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Ole Miss defeats Troy, 28-10, in season opener at Vaught-Hemingway

Ole Miss defeats Troy, 28-10, in season opener at Vaught-Hemingway

OXFORD, Miss. — The Ole Miss football team started its 2022 campaign by defeating the Troy Trojans, 28-10, at Vaught-Hemingway Saturday.  

“Glad to get to 1-0, you can’t get to 2-0, so we did that,” head coach Lane Kiffin said after the game.

I really liked how we played defense in the first half, how we ran the ball, they were playing pretty safe on defense. We checked the ball down, we were fishing. Then, second half you have too many yards on defense, but then still kept the ball in front of us, did a really good job at rushing the passer there at the end. Played some really good defense with a lot of new guys in there.

Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin on the win over Troy

Jaxson Dart started the game for the Rebels, and the sophomore quarterback finished his day going 18-27 with 154 yards, one touchdown pass, and one interception. Luke Altmyer threw for thirteen yards while going one for two through the air.

Before the game, the announcers relayed a conversation they had with head coach Lane Kiffin, noting the Rebels’ coach indicated while Jaxson Dart would start game one, Luke Altmyer will start game two.

Talked to both of them, just said this thing is so even, it’s not fair of us to just pick one because it’s so even; we just need to see you play…we are going to go first with one today and then first with the other one. Luke will go first next Saturday. I just didn’t want to do the one game one game thing because I wanted them to both play in both and both have a chance to start and both have a chance to come off the bench.

Coach Kiffin on the quarterbacks

The Ole Miss running backs looked as good as advertised. Zach Evans ran for 130 yards on twenty carries, going for over 100 in the first half, alone. 

True freshman Quinshon Judkins looked impressive as anyone in his first career game as he rushed for 87 yards on 14 carries. He also scored one touchdown. 

Defensively, the Rebels had multiple guys flying all over the field all game. Khari Coleman stole the show, finishing the game with eight tackles, two sacks, and five tackles for loss. 

Troy Brown shined by producing six solo tackles (ten total) while Tysheem Johnson notched six solos of his own (twelve total).

First-half action

Both teams came out of the gate a little rusty and punted on their first possessions. Troy had some early success running the ball, but the Ole Miss defense was able to force two punts after giving up quick first downs on each of Troy’s first two possessions.

The Rebels were able to find success on the ground on their second drive as a 46-yard run by Zach Evans would put them deep into Trojan territory. 

After the game, Evans offered his thanks to the fans who were in attendance.

I feel good. It was amazing energy in the Vaught today. I want to thank the fans and everybody for coming out. I want to thank y’all for just paying attention and being in tune. It was amazing out there. Me personally, at TCU I think we held 40,000. The crowd was waking me up in the second half. It felt good being out there and being able to perform for y’all. I’m really blessed and thankful.

Ole Miss running back Zach Evans

Ole Miss would eventually march down to the goal line where Ulysses Bentley IV would punch it in from two yards out to give the Rebels their first score of the season and a 7-0 lead.

On the ensuing possession, Troy would once again run the ball for a first down but the drive would soon stall, yet again, as Khari Coleman came through with four tackles on the drive — with three of them coming in the Trojan backfield.

Ole Miss responded offensively with a 10-play, 79-yard drive that saw Judkins carry the Rebels downfield with several chunk gains. 

Senior wide receiver Jonathan Mingo would eventually score on a two-yard rush of his own to put Ole Miss up 14-0 early in the second quarter.

The Rebel defense began to really settle in on the next drive, forcing its first three and out of the game. The offense would follow them up with a quick score on yet another two-yard rushing touchdown, this one from Judkins, after long runs from Evans and Dart set them up on Troy’s goal line.

Each team’s next possession ended in a punt and Troy would drive down the field and kick a field goal to make the score 21-3, Ole Miss, heading into halftime.

Second-half action

Dart looked his sharpest of the day coming out of the locker room, completing six passes on the opening drive of the third quarter — which included a 21-yarder to tight end Michael Trigg and a twelve-yarder to Malik Heath that would score a touchdown and put the Rebels up 28-3 early in the third.

The Rebel defense would once again force a Trojan punt, but a fumble by Evans would give the ball right back to Troy after another good looking string of plays by Dart.

Two plays later, Miles Battle picked up his first interception of the season to set Ole Miss up deep into Trojan territory. 

But, the Rebels would turn it over as Dart threw his first interception as a Rebel, giving the ball right back to the Trojans.

Troy would then sustain a nice drive, forcing its way deep into Ole Miss territory. However, a strip sack on fourth down would end it as the Rebel defense once again held the Trojans scoreless on the drive.

Ole Miss took the 28-3 lead into the fourth quarter. With 7:17 to go in the game, Troy finally found the end zone following an errant Ole Miss snap that gave the Trojans the ball deep in Rebel territory. That would make the score 28-10, a final margin that would hold for the rest of the game.

Next Up:

Ole Miss moves to 1-0 on the year and extends its home winning streak. The Rebels welcome Central Arkansas into Oxford for a 6:00 kickoff next Saturday, September 10.

(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)

Dillon Cader
Dillon Cader

Dillon is from Yazoo City, Ms. He is a senior journalism major pursuing a career in sportswriting. He grew up an Ole Miss fan and has always followed Ole Miss sports as well as the Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Braves. He played football and basketball in high school and enjoys spending time with friends and family.

About The Author

Dillon Cader

Dillon is from Yazoo City, Ms. He is a senior journalism major pursuing a career in sportswriting. He grew up an Ole Miss fan and has always followed Ole Miss sports as well as the Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Braves. He played football and basketball in high school and enjoys spending time with friends and family.

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