Dexter McCluster gave Mississippi fans a finale to remember, rushing for 182 yards and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead 2-yard run on a direct snap with 4:03 left as the Rebels beat Oklahoma State 21-7 in the Cotton Bowl

–(www.FinancialNewsUSA.com)– 01/02/2010 – Most Popular industry news provided by Financial News USA. Dexter McCluster gave Mississippi fans a finale to remember, rushing for 182 yards and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead 2-yard run on a direct snap with 4:03 left as the Rebels beat Oklahoma State 21-7 in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday.

Fast Facts

• Offensive MVP Dexter McCluster rushed for 185 yards and two touchdowns as the Rebels won their second straight Cotton Bowl.

• McCluster became the first player in SEC history with more than 1,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in one season. McCluster finished with 1,170 yards rushing and 520 receiving.

• Ole Miss and Oklahoma State combined for 12 turnovers — seven by Oklahoma State, which finishes the season with 13 turnovers in its last three games.

McCluster also had an 86-yard TD run in the second quarter after the senior had already become the first Southeastern Conference player with 1,000 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving in the same season.

Ole Miss (9-4) had five turnovers in the game, but Oklahoma State had six in the fourth quarter, and seven overall.

The Rebels failed to capitalize on Kendrick Lewis’ two interceptions, but McCluster scored after a fumble to break a 7-7 tie. Patrick Trahan picked up another fumble and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown less than a minute later, then intercepted a deflected fourth-down pass by Oklahoma State’s Zac Robinson on the next drive.

The Cowboys (9-4) missed a chance for their first 10-win season since 1988 when coach Mike Gundy was their starting quarterback. Ole Miss coach and former Oklahoma State quarterback Houston Nutt was one of their coaches then.

Nutt has led to Rebels to consecutive 9-4 seasons, both capped by Cotton Bowl victories. Ole Miss had lost all eight of its SEC games in 2007 before Nutt replaced the fired Ed Orgeron.

Ole Miss and Oklahoma State, also 9-4 a year ago, came into this season with unprecedented expectations. Both were in the AP preseason Top 10 before early losses. Each entered the Cotton Bowl, the first in Cowboys Stadium instead of the game’s namesake stadium, coming off decisive losses against their instate conference rivals in their regular-season finales.

They finished with a mistake-filled game in which both teams had missed opportunities — each was stopped on fourth-and-goal from the 1, and Ole Miss missed two field goal attempts.

McCluster was the obvious standout, the game’s offensive MVP for the second year in a row. He had 32 carries along with five catches for 45 yards. He leaves Ole Miss with 3,921 career all-purpose yards, second in school history behind Deuce McAllister’s 4,889. About Financial News USA

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