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Ole Miss rolls past Arkansas State, 52-17

By By Joey Vaughn/special to The Star
October 13, 2002
OXFORD Any worries Ole Miss fans had about a letdown against Arkansas State were squashed quickly Saturday in a 52-17 Rebel win over the Indians.
A crowd of 55,204 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium saw Eli Manning throw for 290 yards and three first-half touchdowns and No. 25 Ole Miss find a second-half running game that rolled up 188 rushing yards. All told, the Rebs outgained ASU 508 yards to 264.
Ole Miss improved to 5-1 overall and, by virtue of Auburn's loss to Arkansas, the Rebels can now claim sole possession of first place in the Southeastern Conference West Division at 2-0. ASU fell to 4-4.
Manning was 14-of-19 for 290 yards with three touchdowns and one interception in just more than three quarters worth of work. He came out of the game with 12:17 to go and his team up 45-10.
Ole Miss harassed Indian quarterback Elliot Jacobs into three interceptions, two by Von Hutchins. Jacobs finished 12-of-23 for 131 yards. Danny Smith, though, churned up 96 yards and scored twice on 18 carries for ASU.
The Rebels took a 10-0 lead on a 50-yard Jonathan Nichols field goal and a 2-yard toss from Manning to Bill Flowers.
The Indians started at the Ole Miss 40 after an ill-advised Manning pass was picked off, and Smith scored on a 2-yard plunge four plays later.
Manning sandwiched touchdown passes of 25 yards to Mike Espy and 67 yards to Taye Biddle around a 38-yard ASU field goal to give the Rebels a 24-10 halftime lead.
Ole Miss put the game away with touchdowns on its first three drives of the second half. Vashon Pearson scored from 6 yards out on the opening possession, and a 13-yard TD run by Tremaine Turner and a 10-yard scoring run by Ronald McClendon early in the fourth quarter put the Rebs up 45-10.
Turner, whose touchdown was the first of his career, led the Rebels on the ground with 57 yards on 10 carries. McClendon had 49 yards on nine carries, and Pearson managed 47 yards on 14 carries.
Pearson dove over the pile from 1 yard out after a Jacobs interception to put Ole Miss up 52-10.
ASU managed a consolation score when Smith broke the plane from 1-yard out with 2:38 left in the game.
Eric Oliver led all tacklers with nine stops, and Charlie Anderson was credited with 2.5 tackles for loss, including a five-yard sack, Ole Miss' only one of the game.
The Rebels travel to Tuscaloosa Saturday to take on Alabama at 2:30 p.m. The game will be televised nationally by CBS.