The Ole Miss Rebels bent but did not break during Saturday’s 48-23 win over Georgia Tech.
Despite early reports that All-American Quinshon Judkins would be doubtful to play in the game, the sophomore running back got the start and gave the team 12 yards on the ground in the opening drive. Kicker Caden Davis split the uprights from 47 yards out to give the Rebels an early 3-0 lead.
Georgia Tech responded with an offensive drive that was stopped short by a blocked field goal recorded by Zxavian Harris and recovered by Daijahn Anthony to give the Rebels’ offense a short field. Quarterback Jaxson Dart took advantage of the turnover with a one-yard touchdown run to take a 10-0 lead.
The Yellowjackets’ offense did not go away. Georgia Tech moved the ball effectively down the field in their second drive and gashed the Rebels. However, the Ole Miss defense stayed strong and was able to force a pass deflection on fourth down.
Ole Miss began to commit some of the same offensive mistakes as their counterparts. The Rebels drove down to the red zone in its third of four possessions of the half, with the drive ending in a turnover on downs as a result of a pass dropped by tight end Michael Trigg in the endzone.
Georgia Tech, once again, moved the ball down the field, and this time, found themselves on the scoreboard with a successful field goal attempt. Pete Golding’s defense was tested all half, but the Rebels maintained a 10-3 lead going into the third quarter.
Ole Miss turned a page early in the second half, forcing Georgia Tech to punt on their first possession and separating themselves on the scoreboard. Running back Ulysses Bentley IV was given the rock and found the endzone to give the Rebels a 17-3 lead.
Another Georgia Tech turnover, this time on a failed fake punt attempt, gave Ole Miss the opportunity to widen the score gap. A six-yard Dart touchdown rush gave the Rebels a 24-3 advantage.
The Yellowjackets, led by a series of third-down conversions, found themselves in the red zone once more with quarterback Haynes King finding the endzone to cut the deficit to 14. King capitalized on a stalled Ole Miss offensive drive with a touchdown pass to Eric Singleton, Jr., putting the team right back into the game.
Ole Miss battled back defensively, stopping the Yellowjackets on consecutive drives and putting the offense in prime position to take over in the fourth quarter. The Rebels outscored Georgia Tech 24-6 down the stretch to ultimately seal the victory.
Though Ole Miss was without star wide receiver Tre Harris, UTSA transfer Zakhari Franklin, and tight end Caden Priekstorn, the team found enough in its offensive unit to withstand the test from a power five opponent.
Dart led the team in passing, going 10 for 18 for 251 yards and a touchdown. The junior signal caller was also effective with his legs, rushing for 136 yards and two touchdowns. Davis, the reigning SEC special teams player of the week, converted two of three field goals and made all five extra-point attempts.
“Jaxson did some really special things today running the ball, making people miss, and running [physically],” Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin said of Dart’s performance. “It was good to get a couple of explosive plays late there in the passing game.”
On the defensive side, Tre Washington led Ole Miss with 10 tackles, two for a loss, and a forced fumble.
Next up for Ole Miss is a road match at Alabama at 2:30 p.m. CT.