OXFORD — After Ole Miss football finalized a 48-23 victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday night, coach Lane Kiffin spent his postgame press conference straddling the line between good and bad.
The running game? Much improved. The defense’s tackling? Not as good as last week. The offensive line looked better, but he would have liked to see Ole Miss generate a better pass rush.
Quarterback Jaxson Dart said this team, overhauled by the transfer portal in the offseason once again, still feels new. Defensive back Trey Washington said there’s another gear to hit for these Rebels.
The central theme: Save for a 73-7 stomping of FCS Mercer in the season opener that showed us nothing besides how high the scoreboard can count at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Ole Miss has not played as well as it knows it can.
“The only thing you can be is 3-0,” Kiffin said. “You can’t be 4-0 after three games. I commend our players for that. You got new coaches, you got tons of new players out there. You got some significant, major-impact injuries on offense. I commend them for getting to 3-0. I kind of would have thought it would take some time to get going, so you wanna survive and win these games.”
That Ole Miss (3-0) has turned in two incomplete performances against Georgia Tech (1-2) and Tulane (2-1) and emerged with 25- and 17-point wins is telling.
The Rebels, absent three of their top four pass-catchers ‒ including Tre Harris, who has five touchdown receptions in two games ‒ generated very little downfield against a vulnerable Georgia Tech defense in the first half, with Dart throwing for just 49 yards. What the Ole Miss offense did generate came on the ground. A Dart rushing touchdown helped the Rebels head into halftime with a 10-3 lead.
The second half saw the Ole Miss passing offense explode. Dart completed five passes of more than 20…
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Author : The Clarion Ledger
Publish date : 2023-09-17 05:10:22
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