5 Thoughts - 2009 Cotton Bowl
Ole Miss CB Marshay Green
Ole Miss CB Marshay Green
Posted Jan 1, 2009

Ole Miss beats Texas Tech 47-34 ... 5 Thoughts on the 2009 Cotton Bowl

2009 AT&T Cotton Bowl 

Ole Miss 47 ... Texas Tech 34

GAME RECAP: The Ole Miss offense shows up the Red Raiders 
- 2009 CFN Cotton Bowl Preview 

2009 Cotton Player Profiles, Histories, & More

1. Now that Oklahoma State and Texas Tech have lost to Oregon and Ole Miss, respectively, get ready to hear that the Big 12 South is a poser over the next 72 hours. Texas will have a chance to add some sanity to the discussion in Monday’s Fiesta Bowl, but if they happen to lose to Ohio State, look out. The anti-Big 12 South rhetoric will reach a fever pitch, with the underlying message being that Oklahoma will get exposed by Florida in Miami. One thing that’s becoming obvious is that the conference as a whole has been soft this year. Yeah, the offenses are dynamite, which has been a factor, but when the league’s best defense ranks No. 50 nationally, you’re a rich man’s WAC. The Red Raider D didn’t just get beaten for 515 yards and 47 points. It was bullied for 60 minutes. The Big 12’s reputation has taken a body blow in the past few days. It’ll be up to the ‘Horns and the Sooners to make things better over the next week. - Richard Cirminiello

2. There's a line from the old HBO movie, Barbarians at the Gate, about the takeover bids to acquire RJR Nabisco, when the final proposals are submitted: "Is this the best you can do ... the very best?"

This was it for Texas Tech. This was the peak of what a program in a division with traditional superpowers like Texas and Oklahoma can reach. Everyone was back on defense, ten starters returned on offense, and the coaching staff got an upgrade. And this was it, all getting blown up by an Ole Miss team that had time to prepare. The Tech offense wasn't bad, but it was hardly the killer it was expected to be with all the talent and all the experience it boasted, and now the question has to be out there about whether or not Mike Leach can be the type of coach who can take a program to the elite of the elite level. When is he going to put together a better team than this one? Can great defenses figure out how to slow the machine down when they get time to prepare? Remember, Alabama, and not this year's Alabama, stopped the Red Raiders cold a few years ago in the Cotton Bowl. Virginia and Minnesota had Tech dead-to-rights the last two bowl seasons, only to have Graham Harrell get hot at just the right time to pull off extraordinary comeback wins. Texas isn't going anywhere and Oklahoma isn't going to get worse in the near future, but Harrell and Michael Crabtree will be off to the next level. Oh sure, as long as Leach sticks around, Tech will put up big offensive numbers, but can the program ever get any higher than this? After this performance, there's still a lot to prove. Otherwise, just being a very good, very scary midrange Big 12 program isn't necessarily a bad thing.
- Pete Fiutak

3. Baseball is the sport where something truly remarkable can happen on any given day, but the final Cotton Bowl in the Cotton Bowl stadium offered a fairly unique football case study. Consider the powerful pendulum swings that occurred in this game, usually on back-to-back plays, and sometimes on an individual play.
* In the first quarter, Ole Miss converted a fourth down with a fake punt. On the next play, the Rebels fumbled. Tech used that momentum swing to score a touchdown.
* In the second quarter, Tech converted a fourth down. On the next play, Red Raider quarterback Graham Harrell--who was solid in the short and intermediate passing game, but atrocious with his deep balls--threw an interception that Ole Miss turned into points.
* On the final play of the first half, Harrell's remarkable 44-yard scramble took the two teams through three distinctly different stages of emotional upheaval. When Harrell got to the 25-yard line, it looked as though Texas Tech could steal a late field goal. When Harrell got to the 10, it looked as though Tech could steal a touchdown. When Harrell got tripped up at the 3 by a hustling and untiring Ole Miss secondary, the Red Raiders were shut out. Tech went from expecting zero points, to expecting three points, to expecting seven, and back to nothing, all on one play.
* In the fourth quarter, Tech forced an Ole Miss fumble at its own 2. On the next play, Harrell--who had more than enough time to throw the ball away--fumbled after taking the worst of sacks.
Four massive emotion swings took place in this game. The Rebels benefited from three of them, and that's not counting the devastating one-two punch of a pick-six and a long kick return that greatly increased UM's confidence level in the third quarter. Tech made a number of big plays; Ole Miss made even bigger plays, and more of them... usually on the back end of a back-to-back sequence. Ball game. - Matthew Zemek
4) After the kerfuffle surrounding the three-way tie in the Big 12 South, many will claim that this loss makes Texas Tech a fraud and a phony. Please don't go there. This was far more about Ole Miss flexing its muscles than Tech failing. Michael Crabtree wasn't very healthy, and some wild, emotion-swinging plays cut against the Red Raiders, such as a pick-six that took place because Crabtree slipped on the Cotton Bowl turf. That stuff happens. The real revelation here is that Ole Miss is a big-time team up and down its roster. Credit the Rebels for bringing their A-game and offering a defensive front that outplayed Tech's decorated offensive line. Both teams have plenty of athletes, but Ole Miss was--by far--the physically superior team. What Mike Leach might want to consider after losing this non-conference game is to beef up his out-of-conference schedule in future years. Tech scheduled two FCS opponents and 1-11 SMU to go along with 7-6 Nevada. Had Tech been willing to play a big boy from a power conference in September, perhaps an SEC school wouldn't have punched them in the mouth today. - Matthew Zemek

5. Although he started slowly and wasn’t perfect, Ole Miss’ blowout of Texas Tech will officially go down as QB Jevan Snead’s national coming-out party with the program. It was almost poetic that the former blue-chip recruit from the University of Texas returned back to his home state for his biggest moment, going 18-of-29 for 292 yards, three touchdowns and a pick. He did a nice job of bouncing back from that lone interception, which Darcel McBath took back for six, making a statement that he’ll be one of the nation’s top 10 quarterbacks of 2009. Snead has a rifle for an arm, and this first full season as the starter will really pay dividends a year from now.  
- Richard Cirminiello