OU Comes Up Short in Shreveport
SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) -- Mississippi's Les Binkley made the last college football game of the century a real kick.
Binkley's 39-yard field goal at the gun capped a duel between Deuce McAllister and Josh Heupel and gave Mississippi a wild 27-25 victory over Oklahoma in the Independence Bowl.
Binkley's boot came less than an hour before the millennium ended and just 2:17 after Heupel threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Quenton Griffin to give Oklahoma a 25-24 lead, its first of the game.
Heupel completed 39-of-53 passes for 390 yards and three TDs as he overcame a sloppy first half with a terrific second half. The first half belonged to McAllister, who had caught a TD pass of 25 yards and raced 80 yards for another score as Mississippi built a 21-3 lead.
Heupel set Independence Bowl records for completions, attempts and yards and tied the mark for TD passes. McAllister's run was the longest scrimmage play in Independence Bowl history and the longest surrendered by Oklahoma in a bowl game.
McAllister had a huge game, collecting 121 yards on 17 carries and 55 more on three catches. Romaro Miller was 18-of-28 for 202 yards and a pair of scoring passes for the Rebels (8-4), who won their fourth straight bowl game. Mississippi won this game for the second straight year and improved to 17-11 in the postseason.
Under first-year coach Bob Stoops, the Sooners (7-5) were in their 33rd bowl but first since the 1994 Copper Bowl. They fell to 20-12-1 in the postseason.
Heupel, who broke most of Oklahoma's passing records this year, got untracked in the second half. He threw touchdown passes of three yards to Jarrail Jackson and 41 yards to Brandon Daniels 7 1/2 minutes apart in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to 21-18.
Binkley kicked a 29-yard field goal with 11:18 to play, giving Mississippi a six-point lead. But on Oklahoma's last drive, Heupel effectively used Griffin. The 5-6 freshman from Texas had a 30-yard run and a short reception before Heupel connected with Daniels on a 22-yard slant pattern to the 17, setting up his go-ahead TD pass.
Griffin had 86 yards on 12 carries and 65 on eight catches for the Sooners, who held a 481-361 edge in total yards. Jackson had 10 receptions for 76 yards and Daniels had six for 109.
Oklahoma had two turnovers and botched a pair of fake kicks in the first half and Mississippi took full advantage. Following a missed field goal on the Sooners' first possession, the Rebels cashed in as McAllister got behind a linebacker and hauled in a pass from Miller for a 25-yard TD and a 7-0 lead just under six minutes into the game.
The teams traded turnovers before and after Tim Duncan kicked a 34-yard field goal with 5:22 left in the opening period. Ole Miss sniffed out a fake field goal and Miller found Adam Bettis with a nine-yard TD pass for a 14-3 lead with 8:13 remaining in the second quarter.
Oklahoma put together a drive but Heupel's end-zone toss was picked off by cornerback Tim Strickland for a touchback. On the next play from scrimmage, McAllister broke a tackle and sped 80 yards for a touchdown.