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Rebels Drop Ranked-Road Battle at No. 23 Florida

Photo by Josh Bonner, Libertine Images
Photo by Josh Bonner, Libertine Images

In front of a packed crowd of 90,585 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, No. 3 Ole Miss could not overcome a big deficit early in the game. No. 23 Florida scored the first 25 points of the game to hand the Rebels (4-1, 2-1 SEC) their first loss of the season, 38-10, Saturday night.

Chad Kelly completed 26-of-40 passes for 259 yards. The junior quarterback found 10 different receivers throughout the night. His favorite targets were Laquon Treadwell andAkeem Judd as both Rebels caught five passes. Treadwell finished with a team-high 42 receiving yards, while Evan Engram made three receptions for 41 yards.

On the ground, the Rebels were also led by Kelly with 40 yards on 15 carries. The Florida defense forced four fumbles, and Ole Miss lost three of them. Four turnovers throughout the night hurt the Rebels as they led to 19 Florida points.

The Gators (5-0, 3-0 SEC) were led by quarterback Will Grier, who went 24-of-29 for 271 yards and four touchdowns. Demarcus Robinson had eight catches for 98 yards and a touchdown, while Kelvin Taylor posted a game-high 83 yards rushing.

Florida tallied 355 yards of total offense, while Ole Miss gained 328 yards with the ball. The Rebels had 23 first downs compared to 18 for the Gators. However, a 50 percent (8-of-16) conversion rate on third down helped Florida keep drive alive and wear down the Landshark defense.

Both teams saw their offenses go three-and-out to start the game before Florida put together the first scoring drive. The Gators went 61 yards in five plays with a pair of hookups between Grier and Robinson. The quarterback found his receiver on a key third down to keep the drive alive. One play later, Grier found Robinson deep down the center of the field. The 36-yard touchdown pass put UF on the board. After an Ole Miss fumble on the ensuing drive, the Gators took advantage of the turnover and good field position, scoring a touchdown on another five-play drive. The PAT clanked off the post, but Florida held a 13-0 advantage with 6:48 left in the first quarter.

Kelly completed eight of his first nine passes for 92 yards, finding five different receivers. However, the Florida defense kept the high-powered Ole Miss offense off the scoreboard. With the ball going back to the home team, the Gators completed a 77-yard touchdown pass to claim a 19-0 lead midway through the second quarter. Just before the halftime break, Florida found the end zone to take a 25-0 lead into the locker room.

In the first half, Kelly went 11-for-15 through the air for 129 yards. Treadwell made four catches for 43 yards, while Adeboyejo caught a pair of passes for 31 yards. Third down conversions proved to be a different in the opening 30 minutes as Florida was 5-of-8 and Ole Miss 1-of-6.

Getting the ball to start the second half, the Rebels orchestrated a 70-yard scoring drive that resulted in a 22-yard field goal by Gary Wunderlich. The opening drive of the quarter took up 9:35 on the clock but got Ole Miss on the board. Florida countered with a pair of field goals in the fourth quarter to increase the margin to 31-3.

Continuing to fight late in the game, the Rebels marched down the field for a touchdown. Derrick Jones caught two passes for 39 yards as part of a 75-yard drive, and Kelly found Markell Pack for a 7-yard touchdown pass-and-catch.

Following three straight SEC contests, Ole Miss returns home next week for non-conference action. The Rebels will host the Aggies of New Mexico State at 11 a.m., Oct. 10. Ole Miss fans not able to make it to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium can catch the game on SEC Network.

Story courtesy Ole Miss Athletics

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