Bowl games are sometimes a little bit sloppy. Teams haven't played live games in a few weeks, and coaches occasionally use the extra time to get a little too cute. Like when Ole Miss tried a trick play in the fourth quarter that ended up with a loss of six yards, which was followed by a blocked field goal, which was followed by a curious play call by Georgia Tech, which ended in a fumble and a safety that gave the Rebels their final margin of victory.
Yes, it wasn't a crisply played Music City Bowl. There weren't that many combined turnovers (three) or penalties (eight), but both teams just looked a little rusty. They both made play calls that were ... interesting. And Ole Miss has to survive Georgia Tech storming back for 10 points in the fourth quarter to change the game from a potential rout to a nail-biter.
But the Rebels won. And they were more dominant, at least in spots, than the final score suggests. Ole Miss gained 477 yards in the game to Georgia Tech's 298. The 151 rushing yards for the Yellow Jackets marked their second-lowest total of the season, behind only the 129 yards that Georgia Tech managed against Virginia Tech. No other team held the Jackets below 237 yards all year. (In one of the more bizarre statistics of the game, Ole Miss averaged more per rush than Tech's triple-option attack and the Jackets averaged more per passing attempt than the Rebels.)
And it's easier to tolerate non-fatal mistakes in a bowl game, after all, because there are no other games to be played. The next game is an offseason away for some players, or not even in college for others. The goal is not to continue getting better so much as it is to cap off the season with a win and perhaps some momentum on the recruiting trail, and Ole Miss did that. Bo Wallace had a solid game passing (22-of-32, 256 yards, one touchdown and one interception) and a good game running the ball (86 yards, two touchdowns on 13 carries). Donte Moncrief, getting fed for perhaps the last time at Ole Miss, gained 113 yards on six carries.
The victory also provides Hugh Freeze with another accomplishment in his drive to build a program in Oxford that can compete in the SEC West. A sloppy win in Nashville isn't going to intimidate Alabama, LSU or Auburn, but it might just help the Rebels get to where they can.