Published on September 15th, 2023 | by TLV News0
Ole Miss Football Game Notes: vs. Georgia Tech – September 16, 2023
|Georgia Tech (1-1) vs. #17/19 Ole Miss (2-0)|
Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023 • 6:30 p.m. CT
Oxford, Miss. • Vaught-Hemingway Stadium
|Watch • Listen •Live Stats|
Tickets • Gameday Info • Digital Game ProgramOle Miss Game Notes (PDF) • Georgia Tech Game Notes (PDF) • SEC Game Notes (PDF)
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
• Saturday will be the sixth all-time meeting between Ole Miss and Georgia Tech … The Rebels lead all-time, 3-2.
• This marks Georgia Tech’s first ever trip to Oxford … 3-of-5 series contests have been bowl games.
• Ole Miss has won the last three meetings in the series, including a 42-0 shutout win in Atlanta last season.
• Last season’s shutout is still the largest win for Ole Miss against a non-SEC Power-5 school since 1950 (45-0, Boston College), and was its first shutout against a non-SEC Power-5 school since 1961 (33-0, Florida State).
• Ole Miss is 13-7-1 against the current members of the ACC.
• Ole Miss is 104-35-3 (.743) in September home games (including contests played in Memphis and Jackson).
• Ole Miss is 116-41-6 (.730) all-time versus non-conference opponents during September.
• QB Jaxson Dart leads the SEC in yards/attempt at 12.02 (No. 2 FBS), pass efficiency at 206.6 (No. 3 FBS) and yards/comp. at 17.2 (No. 5 FBS) … Against Mercer, he became the sixth Ole Miss QB with 11 straight completions.
• Ole Miss has two non-offensive TDs this season: a 70-yard punt return vs. Mercer (WR Jordan Watkins) and a 26-yard fumble return on a sack fumble at Tulane (DE Jared Ivey).
• Ole Miss is averaging 49.5 seconds per opening scoring drive this season … Fastest of 48 seconds (at Tulane).
• WR Tre Harris broke the Ole Miss record with four receiving TD against Mercer, becoming just the 22nd player in SEC history to catch at least four in a game.
• The Rebel defense has at least 4.0 sacks and 6.0 TFL in each game this season.
• Of the 126 total players on the roster, 58 (46%) are brand-new for 2023 … 31 (24.6%) are transfers.
• DE Cedric Johnson was awarded the Chucky Mullins Courage Award and will wear a No. 38 patch this season.
OLE MISS HEAD COACH LANE KIFFIN
Lane Kiffin is in his fourth season at Ole Miss, where he has led the Rebels to three consecutive bowl berths to start off his time in Oxford. In 11 years at the NCAA level, Kiffin has posted an all-time record of 86-47, including a 25-13 mark at Ole Miss. The Rebels ranked No. 3 nationally in rushing offense (256.6) and No. 8 in total offense (496.4) last season. Kiffin helped mentor and recruit talented true freshman running back Quinshon Judkins, who set the Ole Miss single-season records in both rushing yards (1,567) and rushing touchdowns (16). Kiffin guided the Rebels to a 10-3 record in 2021, the first 10-win regular season in school history. The Rebels finished the season ranked No. 11 in both the AP and AFCA Coaches Poll, its highest final ranking since 2016. Ole Miss ranked top-20 in the FBS in nine different offensive categories in his first season in 2020. In December 2016, Kiffin took over an FAU programf that had won a total of nine combined games over the previous three seasons. Kiffin proceeded to take the Owls to new heights over the last three years, including two conference titles and two 10-win seasons. In his head coaching stops at USC, Tennessee and FAU, Kiffin has shown a propensity in helping turn programs around. Kiffin graduated from Fresno State in 1998 after playing quarterback for three seasons (1994-96) for the Bulldogs. He began his coaching career as a student assistant at Fresno State under Pat Hill in 1997 and 1998.
GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH BRENT KEY
Brent Key, a Georgia Tech alumnus, is in his first full year with the Yellow Jackets after taking over the reins of the program midway through last year. Key helped lead Georgia Tech to a 4-4 record over the final eight games of the 2022 season as interim head coach. The four wins included two road victories over nationally ranked opponents. The Jackets overcame a plethora of injuries in 2022 to finish 5-7 overall and 4-4 in ACC play after a 1-3 (0-1 ACC) start. Prior to being named interim head coach on Sept. 26, 2022, Key served as the Yellow Jackets’ assistant head coach/offensive line coach/run game coordinator for three-plus seasons. Key returned to Georgia Tech in 2019 after three seasons as offensive line coach at Alabama (2016-18), where he helped lead the Crimson Tide to two Southeastern Conference championships, three College Football Playoff championship games and the 2017 national title. His coaching resume also includes a successful 11-year stint at UCF, where he helped lead the Knights to four conference championships and eight bowl appearances, one season as an assistant coach at Western Carolina and two seasons as a graduate assistant at Georgia Tech. Key was a four-year starter at guard for the Yellow Jackets from 1997-2000. He was a team captain and all-ACC performer as a senior and graduated from Tech in 2001 with a management degree.
YELLOW JACKETS SCOUTING REPORT
Georgia Tech heads to Oxford 1-1 on the season and is coming off a 48-13 home win over South Carolina State. Offensively, the Yellow Jackets rank No. 9 nationally in total offense, averaging 533 yards per game through the first two contests of the 2023 season. Texas A&M transfer Haynes King leads the ACC with 301.5 passing yards per game and seven passing TDs. Five different Yellow Jacket receivers have hauled in at least one receiving TD this season, including Eric Singleton, Jr. and Brett Seither who both have two receiving touchdowns on the season. Running backs Jamal Haynes and Trey Cooley have shared the workload on the ground, combining for 310 rushing yards and four TDs through the first two games of the season. Defensively, Georgia Tech is giving up 382.5 yards per game, including 211.5 yards per game on the ground. Defensive end Kyle Kennard leads the Yellow Jackets with 13 total tackles, one interception and one forced fumble this season.
The Ole Miss roster features 20 players who hail from Georgia: CB AJ Brown (Cordele), S Nick Cull (Donalsonville), LB Jack Damron (Buford), CB Nyseer Fullwood-Theodore (Atlanta), RB Jam Griffin (Rome), DE Jared Ivey (Suwanee), OL Jeremy James (Cumming), S Zach Johansen (Suwanee), WR Cayden Lee (Kennesaw), LB Skielar Mann (Fort Valley), OL Reece McIntyre (Buford), LB Monty Montgomery (Norcross), OL Cedrick Nicely (Gainesville), P Charlie Pollock (Marietta), RB Ali Scott (Powder Springs), TE Wyatt Smalley (Milton), DT Akelo Stone (Savannah), LB Mark Trigg Jr. (Roswell), WR Dayton Wade (Atlanta) and S Demarko Williams (Atlanta).
GEORGIA TECH SERIES HISTORY
• Ole Miss and Georgia Tech are meeting for the sixth time, with the Rebels holding a 3-2 lead.
• Three of the five prior contests between the Rebels and Yellow Jackets have been in bowl games.
• Georgia Tech won the lone non-neutral game between the two teams in 1946, 24-7 (Grant Field).
• Ole Miss has won the last three meetings in the series, including a 42-0 Rebel win in Atlanta in 2022.
• This game marks Georgia Tech’s first ever trip to Oxford.
SHOUTOUT FOR SHUTOUTS
Last season in Atlanta, the Rebel defense pitched a 42-0 shutout victory over the Yellow Jackets, still the largest Power-5 victory for Ole Miss since beating Mississippi State, 45-0, in 2008, and the largest non-SEC Power-5 win since defeating Boston College, 54-0, in 1950 in Oxford. It was the first shutout for the Rebels since beating Presbyterian, 48-0, in 2014, the first on the road for Ole Miss since a 39-0 victory at Tulane in 2012, and the first against a non-current member of the SEC since beating Florida State 33-0 in 1961. Ole Miss also had two shutouts against current SEC members before they entered the conference against Missouri in 1974 (10-0) and South Carolina in 1972 (21-0).
Other Notes vs. Georgia Tech, Sept. 17, 2022
• 547 yards of offense, the most against a non-SEC Power-5 opponent since recording 569 against Louisville in 2021.
• 361 yards rushing, the most against a non-SEC Power-5 opponent in available records since at least 1967.
• Three Rebels with multiple rushing TDs for the first time since 1979.
• Stymied Tech to just 53 rushing yards and 214 yards of total offense.
• Seven Rebels contributed toward 7.0 sacks, still the most by a Rebel squad since tallying 9.0 against Liberty in 2021.
• 12.0 tackles for loss, still the most since recording 15.0 against Kent State in 2018.
• DE Cedric Johnson became the first Rebel to record a sack and a blocked punt in the same game since 2012.
REBS IN THE POLLS
• Ole Miss ranks No. 17 in the Associated Press poll and No. 19 in the Coaches poll for Week Three.
• Dating back to 2021, Ole Miss has been ranked in the top-25 in 32 of the last 34 poll releases … That includes a streak of 29 across 2021 and 2022, the longest streak since being ranked for 41 straight weeks from 2014-16.
• The SEC boasts five teams in the top 25, including three teams ranked inside the top 10.
OLE MISS IN SEPTEMBER
• Ole Miss is 163-92-7 (.635) all-time during the month of September after vacated wins.
• Ole Miss is 104-35-3 (.743) in September home games (including contests played in Memphis and Jackson).
• The Rebels are 79-22-2 (.777) in September games played in Oxford after vacated wins.
• Ole Miss is 116-41-6 (.730) all-time versus non-conference opponents during September.
• Ole Miss is 62-17 (.785) versus non-conference opponents dating back to a 38-0 win over Tulane on Nov. 12, 1994.
• Under head coach Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss is 11-2 against non-conference opponents.
• The Rebels have only lost one home non-conference game since 2012 (Sept. 23, 2019 vs. #23 Cal, 28-20).
• Ole Miss has only lost three total non-conference road games since 2012.
REBELS VERSUS ACC TEAMS
• Ole Miss has a 13-7-1 record against current members of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
• The Rebels’ last game against an ACC team was the Rebels’ 42-0 win over Georgia Tech last season.
• The Rebels vs. current ACC teams:
Senior transfer kicker Caden Davis had only hit one career field goal in three seasons at Texas A&M, but in two games with the Rebels, not only does Davis already have four in four tries, but he also has the fourth-longest boot in school history. Davis played a crucial role in Ole Miss’ comeback victory over No. 22 Tulane, going 3-of-3 on his field goal tries, but none bigger than his fourth quarter 56-yard behemoth that sailed through the uprights to give the Rebels a 10-point lead after being down 10 in the first half. That 56-yard shot by Davis soared past his previous of 40 yards in his only made field goal of his Texas A&M career in four total attempts. It leads the SEC and stands tied for second-longest in the FBS this season, and it ranks No. 4 in Ole Miss history — the best since Bryan Owen nailed a 57-yarder against Tulane in 1988.
Ole Miss has notched at least 4.0 sacks and 6.0 tackles for loss in each of its first two games, and have done so with a wide range of defenders getting in on the action. Eight Rebels have contributed to a quarterback sack, while 13 have chipped in on a TFL. And all that mayhem is paying off, with two forced fumbles (including a Khari Coleman sack fumble returned for a TD by Jared Ivey vs. Tulane), two interceptions, nine QB hurries, 11 pass breakups and 27 points off turnovers through two games played. In the Kiffin era, Ole Miss has recorded multiple sacks in 26 games, at least 5.0 tackles for loss in 25 games, and at least 4.0 sacks in 15 games. In games with at least 5.0 tackles for loss, Ole Miss is 17-8, and in games with at least 4.0 sacks, the Rebels are 8-2. This season, Ole Miss ranks third in the SEC in both sacks and TFL, and on the FBS lists ranks ninth and 14th, respectively.
PRINCE OF THE PICK
Senior CB Deantre Prince nabbed his sixth career interception at a pivotal juncture of Ole Miss’ ranked victory at Tulane on Sept. 9, adding to his total as the Rebels’ active career leader in picks. Prince has been the top cover corner for the Rebels so far this season at a 79.7 grade from PFF, with opposing quarterbacks only looking his direction 11 times in 60 coverage snaps and Prince only yielding 23 yards receiving on his island. The preseason All-SEC selection and Senior Bowl watch list member only allowed 22 receptions in 434 coverage snaps last season, and had 12 games with 50 receiving yards or fewer allowed.
WE WANNA GO FAST!
The Rebels ended the 2022 regular season tied for the FBS lead at 20.7 seconds per play, and Ole Miss has showed no signs of slowing down in the opening stages of 2023. Ole Miss is currently clipping off a play every 21.9 seconds, and it has been no more on display than the opening drives of each of its first two games. Ole Miss is averaging 49.5 seconds per opening drive this season after opening against Mercer with a 51-second drive that ended with the first of three touchdown passes from QB Jaxson Dart to WR Tre Harris in the first quarter alone. At No. 22 Tulane, the Rebels were at it again, scoring in just 48 seconds that ended with a 31-yard strike from Dart to Harris. The 51-second drive against Mercer was the fastest to open a season for Ole Miss since 2018, and the 28 first quarter points ranks as the most in available records since at least 1967. The 48-second debut against the Green Wave, meanwhile, was the fastest on any opening drive for the Rebels since finding the endzone in just 34 seconds against Liberty on Nov. 6, 2021. In the Kiffin era, Ole Miss is 21-5 when scoring first.
BACK TO WORK
The praise and accolades have come hard and heavy for sophomore RB Quinshon Judkins following his spectacular freshman campaign in 2022, but Judkins has set back to the grindstone with two solid outings to open the 2023 season. On the year, Judkins has 108 yards and three touchdowns rushing, including two scores against Mercer in the opener that registered as his seventh career multi-TD game after breaking the single-season Ole Miss record with six such games as a freshman last season. Judkins is already climbing up several career lists, currently ranking tied for 10th in career rushing touchdowns (19), 13th in career rushing yards (1,675) and sixth in career 100-yard rushing games (8). Combined with his one receiving touchdown from last season, he’s also starting to knock on the door of Ole Miss’ all-purpose touchdown list with 20 total.
Junior QB Jaxson Dart has been one of the top signal callers nationally through two weeks of action, currently leading the SEC in yards per attempt at 12.0 (No. 2 FBS), passing efficiency at 206.6 (No. 3 FBS) and yards per completion at 17.2 (No. 5 FBS), while also ranking within the SEC top-five in passing touchdowns with six (FBS No. 9), passing yards per game at 300.5 (FBS No. 13) and total offense at 339.0 ypg (FBS No. 11). Dart has been especially effective in the first quarters of both games so far this season, standing at 18-of-19 for 246 yards and four touchdowns in the opening frame. That includes a blistering 11-for-11 stretch to open the season against Mercer, making him just the seventh Ole Miss quarterback to ever throw 11 consecutive completions and the best such streak since Matt Corral set the school record at 19 in a row at Vanderbilt in 2020. Dart most recently moved into 14th all-time at Ole Miss in passing yards with 3,575 and 12th in total offense at 4,266. In his overall career combining totals from his freshman season at USC in 2021, Dart owns 4,928 and 5,662 yards in both categories, respectively.
Louisiana native Tre Harris has had a nose for the endzone in just two games as a Rebel, highlighted by the game of his life against Mercer on Sept. 2. Against the Bears, Harris wowed the Vaught-Hemingway faithful by finding the endzone on each of his first three catches as a Rebel, which tied the school record and helped the lightning-quick Ole Miss offense get up early in its eventualy 73-7 blowout win. Harris tacked on a fourth touchdown reception in the fourth quarter, in the process breaking the school record and becoming just the 22nd player in SEC history to haul in at least four touchdown receptions in a single game. Harris ended the day as Ole Miss’ top receiver, nabbing six catches for 133 yards and his record-breaking four trips to the endzone. Harris is no stranger to the multi-TD effort, having caught three touchdown passes against Rice last October while a member of the Louisiana Tech football team. Harris — a preseason Biletnikoff Award watch list member — owns a career line of 114 receptions, 1,705 yards and 19 touchdowns — 15 of which have come within the last calendar year after a 10 TD season with the Bulldogs in 2022. In 2023, Harris is still the only receiver in the FBS with four touchdown receptions in a single game, and combined with his fifth TD early in the game at No. 22 Tulane, he ranks second in both the FBS and SEC.
NO FRESHMAN JITTERS
Freshman LB Suntarine Perkins was a highly-touted recruit nationally as the No. 1 overall player in Mississippi and the No. 2 linebacker in the country, and he relished his first opportunity to wear a Rebel uniform in his home state against Mercer on Sept. 2. Perkins led all Rebels with nine tackles coming off the bench, including four solo, in Ole Miss’ 73-7 rout of the Bears. At Raleigh High School, Perkins was a one-man wrecking crew, leading RHS to its first state title in 2022 as both its star running back and linebacker. In the state title game, Perkins ran 32 times for 331 yards and four touchdowns while also contributing six tackles and an interception on the other side of the ball. In his high school career, Perkins totaled more than 5,000 all-purpose yards, including 2,078 rushing yards and 32 touchdowns on the ground as a senior. As a linebacker, he tallied 267 total tackles and 10 sacks in his high school career.
Ole Miss kicked off 2023 with a bombastic offensive onslaught against Mercer on Sept. 2, winning by a final margin of 73-7:
• 73 points: tied for No. 7 in school history, No. 18 in SEC history
• 73 points: leads the SEC, ranks No. 3 in the FBS this season.
• 73 points: most of the Kiffin era, most for Ole Miss since 2018 (76, Southern Illinois).
• 667 yards of total offense: No. 6 in school history
• 667 yards of total offense: leads the SEC, tied for No. 8 in the FBS this season.
• 21st game of Kiffin era with at least 600 yards of total offense (only 16 ever at Ole Miss prior to 2020)
• 10 touchdowns: No. 3 in school history, tied for No. 14 in SEC history
• 524 passing yards: school record, leads the FBS this season.
• 13 Rebels caught a pass, six different Rebels scored a touchdown, two scored multiple TDs (Harris, Judkins)
• WR Jordan Watkins’ 70-yard punt return TD was the first score on a punt return for the Rebels since 2013 (Jeff Scott, 73 yards, vs. Texas)
On the field, the Rebel offense ranks among the most prolific in the nation, ranking second in yards per game since 2020 (511.5 ypg/38 games) and third in total yards since 2020 (19,438 yards). The Rebels have done it with a balanced attack over the last three years as well, as Ole Miss ranks alongside only Ohio State as the only two Power-5 teams with both a top-10 passing season (2020; No. 7) and a top-10 rushing season (2022; No. 3) since 2020.
RACKING UP THE YARDS
Kiffin’s dynamic Ole Miss offenses have single-handedly dismantled the Rebel record books, recording three of the top-five offensive seasons in school history since 2020. Leading the way is the 2020 squad that ended the season ranked No. 3 in total offense nationally at an Ole Miss record 555.5 yards per game (5,555 yards). His 2021 team ranks fifth at 492.5 yards per game (6,402 yards), and last year the Rebels broke into the top-five again, this time notching the fourth-best season ever at 496.4 yards per game (6,453 yards). Impressively, Kiffin’s Ole Miss teams have done so with a balanced offensive attack, ranking seventh in the FBS in passing in 2020 (344.9 ypg) before shifting toward the running game in 2021 with the No. 12 ground game (217.6 ypg) before 2022’s single-season school record rushing attack of 3,336 yards (256.6) led the SEC and ranked No. 3 in the FBS behind only the service academies.
With those big single-season numbers come monster single-game numbers as well. Kiffin owns 21 games during his Ole Miss tenure with at least 600 yards of total offense, as opposed to just 16 times total from the beginning of the Ole Miss football program in 1893 until Kiffin’s arrival in 2020. At the 700-yard plateau, Kiffin’s Rebels own three of the five total 700-yard games in Ole Miss history, as well as four of the top-six performances all-time.
The Rebel opened the season with a stifling performance against Mercer before several clutch moments at Tulane that helped Ole Miss toward a ranked victory over the Green Wave.
• Ole Miss has returned its two interceptions this season for 63 yards, currently No. 3 in the SEC and No. 12 in the FBS.
• Five different Rebels have had their hand in Ole Miss’ three forced fumbles either on the force or recovery … Six Rebels have batted down a pass, and seven have recorded at least one QB hurry.
• S Trey Washington, LB Ashanti Cistrunk and LB Khari Coleman all lead Ole Miss with 10 total tackles on the year.
• At Tulane, Cistrunk played in his 50th career game, which was also his 50th consecutive game played, all at Ole Miss … Also hitting 50 career games played at Tulane include transfer defensive backs Zamari Walton and Teja Young.
• DE Cedric Johnson recorded career sack No. 14.5 against Mercer … Johnson is Ole Miss’ active career sacks leader.
• S Daijahn Anthony has three passes defended so far, including an interception against Mercer.
• DE Isaac Ukwu tallied his first tackles for Ole Miss against Tulane, ending with six tackles (four solo), 2.0 TFL, one sack and two QB hurries … Ukwu now has 17.5 sacks in his college career.