The No. 13 Ole Miss football team finished their final home game of the season with a 35-3 win over Louisiana Monroe.
Despite a stagnant start on offense, the Rebels found new life in the second half and were able to amass a perfect 6-0 record in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium for the 2023 campaign.
After turning the ball over on downs twice and missing a field goal in the first quarter, Ole Miss recorded its first score of the day with a 14-yard touchdown run from Ulysses Bentley IV late in the period. The Rebels’ offense remained lethargic for the remainder of the half — in large part due to multiple injuries across the offensive line — but the defense was able to pick up the slack.
Pete Golding’s unit forced an interception and allowed the Warhawks’ only three points of the game in the first half. By the time the teams went to the locker room, the score was 7-3, making for the least amount of points the Rebels had recorded in the first half of a game since the week three loss at Alabama.
“I’m not a hunter, but I was asking [our offense] at half, ‘Did they go hunting today?’ Because it’s the first day of hunting [season], they told me… I asked, ‘Did anybody come to the game today?'” Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin joked about his team’s offensive performance in the first half.
Kiffin’s team wasted no time adding to its lead after the intermission and scored on three consecutive possessions.
The defense forced ULM to punt on their first drive of the half and the offense immediately marched down the field. Tre Harris snagged a 13-yard reception to give the Rebels a 14-3 advantage.
The Warhawks’ offense found a little momentum in a mid-third quarter drive but were stifled on a fourth and short attempt. Ole Miss promptly took advantage of the error as Dart tossed a short pass to tight end Caden Priekstorn for his first touchdown as a Rebel.
Ole Miss continued to pull away from the mid-major opponent. In a third-and-long situation, a wide-open Dayton Wade secured a pass, put on the jets, and outran the entire Warhawks’ secondary for a 58-yard score to give the Rebels a 28-3 lead.
Kiffin then turned to his second string unit to carry the team the rest of the way. Backup signal-caller Spencer Sanders located a speedy Cayden Lee for a 51-yard touchdown to hammer the nail in the coffin of Saturday’s match.
Dart led the way in passing, completing 24 of 31 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns. Wade’s 108 yards led the receivers while All-American running back Quinshon Judkins, on his journey to reach 1,000 yards for a second straight season, moved within 67 yards of the milestone.
Defensively, the Rebels held ULM to 258 total yards. Ashanti Cistrunk and Ladarius Tennison had a combined 13 tackles as Trey Washington was responsible for the lone takeaway.
Next up for Ole Miss (9-2, 5-2 SEC) is a Thanksgiving game at Mississippi State in the annual Egg Bowl. Last year, the Rebels fell 24-22 in the late Mike Leach’s last game as the Bulldogs’ head coach before passing away.
“It’s a game that I really want back and I know the guys on the team feel the exact same way about it,” Dart said of the upcoming Egg Bowl. “We can’t wait for the opportunity to play them.”
Kickoff for Thursday’s game between the Rebels and Bulldogs is set for 6:30 p.m. CT.