No. 23 Ole Miss obliterated No. 12 Georgia 45-14 on Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi.
Chad Kelly led the charge for the Rebels (2-2, 1-1 SEC), accounting for 335 total yards and three touchdowns in three quarters of work. Ole Miss put up 510 yards of offense despite holding the ball for just 24 minutes, 12 seconds.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs (3-1, 1-1) did not come close to keeping pace with their hosts. Georgia didn't get points on the board until the Rebels took their foot off the gas.
Here's a look at the linescore:
|College Football Week 4: No. 12 Georgia at No. 23 Ole Miss|
Ole Miss' season could look a lot different right now if not for a pair of blown leads. The Rebels led Florida State 28-6 in their season opener and stormed ahead of Alabama 24-3 last week, but they lost both contests.
Head coach Hugh Freeze on Monday said his squad, which could have been ranked No. 1 in the country if not for those excruciating collapses, could take important lessons away from those games, per David Johnson of 247Sports:
We've got to, obviously again, coach better, make sure our kids understand better and don't do their own things at certain times. If you would have said that against some teams, I would have said, 'Yeah, I am shocked we are 1-2,' but when you mention Alabama and Florida State, I would think you've been around football long enough to know that they have some of the best players in the nation and no lead is really safe.
Though it's likely too late to resurrect their College Football Playoff hopes, the Rebels responded with the type of performance they needed to avoid letting the season slip further away.
Ole Miss scored 10 points in 102 seconds midway through the first quarter to seize control.
Gary Wunderlich got the Rebels on the board with a 24-yard field goal. The defense then accounted for the game's first touchdown as the versatile Derrick Jones intercepted a third-down pass by Jacob Eason and returned it 52 yards.
CFB on ESPN Radio highlighted the pick-six:
Derrick Jones with a pick-6 for Ole Miss gives them a 10-0 lead in the 1st quarter! Heard on @ESPNRadio. https://t.co/fLHrJh80Rd2016-9-24 16:36:25
D'Vaughn Pennamon powered in from one yard out late in the opening quarter to help stretch the lead to 17-0. Of course, given the Rebels' recent problems, the early advantage felt far from safe.
They continued to roll in the second, though.
Kelly connected with DaMarkus Lodge for a 55-yard touchdown on a play that will probably end up on some year-end highlight reels. The Mississippi quarterback evaded pressure before heaving a long pass into tight coverage, but that didn't prevent the sophomore wideout from reeling it in.
CFB on ESPN Radio provided a look at the score:
It's all Ole Miss today. Chad Kelly throws a 55 yard touchdown to DaMarkus Lodge. Rebels lead 24-0. Heard on @ESPNRadio. https://t.co/8aWJsUepPK2016-9-24 17:14:24
Kelly also set a new program record with the touchdown, per ESPN Stats & Info:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Chad Kelly has thrown a TD pass in 17 straight games, breaking Eli Manning's @OleMissFB record2016-9-24 17:26:59
Ole Miss found paydirt again just before halftime as Kelly threw up another jump ball, this time from nine yards out, and tight end Evan Engram came down with his third score in four games.
Dane Brugler of CBS Sports noted the Rebels' first-half dominance:
Dane Brugler @dpbrugler
In 4 games in 2016, #OleMiss out-scouting opponents 107-33 in the 1st half.2016-9-24 17:40:21
The second half also started on a high note for Ole Miss. It took the first drive after the break 70 yards in seven plays for another touchdown, with Eugene Brazley getting to the edge and then into the end zone from five yards out.
Georgia got more bad news when running back Nick Chubb was forced to leave the contest with an ankle injury, per Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald:
Marc Weiszer @marcweiszer
News: UGA RB Nick Chubb "out for now" with an ankle injury, according to press box announcement.2016-9-24 17:53:11
The Bulldogs finally scored with five minutes left in the third quarter, as Brian Herrien ran in from 10 yards out to cap a seven-play, 75-yard drive.
UGA Football Live liked what Herrien showed in relief of Chubb:
UGA Football Live @UGAfootballLive
Freshman running back Brian Herrien running hard at the moment. Props to the kid. Has a bright future in red & black.2016-9-24 18:24:52
There was no miracle comeback in the cards this week, however.
Ole Miss hosts Memphis next week, then faces back-to-back road games against No. 17 Arkansas and No. 18 LSU before returning home to play Auburn.
The Rebels could climb in the rankings if they sweep those games, especially if the Razorbacks and Tigers remain in the Top 25. But it's going to take many more consistent performances.
Meanwhile, the loss was a significant setback for Georgia, which has a favorable schedule on the horizon. The Bulldogs' only remaining games against ranked teams are at home versus No. 14 Tennessee next week and a neutral-site meeting with No. 19 Florida on Oct. 29. The slate probably isn't strong enough for the squad to make a case for the playoff should it finish with this one loss.
ESPN passed along Freeze's remarks:
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart provided an update on Chubb's status, per Radi Nabulsi of UGASports.com:
Radi Nabulsi @RadiNabulsi
Nick Chubb has an ankle sprain, the severity of which is unknown, per Kirby Smart https://t.co/etBpoVMsYt2016-9-24 19:47:04
Anthony Dasher of UGASports.com noted Smart also expressed confidence the Bulldogs can rebound.
"We didn't do a good job today," Smart said, "but this team will come back and fight."