OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Jaxson Dart ran for two touchdowns and threw for another as No. 17 Mississippi pulled away in the final 10 minutes to defeat Georgia Tech 48-23 on Saturday night.
Ole Miss (3-0) needed a 45-yard field goal from Caden Davis, a 68-yard touchdown reception by Jordan Watkins from Dart and a 1-yard run by Quinshon Judkins to seal the win after Georgia Tech pulled within 24-17 with 10:31 remaining.
“It’s good to get to 3-0. It wasn’t pretty at times but all you can be after three games is 3-0 and that’s great,” Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin said. “Jaxson did some special things running the ball and he made a couple of explosive plays in the passing game, too.”
Dart finished 10 of 18 passing for 251 yards and added 14 rushes for 136 yards. He scored on runs of 1 and 6 yards as the Rebels had 550 total yards of offense, 341 in the second half.
“I thought we did a good job of getting back to being balanced and that means running the ball,” Dart said. “I do need to slide more at the end of my runs. My Mom reminds me all the time to slide."
Georgia Tech (1-2) was led by Haynes King, who was 28 of 41 passing for 310 yards and two touchdowns. Trailing 24-3, King had a 1-yard scoring run and a 15-yard scoring pass to Eric Singleton Jr. to pull within 24-17. He added a late touchdown pass of 14 yards to Avery Boyd.
“Disappointing game. Disappointing,” Georgia Tech coach Brent Key repeated. “It’s disappointing any time you don’t come out with the outcome you want.”
The Rebels played without leading receiver Tre Harris, who sustained a knee injury in last week’s win over Tulane. Harris, a Louisiana Tech transfer, had five touchdown receptions in two starts, including a school record four scores in the opening win over Mercer.
Judkins, who was listed as doubtful, played despite being limited during practice all week with midsection discomfort. He finished with 13 carries for 37 yards rushing including the fourth-quarter scoring run.
“I commend him for playing,” Kiffin said. “He played physical and was out there helping us win. It’s clear we’ve got significant major impact injuries on offense.”
Ulysses Bentley and Matt Jones scored on runs of 21 and 36 yards respectively.
DECISIVE DOUBLE PLAY
Ole Miss got two big plays in the kicking game. In the first quarter, Zxavian Harris blocked a 43-yard field goal attempt and Ole Miss followed with a touchdown drive of 34 yards, capped by a 1-yard run from Dart for a 10-0 lead.
In the third period, Georgia Tech failed on a fourth down pass from punt formation, as Ole Miss took over at the Georgia Tech 28-yard line. Five plays later, Dart scored on a 6-yard run for a 24-3 lead.
Georgia Tech: Defensive tackle D’Quan Douse had nine tackles, including one for loss. The rebuilding work of Brent Key provided a much better performance than last year’s embarrassing 42-0 home loss. Despite a 1-2 start, improved Georgia Tech has the look of an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) spoiler with realistic hopes of postseason play.
“We will take some of the positives we had and build on those,” Key said. “But at the end of the day, we have some things we need to get better at.”
Ole Miss: The Rebels avoided getting caught looking ahead to Saturday’s Southeastern Conference (SEC) opener at No. 10 Alabama. That is followed by consecutive home games with No. 14 Louisiana State University and Arkansas.
“We’re happy to be 3-0 but now It’s SEC time,” Bentley said. “It’s going to be a big task and challenge this week. We know it."
The No. 17 Rebels remain the fifth highest ranked of six SEC teams in the Top 25 poll. Pending an upset of higher ranked SEC teams, Ole Miss is not expected to receive a strong upwards push.
Georgia Tech: A two-game road trip concludes at Wake Forest on Saturday.
Ole Miss: The No. 17 Rebels visit No. 10 Alabama in an SEC West Division showdown on Saturday.
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