How does a game seem more precarious at 31-0 than it is at 0-0? Well, this is how.
Ole Miss is the FIRST Power 5 team in the last 10 years to blow two 21-point leads in the same season, per ESPN research.— Dari Nowkhah (@ESPNDari) September 17, 2016
This is Ole Miss in 2016, where blowing leads has become the unfortunate norm. When the Rebels started blowing the stinkin’ doors off Georgia early some worry crept in; could this be “here we go again?” But just because something seems precarious doesn’t mean that it actually is, and the Rebels rolled, 45-14.
Let’s be clear: this massive first half lead was not built like the others. There wasn’t the flukey turnover that led to the 24-3 lead over Alabama. And it wasn’t the first game of the season against a Florida State team that couldn’t get its crap together, looking hapless before turning a 28-6 deficit around.
There was no real reason for that precarious feeling here besides “vibes.” Chad Kelly had shredded the Dawgs to the tune of 270 yards by halftime on 14-18 passing with two TDs and 10.1 yards per play (yes, literally a first down gained per play.)
He even showed off the wheels with this 41-yard TD run.
This lead was built on nothing else but total domination, and the Rebels cruised to the victory.
Ole Miss’ defense finally made Jacob Eason look like a freshman. He couldn’t get much of anything going all day until garbage time with a very ordinary performance, going 16-36 with 137 yards through the air.
The most troubling thing for the Dawgs was Nick Chubb going down in the second quarter with an ankle injury from which he did not return. Unquestionably the engine to the UGA offense, if Chubb can’t go next week against Tennessee the Dawgs may have bigger problems than just a one-off beating. Sony Michel and Brian Herrien filled in admirably in his stead, combining for 144 yards, but Georgia will want their best back returning to the fold.
The Rebels head into a non-conference game against Memphis with actual momentum, without the need to lick wounds or ask heavy soul searching questions about the program’s structure under Hugh Freeze and mental makeup when they get a big lead.
After 10 straight losses to the Dawgs, the Rebels have a win in the series again, and it was a pretty emphatic one.