Published on September 5th, 2022 | by University of Mississippi
New Faces Shine for Ole Miss Football in Win Over Troy, 28-10
Strong Running Game, Stifling Run Defense Help Lead Rebels to Victory
The old adage that you might need a roster to learn the players on your team proved accurate as Ole Miss opened the 2022 football season. New names and faces were an important part of the outcome as the Rebels defeated the Troy Trojans, 28-10, on Saturday afternoon.
Coming off a 10-win season and a Sugar Bowl appearance, the Rebel lineup was dotted with newcomers and transfers who helped kick off the third year of the Lane Kiffin era with a victory. A total of 27 new Rebels made their debut on Saturday, helping push Ole Miss to its 10th straight home victory dating back to November 14, 2020 – the longest home winning streak in program history since winning 33 in a row from November 1, 1952 to November 7, 1964.
Defensively, junior TCU transfer Khari Coleman was a one-man wrecking crew in his Rebel debut, terrorizing the Troy backfield with 5.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks on eight total tackles – marking just the third time since 1999 that a Rebel has notched at least 5.0 tackles for loss, joining Mark Robertson’s 5.0 in 2021 and Kendrick Clancy’s 6.0 in 1999. Coleman led a Rebel defense that stifled Troy to just 60 yards rushing on 33 attempts, the fewest allowed by an Ole Miss defense since stuffing Mississippi State to 39 yards on 16 attempts in the 2020 Egg Bowl in Oxford on November 28, 2020.
Sophomore Tysheem Johnson led with 12 total tackles and a sack, while newcomer Troy Brown tallied 11 of his own.
The Ole Miss running game started off hot and never looked back, notching 266 of the Rebels’ total 433 yards of offense on Saturday. Junior TCU transfer Zach Evans led the way with 130 yards on 20 attempts, while freshman Quinshon Judkins impressed in his collegiate debut, ending with 14 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown.
At quarterback, sophomore USC transfer Jaxson Dart got the call at the start of the game for the Rebels, ending with 154 yards and one touchdown on 18-of-27 passing in three quarters of action before Luke Altmyer took over in relief in the fourth. Michael Trigg, another sophomore Southern Cal transfer, led Rebel receivers with four catches for 28 yards.
After Ole Miss won the opening coin toss and deferred, Troy took the kickoff and had an eight-play drive to midfield. But the Trojans stalled there as the Rebel defense stepped up. Dart was 1-for-3 on his first drive as a Rebel that also stalled for Ole Miss near midfield.
After another early Troy drive produced nothing, the Rebels went to work for the game’s first points. Nine plays and 82 yards later, Ulysses Bentley IV took it in from two yards out for a touchdown, and the PAT by Jonathan Cruz made it 7-0 Rebels with 2:25 to go in the first. On that drive Dart connected on a 16-yard pass to Jonathan Mingo, and a big Evans rush of 46 yards setup the Bentley score.
Ole Miss added two touchdowns in the second quarter, a two-yard scamper by Mingo and then another two-yard rush, this time by the freshman Judkins to the right pylon to give Ole Miss an early 21-0 lead with 6:38 to go in the first half.
Troy got its first points of the game to end the first half on a 31-yard field goal by Brooks Buce as time expired, making it a 21-3 game at the break.
The Rebels took the second half opening kickoff and impressively drove 75 yards in 13 plays, capped by a 12-yard touchdown pass from Dart to senior wide receiver Malik Heath. The extra point by Cruz made it 28-3 Rebels, and even though there was a lot of time remaining, this one was all but over less than five minutes into the third quarter.
Later in the quarter, Ole Miss seemed poised for more points at the Troy 22 after Miles Battle intercepted a Gunnar Watson pass with 6:26 to go in the third. But on the very next play, Dart was intercepted in the end zone by the Trojans’ Markeis Colvin.
In the fourth quarter, Troy scored its lone touchdown on fourth and goal at the Rebel 3-yard line on a pass from Watson to Rajae Johnson, the end of a 39-yard drive that took 11 plays. The point after by Buce was good, and it was 28-10.
Up next, the Rebels will stay home to host Central Arkansas next Saturday (September 10) at 6 pm CT.
by Jeff Roberson