Ole Miss quarterback Jaxson Dart shows his toughness in Rebels’ win over Georgia Tech
ATLANTA –When Jaxson Dart arrived on the Ole Miss campus as a transfer from Southern Cal last spring, the sophomore was known for his strong passing arm.
Three games into his Rebels’ career, his signature play has come courtesy of his legs and heart.
Late in the third quarter in Saturday’s 42-0 win over Georgia Tech, Ole Miss was faced with a third down-and-9 at the Yellow Jackets’ 26. Dart took the ball around the left end, and instead of stepping out of bounds, he lowered his head into the body of defensive back Jaylon King and drove the 192 pounder backwards toward the first down marker.
Jaxson Dart steamrolling GT. 💪🏼 pic.twitter.com/oaSNS2pRlu
— The Rebel Walk (@TheRebelWalk) September 17, 2022
Although Dart came up just short of the fresh set of downs, he got the Rebels close enough for Ulysses Bentley IV to gain the yard still needed on the next play.
The play seemed important in the game, but it may have meant more to Dart’s teammates.
“That got all of us riled up. I mean you know when you got a quarterback that’s balling like that, like I mean we prefer for him to get out of bounds or slide but he showed us a lot today.”
Ole Miss running back Zach Evans on Dart’s run
But for Dart, there was no stepping out of bounds on the play.
“I heard Coach Kiffin, there was someone telling me to stay inbounds and try to get the first down and you know that was already my mentality. So, you know, I just try to do all I can to get the first down.”
Ole Miss quarterback Jaxson Dart
Seven plays later, the Rebels were in the end zone.
Ole Miss rushed for 349 yards and six touchdowns as Evans, Bentley, and Quinshon Judkins each found the end zone twice. Dart had 40 yards on the ground.
Dart was in the action during that pivotal play, but he knows the emotion it elicits in teammates from having seen it himself.
“I know for me when I see somebody on our team truck someone, it gets me all juiced up. So, I think that’s just kind of how the situation played out. I was just trying to do all I can to do something like that, and a lot of people got excited.”
There are lots of reasons for Ole Miss fans to be excited. The Rebels are 3-0 and return home this Saturday to face Tulsa in the final non-conference game of the season.
Will Dart start against the Golden Hurricanes? Only Lane Kiffin knows the answer. Throughout spring and fall, Dart has been engaged in a quarterback competition with teammate Luke Altmyer, also a sophomore, who backed up Matt Corral last season. Altmyer suffered a shoulder injury against Central Arkansas which led to limited action against Georgia Tech.
What is not in question is the Rebels’ ground game.
So far this season, the Ole Miss rushing attack is averaging 271.7 yards per game and 5.7 yards per rush. Dart, Evans, Judkins and Bentley are each averaging over five yards per carry. Through the air, Dart finished 10-for-16 for 207 yards with one interception against the Yellow Jackets.
But a game like Saturday’s that featured six touchdowns on the ground and no passing scores is not something Ole Miss fans have seen in quite some time.
Even Dart admitted it had been years since he had seen a game like that. “Not in a while,” Dart said after the game. “In high school for my first three years, I kind of played in a Wing-T offense so that kind of played out somewhat similar but you know you’re just really excited to win the game.”
With a rushing attack like this one, the Rebels should win a few more games this season.
Ole Miss and Tulsa kick off at 3 p.m. and the game can be seen on the SEC Network.
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.