The No. 23-ranked Ole Miss Rebels (2-2, 1-1) thrashed No. 12 Georgia (3-1, 1-1), 45-14, to pick up their first win of the season in SEC play on Saturday morning in Oxford.
The result never seemed to be in doubt from the beginning, as Ole Miss led 31-0 at halftime and 45-0 midway through the third quarter. Quarterback Chad Kelly was sensational, passing for 282 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 53 yards and another score.
Meanwhile, for the Bulldogs, it was a performance they need to get over—and fast. In recent weeks, Georgia has struggled with the likes Nicholls and Missouri, so it wasn’t a surprise to see the Rebels jump out in front so early in this game. But the drubbing that they were given was certainly not in the plans.
Here’s what we learned in this one:
1. Chad Kelly is the best quarterback in the SEC: The Rebels lost some significant offensive talent from last season’s team. However, Kelly returned and the Rebels’ offense hasn’t missed a beat. Kelly was terrific in losses to Florida State and Alabama, but didn’t do enough to lead Ole Miss to victory. He was flawless in the win over Georgia.
Ole Miss can win the SEC because of Kelly. Sure, the Rebels will need a little help after last week’s loss to Alabama, but this offense can hang 40 on anybody because it has the best quarterback in the conference and several talented weapons around him.
2. Georgia has some work to do: The Bulldogs were nearly upset in each of the last two weeks. Ole Miss simply has too much talent for Georgia to overcome when it gets too far behind.
Head coach Kirby Smart has shared some concerns he has about this team and rightfully so. Freshman quarterback Jacob Eason will struggle some, that’s to be expected, but the offensive line is a major issue. Nick Chubb hasn’t done anything of significance in the last three weeks. That should concern Smart and ‘Dawg Nation.
Perhaps this is the wakeup call Georgia needed.
3. The SEC race is going to be fun: Yes, Ole Miss lost to Alabama last weekend. But, while Alabama is still undefeated, the schedule will toughen up for the Crimson Tide in October. That means Ole Miss is in good shape. Of course, the Rebels have to face Arkansas and LSU in back-to-back weeks in October. Alabama faces those teams, too.
In the SEC East, Georgia’s loss puts them behind the winner of today’s Tennessee/Florida matchup. The ‘Dawgs face Tennessee next week before their schedule lightens up.
Alabama is still the lead dog. However, this SEC race could be one of the better ones in recent memory. October should be a fun month in the nation’s best football conference.