Three Ole Miss players rushed for touchdowns and Zach Evans had 130 yards on the ground as the No. 21 Rebels defeated Troy 28-10 in the season opener for both teams Saturday at Oxford, Miss.
Evans, a transfer from TCU, didn’t find the end zone on any of his 20 carries, but Ulysses Bentley IV, Jonathan Mingo and Quinshon Judkins each had a 2-yard touchdown run and the Rebels defense shut down the Trojans.
USC transfer Jaxson Dart started at quarterback for the Rebels after a preseason battle with Luke Altmyer, though the identity of the starter wasn’t publicly known until Dart took the field. He completed 18 of 27 for 154 yards, one touchdown and one interception and ran for 40 yards before Altmyer replaced him in the fourth quarter.
Redshirt junior Gunnar Watson, who was named the Trojans’ starter by first-year coach Jon Sumrall earlier this week, completed 34 of 47 for 275 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Sumrall, a former assistant at Troy and Kentucky, replaced Chip Lindsey, who was fired after three consecutive losing seasons, which included a 5-7 mark last season.
Ole Miss out-rushed Troy 266-60, though the Trojans possessed the ball for nearly 37 minutes.
Dart threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Mississippi State transfer Malik Heath to complete the first possession of the third quarter and give Ole Miss a 28-3 lead.
That lead held up through the end of the period after the Trojans reached the Rebels’ 26-yard line, but Watson lost a fumble when sacked on fourth and 6.
Watson came back to throw a 3-yard touchdown pass to RaJae’ Johnson on fourth and goal midway through the fourth quarter to complete the scoring.
Evans’ 46-yard run led to Bentley rushing 2 yards for a touchdown that gave Ole Miss a 7-0 lead with 2:25 left in the first quarter.
Mingo’s touchdown run came early in the second quarter and Judkins’ score gave the Rebels a 21-0 lead midway through the period.
Brooks Buce’s 31-yard field goal as time expired trimmed the lead to 21-3 at halftime.
–Field Level Media