Three Takeaways from the Rebels’ 42-0 win over Georgia Tech
ATLANTA — Ole Miss showcased an impressive performance in the Rebels’ 42-0 win over Georgia Tech.
Ole Miss absolutely dominated the Yellow Jackets in every facet of the game in what was the team’s toughest test yet of the 2022 season. Here are my three takeaways from the victory that moves Ole Miss to 3-0.
They are starting to look the part
The Rebels are starting to prove me right about a few of my earlier takeaways. The defense and running game have a realistic chance to be one of the best in the country in their respective rooms.
While I’ll try not to make any hefty assumptions — at least until we get to league play — it does appear as if things are coming together for this team.
Ole Miss dominated Georgia Tech in the areas the Rebels are expected to do well. Lane Kiffin’s team rushed for 316 yards and notched six rushing touchdowns on the day, and there was absolutely nothing Georgia Tech could do to slow them down.
Zach Evans and Quinshon Judkins continue to make their case for being one of the best running back duos in the country. Ulysses Bentley IV got in on the action too, scoring two rushing touchdowns on the day. Until proven otherwise, this running back room can propel Ole Miss to the status of an elite offense.
Defensively, Ole Miss continues to give opposing teams next to nothing to work with. They are a physical, deep unit that seems to always be in the right place at the right time. They aren’t just dominant because they are more talented than the teams they’ve played; they are a disciplined group that is extremely well-coached.
They have not made many mistakes in these first three games. Saturday against Georgia Tech, the Rebels allowed just 214 yards of total offense while getting to the quarterback for seven sacks.
Offensive line played much improved
While the offensive line didn’t play bad in the first two weeks of the season, they could have played better, especially given all the experience the unit has. They improved a great deal this week, particularly in the run game. As a unit, they controlled the line of scrimmage all day and played a big part in the team rushing for 316 yards against the Yellow Jackets.
Although there were a few times against Georgia Tech where the pass blocking could have been a bit better, there were also many times quarterback Jaxson Dart had plenty of time to throw. It would be a huge factor in the development of both young quarterbacks if they have a clean pocket consistently.
The weird SEC West gives Ole Miss a legit chance
Not to look too far ahead, but when you see what’s happening around the SEC West, it’s hard not to think about what Ole Miss can do if the Rebels turn out to be who many of us think they can.
Against Texas, Alabama showed it has some issues that need fixing. While the Tide is still obviously a very, very good football team, the team does look like they could be beatable if you can catch them on the right night.
Nick Saban’s team is missing some of the receiving talent they lost from a year ago, and their offensive line struggled somewhat against Texas. Anything can happen as the season rolls on, of course, but right now Alabama doesn’t look as dominating as in year’s past. (Note: The Tide did defeat Louisiana Monroe, 63-7, Saturday, but that might not be the best indicator of strength.)
Texas A&M has some serious offensive issues — and in response to last week’s loss to Appalachian State, the Aggies switched quarterbacks to LSU transfer Max Johnson. The Rebels’ game against them should be a good matchup for Ole Miss. The game is far away, but if it took place next week I would go with the Rebs.
LSU is still in a rebuilding phase and the Tigers are going to have some growing pains along the way. They defeated State this evening, 31-16, but it was close until late in the game. At the moment I don’t see them as a real threat to dominate in the division.
As for Mississippi State, the verdict is still out on them as well. As mentioned above, they lost to LSU Saturday night in Baton Rouge. Quarterback Will Rogers has settled into the Air Raid offense about as well as one can, and Mike Leach teams typically overachieve in year three — but I still think they lack the talent on both sides of the ball to propel them to nine or more wins.
Arkansas is going to be a tough out for anyone they play, but at the same time, they are beatable. It took the Hogs until the final quarter of tonight’s game to pull away from FCS Missouri State in a 38-27 win. Arkansas had been favored by 25.5 points. It wouldn’t be shocking if Ole Miss’ trip to Fayetteville in late November had high stakes.
Yes, this is just the end of week three, and there are likely many ups and downs to come in the season for all the leagues’ teams, but it appears the SEC West may have a chance to be open for the taking.
(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)
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.