OXFORD, Miss. — Dexter McCluster ran for 282 yards and finished with 324 all-purpose yards, setting two Mississippi records, and the Rebels ran over the Volunteers 42-17 on Saturday.
McCluster broke the Rebels’ single-game rushing record of 242 set by Dou Innocent in 1995. He eclipsed the all-purpose mark of 317 yards by Deuce McAllister in 1999.
McCluster scored on runs of 15, 23, 32 and 71 yards in Ole Miss’ first win against the Volunteers since 1983 — and the best rushing day a player has ever had against Tennessee.
The previous high against Tennessee was 217 yards by Colorado’s Mike Pritchard in 1990 and Alabama’s Bobby Humphrey in 1986.
Ole Miss (7-3, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) — off to its best start since 2003 — clinched bowl eligibility for the second straight year with the victory. It was the Rebels first win against Tennessee in 13 games.
Tennessee (5-5, 2-4) was without three of their celebrated freshmen — wide receiver Nu’Keese Richardson, safety Janzen Jackson and defensive back Mike Edwards. The three was arrested early Thursday morning for attempted armed robbery in Knoxville.
McCluster scored his first touchdown just 1:31 into the game and added another with 1:20 left in the opening quarter. His 32-yard scamper came in the third quarter and Ole Miss opened the fourth quarter with McCluster’s 71-yarder.
Brandon Bolden added 46 rushing yards and two touchdowns for the Rebels, who finished with 492 yards of total offense, including 359 on the ground.
It was former Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron’s first return to Oxford since he was fired in November 2007 after three seasons. In his first year at Tennessee as defensive line coach the Vols have improved, but struggled against the Rebels.
Jevan Snead, who was 13 of 20 passes for 133 yards, was sacked only once.
Jonathan Compton finished 20 of 37 for 176 yards and two Tennessee touchdowns. He hit Jeff Cottam with a 16-yard TD in the first quarter and Denarius Moore with a 25-yarder in the second quarter.
But the Vols’ offense never got untracked, gaining just 275 yards over all, 99 on the ground. Their only other score was a 27-yard field goal by Daniel Lincoln in the third quarter.