by Joseph W. Gex II, Contributing Writer
The Ole Miss Rebels (3-0) hosted the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-2) at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium-Jerry Hollingsworth Field on Saturday, September 16. The Rebels surged late in the second half to claim a 48-23 victory.
The Rebels continued their offensive prowess under head coach Lane Kiffin by racking up 556 yards of total offense including 299 yards on the ground; however, Georgia Tech was not far behind with 474 yards. The Rebels were without WR Tre Harris, TE Caden Prieskorn, and RB Quinshon Judkins did not start the game due to his lack of practice for an undisclosed injury. Nonetheless, the Rebels came away with the win.
Caden Davis started the Rebels on the scoreboard with a 47-yard field goal with 12:38 left in the first quarter.
Ole Miss was able to keep the Yellow Jackets out of the end zone and get the ball back for another score before the close of the period. Jaxson Dart scored from one yard out with 3:02 left in the opening quarter. Davis’s PAT was good making the score 10-0.
The Yellow Jackets and the Rebels played a game a chess in the second quarter with neither team advancing the football until Georgia Tech converted on a 22-yard field goal by Aidan Burr with 1:09 left before intermission to make the halftime score 10-3.
The Rebels came out in the second half and forced a Georgia Tech punt that led to a five play 71-yard drive capped by a 21-yard scoring run by Ulysses Bentley IV with 9:45 remaining in the third quarter. Davis’s PAT made the score 17-3.
The Yellow Jackets were stopped cold on a fourth down play on the ensuing drive by the Rebel defense which gave Ole Miss the ball at the Yellow Jacket 28-yard line.
Dart capped the drive with a six-yard scoring run with 6:00 left in the third quarter. Davis’s PAT was good pushing the score to 24-3.
Georgia Tech answered the call this time with Haynes King scoring from one yard out with 2:07 left in the third quarter. Birr’s PAT was good making the score 24-10.
The Yellow Jackets stepped up on defense and forced Ole Miss into a punt that gave Georgia Tech the ball back. King connected with Eric Singleton, Jr., on a 15-yard scoring aerial with 10:31 left in the game. Birr’s PAT made the score 24-17.
The Rebels went to the air and took back the momentum as Dart hooked up with Dayton Wade on a 40-yard completion that setup a Davis 45-yard field goal with 7:45 remaining to make the score 27-17.
The Landshark defense forced another three-and-out and Dart went right back to the airwaves connecting with Jordan Watkins on a 68-yard scoring strike with 5:59 left to play. Davis’s PAT made the score 34-17.
Another fourth down stop by the Rebel defense gave the ball back to Dart and he found Wade again for a 43-yard connection. Judkins scored from one yard out, the 20th touchdown in his career, with 3:40 left to play. Davis’s PAT made the score 41-17. Judkins is now tied for eighth on the Ole Miss touchdown list.
The Yellow Jackets were able to add a score late when King hooked up with Avery Boyd on a 14-yard scoring aerial with 1:34 left to play. The two-point conversion attempt failed leaving the score 41-23.
The Rebels added a touchdown late when Matt Jones burst through the line for a 36-yard scoring run with 49 seconds left to play. Davis’s PAT made the final tally 48-23.
Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin commented, “It was good to see us finish strong today despite having some guys out. The defense is still giving up too many rushing yards. Georgia Tech came in with the top offense in the ACC and did some nice things. But we have to clean some things up. We have to et past this one and get ready for Alabama. It is always tough going on the road in the SEC, but we have to go on the road and play a dynasty. That will be a big challenge, so we will need to have a strong week of practice and get focused.”
Dart rushed 14 times for 136 yards and two touchdowns while Bentley had six carries for 61 yards and a touchdown. Dart threw for 251 yards and a touchdown on 10-for-18 passing. Watkins caught four passes for 119 yards and a touchdown while Wade hauled in three passes for 86 yards.
Trey Washington led the defense with 10 tackles including two tackles for loss followed by Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste with eight.
The Rebels travel to Alabama tomorrow for a game against the Crimson Tide. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m.
Front Photo: Mississippi coach Lane Kiffin walks the sideline during the second half the team’s NCAA college football game against Georgia Tech in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Thomas Graning)
Inside Photo: Ole Miss defensive back Trey Washington speaks to the media following his 10-tackle performance in the Rebels’ 48-23 victory on Saturday over Georgia Tech. Photo by Joseph W. Gex II.