DALLAS (AP) -Ole Miss isn't just the team that handed Florida its only loss. These Rebels are seriously on the rise.

Behind Jevan Snead's passing, Dexter McCluster's squirming runs and some big returns by Marshay Green, No. 20 Mississippi overcame an early deficit and beat No. 7 Texas Tech 47-34 Friday in the final Cotton Bowl played in the stadium of the same name.

The Red Raiders (11-2) converted a pair of early turnovers into a 14-0 lead, but Snead led the Rebels to touchdowns on their next three drives, followed by a go-ahead field goal shortly before halftime. Once Green returned an interception 65 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter, Ole Miss (9-4) was well on its way to capping coach Houston Nutt's first season in grand style.

This was Mississippi's sixth straight win, matching its longest streak since 2003, when Eli Manning was a senior. That also was the last time the Rebels had been to a bowl.

This roll began when Ole Miss was only 3-4 and coming off consecutive losses following its stunning upset at the Swamp.

Although Texas Tech pulled off huge comebacks in its last two bowls, McCluster ended any such thoughts by barreling into the end zone with 4:34 left. When Rebels fans finished clapping, they began chanting "S-E-C! S-E-C!" They did so again with 1:37 left after Ole Miss snuffed out a 2-point conversion attempt, then again following a recovered onside kick.

A little louder and the chants might've been heard at the Big 12 offices about 12 miles away. Still, the message that the fourth-best team in the SEC, according to the polls, is better than the third-best team in the Big 12 will certainly be noted as schools from these leagues - No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Oklahoma - meet next week in the national championship game.

The Red Raiders had a direct path to playing in that game until getting crushed by the Sooners in late November. At the time, they were unbeaten and ranked second, the highest mark in school history.

Getting drubbed in two of the last three games takes some shine off Tech's season, and kept senior quarterback Graham Harrell from going out with the school's record-setting 12th win.

Harrell's consolation was several statistical feats: most career touchdowns in major college football (four in this game made it 134 for his career, breaking the record of 131 set by Hawaii's Colt Brennan) and first player with two 5,000-yard passing seasons. Harrell was 36-of-58 for a Cotton Bowl-record 364 yards, giving him 5,111 yards this season. Only five other quarterbacks have cracked 5,000, including Brennan and two others from Texas Tech.

This was the 73rd Cotton Bowl and the last in its namesake home. The game is moving next year to the $1.1 billion stadium being built by the Dallas Cowboys. The bowl founder's widow handled the pregame coin toss and the dates 1937 and 2009 were painted on the field between the words, "Celebrating 73 years."