Cotton Bowl Preview: Texas Tech Battles Ole Miss In Lonestar QB Showdown

John BaucumCorrespondent IJanuary 1, 2009


Texas Tech and Ole Miss square off in the Cotton Bowl at 1 PM tomorrow on Fox. After a tough loss at OU, Texas Tech would like to finish with the first 12-win season in school history. Standing in the way is Ole Miss’ “Wild Rebel” attack.

Coach Houston Nutt utilizes two running backs instead of a QB in certain situations. This particular offense has also made a splash in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins using it to get them back into the playoffs.


Ole Miss Passing:

Ole Miss is led by Stephenville product Jevan Snead.

On the season Snead has completed 166-298 passes (55.7%) for 2,470 yards with 23 TDs and 12 INTs. He also has 50 rushes for 62 yards and 3 scores.


Ole Miss Rushing:

To say that running the football is the Rebels strength is a gross understatement. Cordera Eason leads Ole Miss in carries.

On the year he has 137 attempts for 644 yards (4.7 YPC) and three scores. Multidimensional weapon Dexter McCluster is next with 95 rushes for 588 yards (5.9 YPC) and five TDs.

Brandon Bolden has 87 carries for 441 yards (5.1 YPC) and four scores.

Enrique Davis has 59 carries for 222 yards (3.8 YPC) and three TDs. QB Snead has three rushing scores to Markeith Summers 2 carries for 19 yards and one score.


Ole Miss Receiving:

Shay Hodge leads the Rebels with 42 catches for 676 yards (16.1 YPC) and 8 scores.

Dexter McCluster is next with 38 receptions for 542 yards (14.3 YPC) and one score.

Mike Wallace is next with 35 catches for 704 yards (20.1 YPC) and six TDs.

RB Eason has nine catches for 73 yards (8.1 YPC) and two TDs.

RB Bolden has eight catches for 94 yards (11.8 YPC) and one score.

Jason Cook has seven catches for 47 yards (6.7 YPC) and one score. Gerald Harris has 5 catches for 55 yards (11 YCP) and two TDs.

Derrick Davis has two catches for six yards and two scores. Bradley Sowell has one catch for one yard and one score.


Texas Tech Passing:

Graham Harrell enters his final game as Texas Tech QB playing in a virtual home game. The Ennis native  needs two touchdown passes to become the NCAA career leader.

On the season, Harrell has completed 406-568 (71.5%) for 4,747 yards with 41 TDs and 7 INTs.


Texas Tech Rushing:

The Red Raiders’ two-headed monster of Shannon Woods and Baron Batch no doubt used the break between the last game and the bowl game to heal up.

Shannon Woods leads the team in carries with 135 for 670 yards (5.0 YPC) and 12 TDs. Batch is next with 111 carries for 742 yards (6.7 YPC) and seven TDs.

WR Eric Morris is next with six rushes for 34 yards and two scores. Injured RB Aaron Crawford had eight rushes for 26 yards and one score before sitting out the rest of the season.

QB Harrell has 35 rushes for -58 yards (-1.7 YPC) and six scores.


Texas Tech Receiving:

Michael Crabtree leads the Red Raider WRs. On the year, Crabtree has 93 catches for 1,135 (12.2 YPC) and 18 TDs.

Detron Lewis is next with 71 catches for 869 yards (12.2 YPC) and three scores.

Morris is next with 64 catches for 682 yards (10.7 YPC) and eight TDs.

RB Batch is next with 43 catches for 442 yards (10.3 YPC) and one score.

Tramain Swindall is next with 42 catches for 528 yards (12.6 YPC) and two scores.

RB Woods has 31 catches for 330 yards (10.6 YPC) and two scores.

Edward Britton has 30 catches for 490 yards (16.3 YPC) and four scores.

Lyle Leong has 17 catches for 199 yards (11.7 YPC) and three scores.

TE Adam James has 15 catches for 159 yards (10.6 YPC) and one score.

FB Ryan Hale has one catch for four yards and one TD.


Key Matchups:

Texas Tech’s run defense will be tested in a huge way against the unpredictable nature of Ole Miss’ “Wild Rebel” attack. 

On the other side of the coin, the Rebels' pass defense also has a lofty challenge in the form of the Red Raiders' passing attack.

Tech’s offensive line will have its hands full with the athletic Rebels defensive line and they must step up to the challenge and give Harrell time to find his WRs down the field.  



Some analysts are saying that the Red Raiders are disappointed that they didn’t land in the BCS Championship Game and will come out uninspired in the Cotton Bowl.

In Mike Leach’s tenure, Texas Tech has started slow a few times, but they definitely play well in bowl games. Expect this one to be no different. Ole Miss, after not making a bowl last year, is in a similar position.  

The contrasting styles make this game very interesting—the nation’s top passing attack against a really aggressive running offense. Houston Nutt is 2-5 in bowl games and Mike Leach is 5-3.



Texas Tech: 45

Ole Miss: 38


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