The Ole Miss football team clicked on all cylinders in its season debut against Mercer.
Returning quarterback Jaxson Dart got the nod as the team’s starter and immediately led the Rebels down the field for a touchdown pass to Louisiana Tech transfer Tre Harris for a 7-0 lead.
Mercer swung back with a score on their very first play from scrimmage. Quarterback Carter Peevy went 75 yards for a touchdown — the only scoring drive the Bears would have in the game.
The Rebels proceeded to score on their next three drives, with Tre Harris hauling in two of the scores, giving Ole Miss a 21-7 lead in the first three minutes of the game. Ole Miss continued its scoring run, adding 52 more points to the scoreboard, including yet another Harris touchdown. Returning punter Fraser Masin only took the field once.
”[Harris] played like this the whole camp. He really looked like a dominant SEC wide receiver,” Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin said. “For him to go out and perform today — in his first power five game — and catch four touchdowns in two-and-a-half quarters of play, I thought that was pretty neat to see.”
Defensively, Ole Miss dominated in its first game under new defensive coordinator Pete Golding. After the first Mercer touchdown, the Rebels only gave up 18 rushing yards and held the Bears to 235 total yards in the game.
The Rebels also won the turnover battle. Despite losing the ball in the red zone due to a fumble by Ulysses Bentley IV, the Rebels forced two fumbles, which resulted in scores by the offense. Liberty transfer Daijahn Anthony also recorded an interception in his debut.
Offensively, Dart led the way in passing, completing 18 of 23 passes for 334 yards and four touchdowns — all to Tre Harris, who had 133 yards and broke the school record for most touchdowns in a game. On the ground, All-American running back Quinshon Judkins had 60 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman linebacker Suntarine Perkins led the team defensively with nine tackles.
Worth noting, Oklahoma State transfer Spencer Sanders went 8 for 14 passing with 134 yards and two touchdowns in his first game as a Rebel. LSU transfer and third-string quarterback Walker Howard also led the team on a touchdown drive.
Ole Miss rotated kickers throughout Saturday’s match. Texas A&M transfer Caden Davis made the team’s lone field goal. He and Caden Costa — who was suspended last season for performance-enhancing drugs — went five-for-five each on extra-point attempts.
Next up for Ole Miss is a road game versus Tulane in New Orleans, La. next Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT.