Sep 10, 2022; Oxford, Mississippi, USA;Ole Miss Rebels quarterback Jaxson Dart (2) drops back to pass against the Central Arkansas Bears during the second quarter at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

No. 22 Ole Miss trounces Central Arkansas, 59-3

Ole Miss scored four touchdowns in an explosive first quarter, tight end Michael Trigg caught three scores and the No. 22 Rebels routed visiting Central Arkansas 59-3 Saturday night in Oxford, Miss.

The Rebels (2-0) won their 11th straight home game by going 3-for-3 in the red zone and scoring on special teams in the first 15 minutes.

Trigg, a transfer from Southern Cal, grabbed two scores from Luke Altmyer and one from Jaxson Dart — his first TDs since arriving at Ole Miss.

Named the starter as part of an alternating process over the first two games with USC transfer Dart, Altmyer stepped in and went 6-for-13 for 90 yards with two TD passes, a rushing score and one interception. However, he left in the last minute of the first half after the pick.

In relief, Dart was 10-for-16 for 182 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Quinshon Judkins rushed for a game-high 104 yards on 10 carries, and Zach Evans added 53 yards and a score.

The Rebels also tallied on a botched punt snap and set up another TD with a blocked punt.

An FCS program, Central Arkansas (0-2) saw quarterback Will McElvain finish 13-of-28 passing for 126 yards and an interception.

Playing in steady rain didn’t deter Ole Miss in a four-touchdown first quarter. Altmyer took his offense to paydirt — 70 yards on six plays – on their first possession. He ended it by flipping a seven-yard pass to Trigg.

A bad punt snap produced a mistake on UCA’s first series. Ladarius Tennison scooped up the wet ball and ran untouched 24 yards for a 14-0 lead.

With a defender trying to bring him down, Altmyer managed a second TD throw to Trigg for a 21-0 lead with 5:02 left in the first quarter. Altmyer called his own number on a short scoring run for a 28-0 lead.

Jonathan Cruz kicked a 41-yard field for a 31-0 edge at the half.

Evans, Trigg and Malik Heath found the end zone in the third quarter.

Hayden Ray’s 31-yard field goal put the Bears on the board, and Ulysses Bentley IV’s run rounded out the scoring.

–Field Level Media

Sep 3, 2022; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin reacts during the first half against the Troy Trojans at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

No. 22 Ole Miss gives Luke Altmyer a turn vs. Central Arkansas

After a season-opening win, Ole Miss will have another chance to pile up points this weekend.

They will also do so with a different starting quarterback.

Against Central Arkansas on Saturday night in Oxford, Miss., the No. 22 Rebels (1-0) will call on Luke Altmyer as part of a preseason plan of alternating starting signal-callers in the first two games.

That decision came about because there was no definitive separation between Altmyer and prized Southern California transfer Jaxson Dart — both trying to live up to the lofty standards set by 2021 quarterback Matt Corral.

In four seasons and 37 games played at Ole Miss, Corral totaled 8,287 passing yards with 57 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. He also rushed for 1,338 yards and 18 scores.

Most importantly, before departing for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, Corral guided Ole Miss to its first-ever 10-win regular reason.

The current quarterback issues present a problem coach Lane Kiffin didn’t experience over his two years with Corral, who started all 23 games in 2020 and 2021.

“We’d always like to have it figured out,” Kiffin said. “This is not ideal. Luke Altmyer will go first in this game. So that gives both guys an opportunity to go first. We’ll see how he plays.”

A native of Kaysville, Utah, Dart got the start Saturday in the Rebels’ 28-10 home win over Troy, but the numbers were modest. He went 18-for-27 for 154 yards (5.7 yards per attempt) with one touchdown and one interception.

In fact, the running game and defense decided the game against their Sun Belt foe.

In their first starts in the Ole Miss backfield, TCU transfer Zach Evans (20 carries for 130 yards) and true freshman Quinshon Judkins (14 for 87, one TD) led the Rebels’ ground attack that churned out 266 yards and three scores on 44 carries.

The victory was the Rebels’ 10th straight at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, their longest streak since winning 33 consecutive games from 1952 to 1964.

In its season opener at home last Thursday, Central Arkansas (0-1) — an FCS program in the ASUN Conference — fell behind 20-0 to Missouri State after three quarters and lost 27-14.

After UCA quarterback Will McElvain’s 12-yard run put the home side on the board, the Bears allowed Missouri State’s Montrae Braswell to go 98 yards on a kickoff return touchdown.

“I thought our defense played a whale of a game,” Bears head coach Nathan Brown said. “They held their offense to 20 points and held them to field goals. Just played really, really good all night. So I’m really encouraged in that aspect.”

The Bears ran the ball well in the loss, logging 168 yards on 41 carries (4.1 per rush).

Running back Darius Hale, the ASUN Freshman of the Year in 2021, compiled 99 yards on 18 carries (5.5 per rush). The sophomore rushed for 1,015 yards on 198 carries in 2021.

But run defense was an area of strength for Ole Miss, which shut down Troy for 60 yards on 33 attempts (1.8 per rush).

“We’ll get better from this,” Brown said. “The fun part about that is, you get to go play Ole Miss now. That’s a little bit of a daunting task, but again, one we’ll be excited about.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 12, 2020; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Arkansas State Red Wolves running back Lincoln Pare (22) follows the block of wide receiver Jonathan Adams Jr. (9) during a game against the Kansas State Wildcats at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas State postpones game vs. Central Arkansas

Arkansas State has postponed Saturday’s game against Central Arkansas due a dearth of players at a particular position group, the school announced Tuesday.

The game has been rescheduled for Oct. 10. Arkansas State was without nine starters this past Saturday in its upset of Kansas State due to injuries and players affected by COVID-19.

“It was not the volume of total players unavailable, but rather the inability to field a safe number of players among the depleted position group that required the game be rescheduled,” the school said in a release.

“We are obviously disappointed for the student-athletes participating from both schools, as well as both coaching staffs and fan bases,” Arkansas State AD Terry Mohajir said in the statement. “While no one wanted this outcome, the health and safety of our student-athletes will always come first.”

Arkansas State (1-1) will play its Sept. 26 game at home against Tulsa as scheduled, Mohajir said.

Central Arkansas (1-1), originally scheduled to play Eastern Kentucky on Oct. 10, will now play the Colonels on Oct. 24.

–Field Level Media

Sep 1, 2018; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Tyler Simmons (87) runs against Austin Peay Governors defensive back Malik Davis (1) during the first half at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Austin Peay, Central Arkansas to kick off 2020 season

It isn’t the schedule the NCAA planned, but the college football season will begin Saturday night.

The slate of games in Week 0, as the early opening week is known, originally included three Pac-12 teams in action, along with Navy and Notre Dame playing in Ireland.

But with the coronavirus pandemic creating chaos around college football, the honor of playing the first game of the season belongs to FCS opponents Austin Peay and Central Arkansas.

ESPN will televise the game, which is scheduled for a 9 p.m. kickoff from the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala. Attendance at the 25,000-seat venue is being limited to 25 percent, and the tickets are sold out.

In 2019, Central Arkansas (9-4) and Austin Peay (11-4) both qualified for the FCS playoffs. Austin Peay advanced to the quarterfinals, Central Arkansas to the second round.

Central Arkansas athletic director Brad Teague recognizes the significance of the game.

“This is different,” he said, per USA Today. “And certainly because we’re the only game on Saturday and the first game of the college football season, the first NCAA contest since COVID shut it down in the spring, there is a lot more excitement.”

The players are thrilled to appear in the standalone game on ESPN, he said.

“They’re very motivated and very excited. For our brand and for our national recognition and publicity, we’re very excited about that. We know it’s going to be very positive for us.”

The schools have taken a number of steps to keep the players safe from the possible spread of COVID-19 on the trip. Austin Peay, for example, is traveling in more buses than normal to limit the number of people in each bus.

“We also understand the scrutiny that’s going to come with us playing while many others are not and being the first game when many have pushed back to September. We understand that,” Teague said. “We’re ready to face those questions and talk about our safety protocols that have been in place really since June.”

–Field Level Media