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Big Second Half Helps Football Race Past ULM, 35-3

By Ole Miss Sports

Ole Miss ripped off a 28-0 second-half run, primarily through the air, as the Rebels bested ULM, 35-3, in its 2023 home finale at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Saturday.

Ole Miss (9-2) found itself in a first-half dogfight with the Warhawks (2-9), leading only 7-3 at the break. But the Rebels came out of the break swinging on offense, throwing for 249 of their 371 passing yards in the final two quarters and finding the endzone on four of their last six drives. Ole Miss finishes the 2023 season 7-0 in games played on campus for just the second time in program history, joining the 2021 campaign.

Junior quarterback Jaxson Dart had an excellent day, ending 24-of-31 for 310 yards and three touchdowns through the air – his sixth 300-yard passing effort as a Rebel. Senior QB Spencer Sanders was sharp in late relief as well, going 4-of-5 for 61 yards and a score. Both signal callers were helped by a big day all around from the Ole Miss receiving corps, with four different Rebel pass catchers hauling in a touchdown – two of which were beyond the 50-yard mark.

Senior Dayton Wade charted his third career 100-yard game with 108 yards on seven catches, helped greatly by a 58-yard scoring bomb from Dart late in the third quarter. Other Ole Miss receivers with strong days included Jordan Watkins (6 rec., 73 yards), Caden Prieskorn (6 rec., 69 yards, 1 TD), Tre Harris (4 rec., 63 yards, 1 TD) and freshman Cayden Lee (1 rec., 51 yards, 1 TD).

Senior Ashanti Cistrunk led defensively with seven total tackles (three solo) and a half tackle for loss, while Trey Washington nabbed his third interception of the season along with five tackles.

The first half was a tale of two quarters, as Ole Miss outgained the Warhawks 172-1 in the first frame before ULM flipped the script and led 102-27 in the second. Running back Ulysses Bentley IV broke open the scoring at 4:26 in the first, scampering in from 14 yards out to cap off a long 10-play, 85-yard drive. Neither team would dent the scoreboard again until ULM’s Braxton Guilbeau nailed a 26-yard field goal as time expired to make it a 7-3 Rebel lead at the break.

The Rebel defense forced a three-and-out on ULM’s opening possession of the second half, and from there the Ole Miss passing attack took control. Dart marched the Rebels 78 yards down the field on the ensuing drive, connecting with Tre Harris from 13 yards out to take a 14-3 lead. That was the first of three consecutive touchdown drives by the Rebels in the third quarter, with Dart finding Prieskorn from two yards out at 4:15 and hitting a streaking Dayton Wade on a deep 58-yard missile to take a 28-3 lead at 1:46 heading into the fourth.

Spencer Sanders had a long pass of his own to close the scoring, hitting freshman Cayden Lee on a short pass that Lee broke free on for a 51-yard score with 6:12 to play – putting the Rebels up for good at 35-3.

Ole Miss now has a short week before its annual Egg Bowl contest against Mississippi State (5-6, 1-6 SEC) on Thanksgiving night in Starkville. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. live on ESPN.

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