OXFORD - Ole Miss public address announcer Glen Waddle repeated one line over and over Saturday night at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium: "Symons complete to ... "
Texas Tech quarterback B.J. Symons passed for an amazing 661 yards, completing 44-of-64 passes for six touchdowns, including two in the final five minutes to lead the Red Raiders to a 49-45 come-from-behind win against the Rebels.
Symons' yardage total is the third-best ever in NCAA Division 1-A history. It's also a school record and a Big 12 record, breaking the yardage total he rang up last week - 586 yards - in his team's loss to North Carolina State.
Granted, he was playing against the nation's 116th-rated pass defense. That's 116 out of 117.
"This was the best day of my life by far," Symons said. "It feels really good. Last week it was a record in a loss, so for it to happen in a win makes me feel like I actually contributed something."
Symons' lone mistake came late in the second quarter when his one interception was returned 80 yards for a touchdown by the Rebels' Kelvin Robinson.
When it counted, Symons carved up the Rebels' secondary with short and medium-range passes on the Red Raiders' final two drives.
The first march covered 80 yards in nine plays and ended with Symons connecting with 6-foot-4 Jarrett Hicks on a 21-yard fade pattern. On the drive, Symons completed a fourth-and-10 pass for a 17-yard gain to the Ole Miss 47.
"Evidently, we didn't pressure him enough," Ole Miss defensive lineman Jesse Mitchell said. "He was able to get the ball off, and anytime a quarterback is able to do that, you didn't get enough pressure on him.
"We just didn't get it done."
The Red Raiders' winning drive covered 74 yards in 10 plays, with Symons zipping a 9-yard strike to Carlos Francis with 1:04 remaining for the six-pointer.
"They've got a good scheme," Ole Miss coach David Cutcliffe said. "Their quarterback is extremely accurate. They hit some really big plays."
Cutcliffe acknowledged postgame that his defensive unit is struggling - big-time. It gave up 713 yards in all.
"We've obviously got some problems," he said. "Some of it may be execution, some of it may be schemes."
Symons is certainly thankful the Rebels are so terrible in the secondary.
With his team down 11 points late in the fourth quarter, he felt confident they would be able to reach the end zone.
"I was never worried because our offense was hurting ourselves," he said. "We had only punted two times, but the turnovers had killed us.
"I just tried to stay focused and confident. I hoped it would rub off on my team."
The key for the Red Raiders was that Symons' effort rubbed off not only in the record book, but on the scoreboard.
Gene Phelps is sports editor for The Daily Journal. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org