Georgia never stood a chance.
From the opening kick, it was clear Mississippi was fielding the better football team. Georgia’s offense could never get going. Conversely, everything Ole Miss did hit for chunk plays and scores. The result was a 45-14 Rebels win, with Georgia (3-1, 1-1 SEC) experiencing one of the worst losses in modern program history.
Mississippi (2-2, 1-1) jumped out to a 10-0 lead early in the first quarter, thanks to a Jacob Eason pick-six returned by Rebels defensive back Derrick Jones. The Rebels then jumped out to a 17-0 lead with a late first-quarter rushing touchdown from D’Vaughn Pennamon.
The Rebels poured it on in the second quarter and went to the half with a 31-0 lead. From there, Ole Miss was in cruise control throughout the remainder of the game.
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For Georgia, it’s the worst loss since the 2011 SEC Championship, when it lost 42-10 to LSU. It’s the worst regular season loss since 2008, when the Bulldogs lost to Florida 49-10.
Four who mattered
Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly: Kelly made it look easy out there, throwing for 282 yards and two touchdowns. He also carried the ball four times for 52 yards, which included a 41-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter. Kelly couldn’t be stopped and was rarely pressured.
Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram: Engram was the top recipient of Kelly’s big day, punishing his home-state school with 95 yards and a touchdown. Engram’s long was a 37-yard reception on a wide receiver pass from Markell Pack.
Ole Miss linebacker Detric Bing-Dukes: The former Georgia linebaker and fullback, who transferred to Iowa Western Community College before enrolling at Mississippi, had a strong day defensively. He finished with seven tackles and was seemingly all over the field at the start.
Georgia running back Brian Herrien: He makes the list only because it feels necessary to include a Georgia player. Herrien, mostly in garbage time, finished with 11 carries for 78 yards and two touchdowns.
The game was over almost immediately, as the Rebels dominated from the opening kickoff.
Eason looked like a freshman: Through three games, Eason showed the kind of poise and wherewithal you want from your quarterback. Against Ole Miss, he looked the part of a true freshman. Early deep balls were overthrown, and the Ole Miss pass rush prevented him from getting into any kind of rhythm. Eason’s day ended 16-of-36 passing for 137 yards and an interception.
Where’s the defense?: Georgia adjusted well to the Missouri spread in the second half a week ago. It never had the chance to do so against the Rebels. Ole Miss accounted for 511 total yards and moved the ball at will. The Rebels didn’t commit a turnover until the starters were pulled in the fourth quarter. Georgia could barely put pressure on Kelly, who had a field day with the Bulldogs’ secondary as a result. Lorenzo Carter missed on what should’ve been two sacks. The coaching staff shuffled its personnel to get Deandre Baker and Rico McGraw in the game, but neither move worked.
Offensive line struggles again: While the Bulldogs did run for 230 yards and got two Herrien touchdowns with the game out of hand, the inability to run the ball between the tackles was once again a glaring weakness. A couple of outside runs were effective, with Georgia deciding not to do more of that. Without the threat of the run, Georgia became a one-dimensional offense that couldn’t match Ole Miss on the scoreboard.
Chubb injured: Georgia running back Nick Chubb sustained a left ankle injury in the first half and was unable to return. His day ended with 12 carries for 57 yards.
Kicking change: Starting this game as Georgia’s place-kicker was Rodrigo Blankenship, who took over for William Ham. Blankenship attempted a 36-yard field goal in the first half and missed wide to the right. The Bulldogs are now 3-of-8 kicking for the season.
Fake punt play works: In desperation mode in the second quarter, Georgia called a fake punt at its own 40-yard line. Marshall Long threw a pass to running back Sony Michel, who took the play 29 yards for a first down. Georgia, however, was unable to score on the drive.
Holyfield checks into game late: With Ole Miss blowing Georgia out, Elijah Holyfield got his first action at running back. Holyfield recorded four carries for 27 yards.
They said it
Michel on moving on from Saturday’s loss: “You need to learn how to let things go. You have a 24-hour rule, whether you win or lose. You have to move on like that game never happened.”
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart on the loss: “You never believe you are going to play like that. I think that we did not respond well when they had success. Yet every other game so far, we have responded. We did not get away with some things defensively that we had in the past. They made the plays down the field when they had to.”
Ole Miss linebacker DeMarquis Gates on beating his home-state team: “I watched them growing up, UGA was my favorite team. I wanted to get a scholarship to play in college there, but stuff happened and I ended up here and it feels very great to get a win here.”
Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze on responding following last week’s loss to Alabama: “It’s hard for me to remember all of them, but this one will stand out because of the type of losses that we had to the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country when we played them. I believe that is what they were ranked at the time. When you lose games like that and felt like you could have won, and when you have to hear about it in this world with all of the social media world, it hurts. It stings. This one is pretty special.”
Georgia will host Tennessee at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Sanford Stadium.