No. 20 Ole Miss’ level of difficulty rises at Georgia Tech
After cruising to two victories against overmatched opponents, Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin will take his Rebels to Georgia’s capital this weekend for their first test against a Power Five school.
Kiffin hopes it won’t be Ole Miss’ last trip to Atlanta.
The No. 20 Rebels (2-0) will visit Georgia Tech (1-1) on Saturday in the first meeting between the schools since the 2013 Music City Bowl, a 25-17 Ole Miss triumph.
Last Saturday, the Rebels scored 28 points in the first quarter in rolling up Central Arkansas 59-3 on an evening when Ole Miss quarterback Luke Altmyer suffered an upper-body injury. He was removed late in the first half after an interception and replaced by Jaxson Dart, who was the first-game starter in Kiffin’s plan to alternate their starts at the beginning of the season.
Dart has completed 28 of 42 passes (66.7 percent) for 336 yards and three touchdowns with an interception, while Altmyer has completed 7 of 15 (46.7 percent) for 103 yards, three TDs and an interception.
Kiffin said Monday he wasn’t sure who would take snaps in Atlanta.
“(Altmyer) was out there today,” Kiffin said. “I think he’ll be all right. We’re just going to push forward the way we’ve been going. We’ll figure out who goes first at some point later in the week.”
Tight end Michael Trigg, who transferred with Dart from USC, tied a school record with three touchdown receptions against Central Arkansas. The 56-point margin of victory was the largest for Ole Miss since a 76-3 rout of UT Martin in 2015.
Regardless of who leads the offense, the Rebels will trot out a strong rushing attack. After two games, they rank 11th nationally in rushing with 249.5 yards per game led by Quinshon Judkins and Zach Evans.
Judkins, a true freshman from Pike Road, Ala., paces the group with 191 yards on 24 carries (8.0 average) with a score. He recorded his first career 100-yard game Saturday.
“I knew he was special, but his vision …” Kiffin said of Judkins. “We knew he was physical, but his vision is really unique.”
Evans is averaging 5.9 a game, gaining 183 yards on 31 carries.
The Yellow Jackets had some good and bad Saturday night in their 35-17 win over Western Carolina.
Coach Geoff Collins’ group fell behind 14-7 as the visitors scored on their first two possessions. But Georgia Tech’s defense regrouped as the offense outscored the Catamounts 28-3 the rest of the way. Running back Dontae Smith had a stellar outing with 102 yards and three touchdowns on just 11 carries.
“I thought that we were getting a good push all night, and Dontae had a heck of a game, and I am just really proud of him and all three of those guys. Dylan (McDuffie) and Hassan (Hall) helped us out a bunch, too,” Collins said.
McDuffie and Nate McCollum added scores.
Jeff Sims struggled — 8-for-17 for 100 yards with an interception — but Collins said the mediocre numbers were due in part to the running game’s success.
“The big thing was that we wanted to establish the run — that was a big point of emphasis all week — and take our shots when we needed to,” said Collins. “I thought Jeff did a good job of getting us into the looks for us to have success in the run game as well.”
Though Ole Miss and Georgia Tech were charter members of the SEC, they have met just four times, splitting the games. They will play again next year in Mississippi.
–Field Level Media