OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi quarterback Chad Kelly faked the handoff and then took off running toward the end zone. A few seconds and 41 yards later, the quarterback had cruised through the middle of the Georgia defense and into the end zone untouched.
It was pretty much that easy for the Rebels all afternoon. Ole Miss finally built a lead it couldn’t give away.
No. 23 Ole Miss rolled to a 45-14 victory over No. 12 Georgia on Saturday, building a 31-0 lead by halftime and a 45-0 advantage by midway through the fourth quarter.
Kelly threw for 282 yards and two touchdowns. Ole Miss (2-2, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) broke a 10-game losing streak in the series dating to 1996.
“I can’t think of a time in my lifetime where a team has done that to Georgia,” said Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze.
Georgia (3-1, 1-1) lost its first game under new coach Kirby Smart and looked overmatched. To make matters worse, star running back Nick Chubb sprained an ankle in the second quarter and didn’t return.
It was an impressive win for the Rebels, who have played some of their worst football this season after gaining big leads. Ole Miss led Florida State by 22 points and Alabama by 21 this season before losing both games.
“We’ve certainly had experiences that we should have learned from,” Freeze said.
Kelly was sharp from the opening series, completing 18 of 24 passes and adding the 41-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that was his last play of the afternoon. Tight end Evan Engram led the Rebels with six catches for 95 yards.
Ole Miss also ran for a season-high 180 yards. Derrick Jones returned an interception 52 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.
“When we get in a rhythm, it’s hard for people to stop us,” Engram said.
Brian Herrien led the Bulldogs with 78 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Freshman quarterback Jacob Eason had a tough day, completing just 16 of 36 passes for 137 yards and an interception.
“There are a lot of mistakes being made out there,” Smart said. “Lot of young guys making bad mistakes. They will have to grow up.”
Chubb had 57 yards rushing on 12 carries before he hurt his ankle. Smart said he wasn’t sure how about the severity of Chubb’s injury.
Kelly’s mistake-free performance against Georgia is a good sign for the Rebels. He had thrown for 953 yards and 10 touchdowns in the first three games of the season, but costly turnovers against Florida State and Alabama were crucial in those losses.
Against Georgia, there were no such problems.
“Those losses are on me for turning the ball over,” Kelly said. “We’ve just got to keep on looking forward.”
Georgia: The Bulldogs were an interesting bunch after three straight wins to start the season, but after being stomped by the Rebels, it doesn’t look like Georgia is anywhere near being an elite team.
Ole Miss: The Rebels needed this one after blowing big leads in losses to Florida State and Alabama. Ole Miss proved it still can be a force in the SEC this season despite a tough September.
Georgia: The Bulldogs probably tumble in the rankings after being outplayed in pretty much all aspects of the game.
Ole Miss: Look for the Rebels to jump a few spots.
Georgia: The Bulldogs host Tennessee next week in an SEC Eastern Division showdown.
Ole Miss: The Rebels host Memphis in a non-conference game.