Studdard was happy about that run, but probably the most satisfied players were the men of the Rebel defensive team. Among its many accomplishments, VanDevender intercepted a pass to set up the first Ole Miss touchdown and Linebacker Fred Brister made another score possible with an interception after Studdard's kickoff return. The front four—John Gilliland, Elmer Allen, John Aldridge and Dennis Coleman—opened up holes in the offensive line so that Linebackers Brister and Crowell Armstrong could blitz. They dumped Hayden seven times for losses of 79 yards. And it was Aldridge's recovery of the muffed punt at the Alabama 26 that started Archie toward those last three touchdowns.
During one stretch in the second half, Manning worked the option play about as well as a quarterback can. First, after taking possession at the Tide 26, he moved Ole Miss to the 12, then passed to Studdard for a touchdown and a 34-17 lead with 11:54 left in the fourth quarter. Later, after Alabama stalled and punted, he took the Rebels 68 yards in nine plays for another score. The big gainer was Manning's 29-yard pass to Floyd Franks, and it was Archie who rolled out to his right and circled end for the final nine yards, sore leg and all. The Tide made one last-gasp touchdown and tried an onside kick, but five plays later Ole Miss scored again. Manning closed in on this one by running to his left, stopping, sprinting again, then lofting a pass over the Alabama secondary to Franks, who was tackled at the one. Bob Knight carried the ball in.
The Rebels travel to Georgia this week for their toughest road game to date. Looming ahead are difficult sessions with Houston and Louisiana State. After the Alabama game neither Archie nor Vaught wanted to say where they thought Ole Miss belonged in the national rankings, but their smiles indicated that they might be inclined to agree with the President of the United States. Aboard the U.S.S. Saratoga in the Mediterranean last week, some sailors asked Mr. Nixon about the football situation at home.
"Well, Texas looks pretty good with that Worster," said the President. Then he pumped his right arm as if he were trying a forward pass and added, "But watch out for Mississippi and that...ah...ah...ah...that Archie Manning."
O.K., Mr. President, see you down in Mississippi. And don't forget your Archie button.