OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi freshmen Snoop Conner, Jerrion Ealy and quarterback John Rhys Plumlee combined to rush for five touchdowns Saturday as the Rebels defeated New Mexico State 41-3.
Plumlee directed scoring drives on four of the opening five possessions as the Rebels (4-6) built an insurmountable 24-3 halftime lead. Plumlee rushed for 177 yards on 12 carries with scoring runs of 2 and 18 yards and finished 11 of 17 for 124 passing yards in a dominating performance that ended in the third quarter.
“Plumlee made plays consistently and managed the game well,” Mississippi coach Matt Luke said. “He’s still got some plays he can make, but it’s fun to see our freshman running backs making plays for us.”
Conner rushed for 109 yards on 13 carries, featuring a stylish 30-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and a 1-yard touchdown run in the third period. Ealy finished with 71 yards on 14 carries, including a touchdown run of 5 yards. The Rebels finished with 606 yards in total offense, including 447 on the ground.
“It was a pretty good game for me, but there are still some plays out there I missed and can make,” Conner said. “Running the ball is what we do. But, we’ve got to keep working and making it better.”
New Mexico State (0-9) avoided the shutout on a 34-yard field goal by Dylan Brown. Josh Adkins was 25 of 35 for 127 yards passing, but could manage only two completions longer than 10 yards.
“We knew coming in that Ole Miss was really impressive on defense,” New Mexico State Doug Martin said. “We played Alabama in the second game of the year and in my opinion, you could switch the jerseys and there’s no difference.”
It was the third of three payday games the Aggies took this season vs. Power Five conference teams. This one paid NMSU $1.5 million.
New Mexico State: The Aggies weren’t expected to win an SEC road game, but the margin of defeat was discouraging. Of the three remaining games, only the visiting UTEP Miners (1-7) have a losing record and provides the best opportunity for New Mexico State to snap an 11-game losing streak.
Ole Miss: The season narrative will be largely defined by the performance and results of the next two weeks with No. 1 LSU and rival Mississippi State. The Rebels have young talent and been fun to watch, but have not been able to win games decided by nine points or less in five tries. An upset win in either or both games would confirm the program is trending in the right direction.
“Those are our two biggest rivals and both are huge games,” Luke said. “But we can’t worry about them, we have to focus on us, get better and line up and play.”
New Mexico State hosts Incarnate Word on Saturday.
Ole Miss hosts No. 1 LSU on Saturday.
Mississippi 41, New Mexico St. 3
New Mexico St. 0 3 0 0— 3
Mississippi 10 14 7 10—41
MIS—FG Logan 36, 12:36
MIS—Conner 30 run (Logan kick), 5:39
MIS—Ealy 5 run (Logan kick), 11:57
NMS—FG D.Brown 34, 5:46
MIS—Plumlee 2 run (Logan kick), :40
MIS—Plumlee 18 run (Logan kick), 5:29
MIS—Conner 1 run (Way kick), 13:38
MIS—FG Logan 28, 5:38
First downs 12 32
Rushes-yards 24-66 61-447
Passing 127 159
Comp-Att-Int 25-35-0 13-19-0
Return Yards 23 14
Punts-Avg. 8-35.87 0-null
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-1
Penalties-Yards 5-35 2-20
Time of Possession 25:23 34:37
RUSHING—New Mexico St., Huntley 7-45, Adkins 14-9, Nicholson 1-6, Gibson 2-6. Mississippi, Plumlee 12-177, Conner 13-109, Ealy 14-71, Knight 6-33, Woullard 7-24, D.Jackson 1-9, Dent 2-9, K.Wells 1-7, Pennamon 3-5, Corral 2-3.
PASSING—New Mexico St., Adkins 25-35-0-127. Mississippi, Plumlee 11-17-0-124, Corral 2-2-0-35.
RECEIVING—New Mexico St., Nicholson 6-37, Huntley 6-19, Clark 4-29, Lottie 4-21, Gibson 2-10, Downs 2-7, Warner 1-4. Mississippi, Moore 3-37, Ealy 3-23, Pellerin 2-32, J.Jackson 2-25, Cooley 1-21, Mingo 1-13, B.Sanders 1-8.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—Mississippi, Logan 48.