Ole Miss had not scored an offensive touchdown in Starkville since 2009 but rode a trio of first half offensive touchdowns and a pair of first quarter Dak Prescott turnovers en route to a 38-27 victory tonight in Starkville. The win is the Rebels first at Davis-Wade Stadium since 2003 and the first away win by either team in the series since 2010.
The Rebels scored 14 first quarter points of Dak Prescott turnovers to break the game open. On Mississippi State's first series to open the game, Prescott fumbled and Ole Miss responded with an opening touchdown drive punctuated by a 27 yard Chad Kelly touchdown run. After the Bulldogs punted and the Rebels scored a second touchdown on the following drive, Tony Bridges picked off Prescott and ran back the interception for a 45 yard touchdown to extend the lead to 21-0.
Tony Bridges. Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Both teams were banged up as Mississippi State ended up missing both starting offensive tackles as Rufus Warren did not dress out and Justin Senior left during the first quarter with an injury while Fadol Brown was limited at defensive end/tackle and Tony Conner was out for the Rebels. Prescott went to the locker room with an apparent leg injury during the first half, but came back in and did not seem to be limited in mobility.
While mobility may not have been an issue for Prescott, accuracy was at times. On several occasions, Prescott missed receivers that were open and the Mississippi State offense stuttered as a result through the first half. Along with the sporatic inaccuracy, Prescott was harassed by the Ole Miss defensive front with the Rebels sacking the senior quarterback seven times. Prescott finished the game up strong with two fourth quarter touchdown passes to Malik Dear to cut the lead from 38-13 to the final margin.
Ole Miss' quarterback Chad Kelly started the game hot, hitting his first nine passes and completing a pair of touchdown passes to Damore'ea Stringfellow in the first half. Kelly also chipped in 73 rushing yards to go along with the game's opening touchdown. The Ole Miss rushing game continued the revival that has taken place since the return of Laremy Tunsil as the Rebels rushed for 243 yards led by Jaylen Walton's 93 yards.
The Rebels now look likely to end up either in the Sugar Bowl for the the first time since 1970 or the Citrus Bowl for the first time. Despite a 45 year absence from the New Orleans bowl game, the Rebels still boast the fifth highest number of appearences in the game and would tie Georgia and Florida with nine if they end up there. Either way, Ole Miss will be looking for their first double digit win season since Eli Manning's senior season in 2003.
Mississippi State falls to 8-4 and could potentially slot into the Citrus Bowl but will more likely now fall into the pool of six teams placed into games by the SEC.