Mercer no match for Mississippi State, loses 73-7


OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Jaxson Dart threw four touchdown passes, including three to Tre Harris in the opening four minutes as No. 22 Mississippi rolled to a 73-7 rout of Mercer on Saturday.

“I felt we were really prepared coming in,” Dart said. “I really like our confidence and being able to execute what was called.”

Ole Miss (1-0) opened with four consecutive touchdown drives and built a 38-7 halftime lead. Dart was 11 of 11 for 237 yards in the early surge and finished 18 of 23 passing for 334 yards before yielding to Oklahoma State transfer Spencer Sanders midway through the third quarter.

“It was a really good start for Jaxson. A lot of good things today,” Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin said. “And for Tre Harris, that’s pretty amazing and especially to do it that fast. He only got in about a quarter and a half.”

Harris, a transfer from Louisiana Tech after earning All-Conference USA honors last season, had touchdown receptions of 38, 28 and 20 yards on the early scoring drives.

“We’ve had a lot of really great receivers come out of here,” Kiffin said. “I’m proud for Tre, but I’m also proud of how all three phases of the game came together. I commend this team for really playing well.”

Harris added a 16-yard touchdown catch early in the third quarter to break a school record for TD receptions in a single game.

“I didn’t realize about setting the touchdown catch record until I looked up and saw we had those first-quarter touchdowns,” Harris said. “It’s been unbelievable for me since I’ve come here. I’m really happy.”

Quinshon Judkins had touchdown runs of 1 and 3 yards and finished with 60 yards on 13 carries. Jordan Watkins added a 69-yard punt return for a score. Sanders was 8 of 14 for 134 yards and two touchdowns as the Rebels finished with 667 yards of total offense.

Mercer (1-1), ranked No. 22 in the AFCA poll of FCS schools, scored on its first offensive snap, a 75-yard run by quarterback Carter Peevy. The Bears finished with 237 yards of total offense, including 138 from Peevy on 16 of 29 passing, but never seriously threatened again.

“We got kicked in the gut today, obviously,” Mercer coach Drew Cronic said. “They’re really good on offense. One of the best in college football. But we will look hard for small victories and we had some of those.”