ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Carson Beck threw for 306 yards, Kendall Milton ran for 127 yards and Brock Bowers made a triumphant return for No. 1 Georgia, which punctuated its return to the Southeastern Conference championship game with a 52-17 rout of No. 10 Mississippi on Saturday night.
The Bulldogs (10-0, 7-0 SEC, No. 2 College Football Playoff) turned in their most impressive performance of the season on a cool, rainy night in Georgia, seemingly peaking at just the right time to make a run at their third straight national title.
Georgia scored touchdowns on its first four possessions, building a 28-14 halftime lead against Ole Miss (8-2, 5-2, No. 9) and cruising the rest of the way to its 27th consecutive victory.
Beck completed 18 of 25 passes, including a 29-yard touchdown to Ladd McConkey and an 8-yard scoring connection with Bowers, the star tight end who had missed the two previous games after undergoing surgery for a high ankle sprain.
Milton and Daijun Edwards ran for two touchdowns apiece as Georgia piled up 293 yards on the ground and 610 yards overall. Milton essentially finished off the Rebels with a 33-yard scoring burst right up the middle early in the third quarter.
Even before the kickoff, the Bulldogs had reason to celebrate. They clinched the SEC East and a Dec. 2 showdown against Alabama when No. 16 Missouri blew away No. 14 Tennessee 36-7.
Then there was the return of Bowers, who was injured in an Oct. 14 victory over Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs beat Florida and Missouri without their most dynamic offensive weapon, but the red-and-black faithful were sure glad to have him back.
A huge cheer went up from the crowd when Bowers was shown on the video board as one of the starters, just 26 days after his surgical procedure. He didn't have a huge game — three catches for 34 yards — but the touchdown reception in the opening minute of the fourth quarter was a reminder of what he means to the offense.
Bowers' mere presence requires defenses to lean his way, opening up the field for his teammates. Georgia averaged 10 yards per snap, piling up more than 300 yards in each half.
Eliminated from contention in the SEC West by No. 8 Alabama's 49-21 victory over Kentucky earlier in the day, Ole Miss pulled out all the stops in hopes of becoming the first team since 2021 to beat Georgia. The Rebels went for it three times on fourth down, converting twice, and also pulled off a fake punt.
It wasn't nearly enough against a Georgia team that is chasing history, even with Quinshon Judkins running for a pair of touchdowns early on.
In a further blow to the Rebels, quarterback Jaxson Dart was knocked out of the game late in the third quarter after being sandwiched between two Georgia defenders while running the ball.
Ole Miss: The Rebels had hopes that an upset of Georgia might vault them into the College Football Playoff mix, even if they didn't get a chance to play for the SEC title. Instead, Lane Kiffin's team showed it's not yet ready to contend with the big boys. The Rebels had no answer for a Georgia offense that moved up and down the field at will. It was a rough night for Dart, who threw for just 112 yards with a pick.
Georgia: The Bulldogs are another step closer to an unprecedented three-peat. No team in the poll era has captured three straight national titles, but this group appears to be playing with the same drive, passion and determination as the two previous season. Beck has developed into one of the nation's best quarterbacks, and the unit around him is now back to full strength with the return of Bowers. Good luck to anyone trying to knock off the Georgia juggernaut.
Ole Miss: Will look to avoid a big letdown when it hosts Louisiana-Monroe in a non-conference game next Saturday.
Georgia: Travel to Rocky Top to face No. 14 Tennessee next weekend, a matchup that lost a bit of luster after the Vols' faceplant at Missouri.