No. 18 Ole Miss cruises past Wofford 38-13
OXFORD – Senior quarterback Chad Kelly wasn’t bothered by the short week following the Rebels’ Monday night game against Florida State and challenged himself to play error-free football in Ole Miss’ home-opener against Wofford.
Behind Kelly’s three touchdown passes (no interceptions) and the defense’s steady play against Wofford’s triple option offense, No. 18 Ole Miss rolled past the Terriers 38-13 Saturday afternoon inside the newly-renovated Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
The Rebels’ redshirt freshman quarterback Jason Pellerin, who completed 2-of-3 passes for 23 yards, scored the team’s final two TD’s – one on a three-yard run and the other a 12-yard pass to freshman wide receiver A.J Brown.
The Rebels (1-1) improve to 5-0 against FCS teams under head coach Hugh Freeze. Since 2005, Ole Miss has won 12 of 13 games against FCS teams.
“Man, I’m glad to get a win in our home opener of the new improved Vaught-Hemingway,” Freeze said. “It was a difficult week and I thought our kids came out with an edge.”
Rebels get off to a quick start
As they did in the first half Monday night against Florida State, the Rebels got off to a quick start against Wofford, successfully keeping the Terriers’ defense off balance. Kelly got the offense going quickly with a 9-play, 42-yard drive to setup Gary Wunderlich’s 40-yard field goal. Kelly completed 5-of-7 passes on the drive—with three resulting in first downs.
On the Rebels’ next scoring drive, Kelly completed a five-yard TD pass to junior wide receiver Markell Pack. On the team’s next scoring drive, Kelly promptly found Pack again, this time for a 30-yard reception to set up Eugene Brazley’s two-yard touchdown run.
Kelly was 20-of-27 for 219 yards passing and avoiding turnovers in the game meant a lot to the Buffalo, New York native.
Chad Kelly on playing turnover-free football
On 2nd-and-7 from the Terriers’ seven, Kelly found freshman wide receiver D.K. Metcalf who made an acrobatic catch in the back of the end zone to put Ole Miss up 17-0. Another touchdown pass from Kelly, this time to senior wide out Quincy Adeboyejo, gave the Rebels a comfortable 24-3 lead.
Midway through the second quarter, however, Metcalf was seen limping to the locker room, and he didn’t return after being diagnosed with a broken left foot. The freshman wide receiver from Oxford High School came out in the third quarter with a walking boot on his left foot. In the post game press conference, Freeze explained he does not yet know when Metcalf could return to the team—and said there’s a chance Metcalf could receive a medical redshirt season.
“We really felt good about him in the red zone,” Freeze said of Metcalf, who was quickly becoming a go-to target for Kelly.
Wofford’s triple option wasn’t as effective as it was in the team’s season-opening road win at Tennessee Tech. The Terriers (1-1) mustered field goals of 29 and 50 yards from David Marvin. Junior quarterback Brad Butler completed 4-of-7 passes for 40 yards, but rushed past several Rebels for the 16-yard TD late early in the fourth quarter.
Wofford had 305 yards of total offense (233 rushing).
Wide receiver/cornerback Derrick Jones didn’t dress out against Wofford due to a violation of team rules, but Freeze expects him back soon.
“He and I are working through it. I love that kid,” Freeze said.
Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly discusses the win over Wofford
Ole Miss hosts Alabama at 2:30 p.m. CT.
(Feature image credit: Amanda Swain, The Rebel Walk)
Courtney is from Memphis and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis in May of 2014. He began his journalism career covering the Memphis Tigers Men’s basketball team, which landed him an intern position on 730 Yahoo Sports Radio and a position with Rivals.com. A freelance writer for the Associated Press, Courtney is also a member of The Rebel Walk team and reports regularly on Ole Miss football and basketball. Courtney, the father of a six-year old girl named Soniyah, prefers to cover NCAA basketball and football, but is happy to report on any other sport that comes his way.