No. 17 Ole Miss and Georgia Tech slugged it out in the first half, but an explosive Rebel offensive attack took command of the game in the second half, leaving the Yellow Jackets behind en route to a 48-23 victory at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Saturday.
The Rebels (3-0) had a 10-3 lead over Georgia Tech (1-2) at the break, but blew open the game with 38 points in the back half thanks to timely defensive stops and some huge plays from the Ole Miss offense. The Rebels ended with 550 yards of total offense, including 299 on the ground thanks to a career rushing day from starting quarterback Jaxson Dart, who ended 10-of-18 for 251 yards and a touchdown through the air, and a career-high 136 yards and two touchdowns rushing on 14 total carries.
Defensively, the Rebels caused some havoc in the Yellow Jacket backfield, notching a season-high 7.0 tackles for loss from seven different defenders. Safety Trey Washington led with a career-high 10 total tackles (seven solo), including two for a loss of 11 yards and a key forced fumble.
The first quarter was all Rebels, as Ole Miss jumped out to a 10-0 lead following a 47-yard field goal at the 12:38 mark from Caden Davis – the reigning SEC Special Teams Player of the Week – and the first of two touchdown runs by Dart at 3:02 in the first.
The Yellow Jackets tacked on a 22-yard field goal from Aidan Birr with 1:09 to play in the half after a second quarter tug-of-war, but that was but a preamble to the second half fireworks to come from the Rebel offense.
The Rebels forced a punt on Georgia Tech’s first drive of the second half and made the Yellow Jackets pay with a five-play, 71-yard drive that was capped by a 21-yard touchdown scamper by Ulysses Bentley IV at the 9:45 mark. The Landshark defense stepped up on the ensuing Georgia Tech drive, stopping the Yellow Jackets on fourth down with 2:07 in the quarter.
Dart immediately made Tech pay yet again, capping a five-play, 28-yard drive with a six-yard score to make it a 24-3 game with 6:00 in the third quarter. Georgia Tech would make it interesting across the end of the third and start of the fourth, tallying 14 unanswered following a one-yard rush by quarterback Haynes King with 2:07 left in the third, and a 15-yard pass from King to Eric Singleton Jr. to make it a 24-17 game with 10:31 to go.
From there, however, the Ole Miss aerial attack took back the game for good. A 40-yard bomb from Dart to wideout Dayton Wade opened the floodgates, leading to a 45-yard field goal from Caden Davis with 7:45 left to make it 27-17. Another three-and-out forced by the Landshark defense put the ball back in Dart’s hands, and he immediately found Jordan Watkins on a long 68-yard touchdown strike to put Ole Miss up 34-17 with 5:59 to play.
The Rebels weren’t done there either, as another fourth down stop by the Ole Miss defense led to a second deep pass to Wade, this time a 43-yard connection to the 1-yard line that led to a Quinshon Judkins punch-in, the 20th score already of his young career to put him into a tie for eighth in Ole Miss history.
Tech added a 14-yard touchdown pass from King to Avery Boyd with 1:34 to play, making it a 41-23 game, but Ole Miss put the game out of reach, 48-23, following a 36-yard scoring burst from Matt Jones with 49 seconds to go – his third career score in just nine carries as a Rebel.
Ole Miss now prepares for a ranked showdown at No. 10 Alabama next Saturday, Sept. 23, with kickoff at Bryant-Denny Stadium set for 2:30 p.m. CT on CBS.
Courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics