a sack all day," Manning said. "They did a good job and our receivers did a good job of catching the ball."

Ole Miss (4-2) recorded its first shutout since it defeated Memphis 3-0 in 1999.

The Rebels have not lost to the Indians in the past 20 meetings, dating to 1915.

Ole Miss, who entered the game ranked last in pass defense, gave up only 235 total yards and allowed Arkansas State to cross midfield only four times.

The Rebels, ranked fifth in the nation in total offense, gained 582 against the Indians (3-3).

The Rebels led 14-0 in the first quarter before Arkansas State managed a first down.

Manning started 8-of-8 for 84 yards, opening with a 40-yard strike to Chris Collins on the first series that set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Vashon Pearson.

Tremaine Turner capped the second possession, a 60-yard drive, with a 33-yard touchdown run.

An interception by linebacker Justin Wade set up the first of two field goals by Jonathan Nichols to bring the score to 20-0 at the half.

"It's a good performance, especially with three SEC games coming up," Wade said. "We did a good job of stopping the run and that's important with Alabama coming in."

Arkansas State seriously threatened only once, coming midway through the second period. Quarterback Elliot Jacobs completed consecutive passes of 17, 28 and 23 yards to carry the Indians to the Ole Miss 4.

But Eric Neihouse bounced a 21-yard field-goal attempt off the left upright to end the threat.

"We would have liked to made that field goal," said Jacob, who finished 14-for-29 for 143 yards. "We were happy with the way things were going. We have got to work more on getting the ball in the end zone."

Ole Miss opened the second half with scoring drives of 79, 83 and 65 yards, capped by Manning's three touchdown passes.

Reserve quarterback Michael Spurlock led the Rebels to a pair of touchdown drives in the final period.


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