Ole Miss football vs. Georgia Tech: Our scouting report, score prediction

Nick Suss
Mississippi Clarion Ledger

OXFORD − Ole Miss football's first Power Five matchup of the season comes against an opponent that hasn't beaten a nonconference Power Five opponent since 2016.

The No. 17 Rebels (2-0) visit Georgia Tech (1-1) at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday (2:30 p.m., ABC) for an SEC vs. ACC showdown. The Yellow Jackets have struggled against top competition in the last two seasons, losing their previous three games against ranked opponents by a combined score of 141-10. Ole Miss has won seven straight regular season nonconference games including all six under coach Lane Kiffin.

Ole Miss and Georgia Tech are meeting for the first time since the 2013 Music City Bowl and for the first time in the regular season this century.

Here is the Clarion Ledger's scouting report and score prediction for Ole Miss football vs. Georgia Tech:

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Ole Miss offense vs. Georgia Tech defense

Georgia Tech's defense has limited opponents to 2.98 yards per carry in large part to 15 tackles for loss in two games. The Yellow Jackets limited No. 4 Clemson to 119 rushing yards on 40 carries; in the last three seasons the only other schools to hold Clemson below three yards per carry are Georgia, Ohio State and Notre Dame.

Ole Miss' offense is built around the run. The Rebels average 256 rushing yards per game and are one of 12 FBS teams averaging more than 6 yards per carry. Junior Zach Evans and freshman Quinshon Judkins are the only FBS teammates each averaging more than 90 rushing yards per game.

If Georgia Tech has a strength, it aligns pretty well with the Rebels' strength. The Yellow Jackets have the potential to slow down Ole Miss' rushing attack, but the Jackets have also been vulnerable to long completions, which could allow the Rebels' downfield passing attack to show up the same way it did in the second half of the win against Central Arkansas.

Advantage: Ole Miss, but not by as wide of a margin as expected

Ole Miss defense vs. Georgia Tech offense

It's been a rough few years for the Georgia Tech offense. The Yellow Jackets haven't finished better than 12th in the ACC in scoring offense since Geoff Collins took over in 2019, and this year's offense has been particularly gloomy. Quarterback Jeff Sims only averages 5 yards per pass attempt, the rushing attack is largely mediocre and the Jackets grade in the bottom half of the country in pass and run blocking.

Ole Miss' defense has continued its ascent from last year through two games. The Rebels rank top three in the SEC in scoring defense, turnovers forced, sacks, tackles for loss, first downs allowed and red zone trips allowed. Competition hasn't been particularly stiff, but it shouldn't be much different this weekend.

If Georgia Tech can string together consistent drives with a solid rushing attack, there's a chance this matchup can be competitive. But if the Rebels make the Yellow Jackets try to win with passing through the air, it should turn out pretty well for Kiffin's bunch.

Advantage: Ole Miss decisively

Score prediction

Ole Miss 31, Georgia Tech 10: The Yellow Jackets defense holds up pretty well but nowhere near well enough to allow its offense to keep the game close. Ole Miss' offense doesn't do enough to decide its quarterback battle in one afternoon but still cruises to a second straight 3-0 start.

Contact Nick Suss at nsuss@gannett.com. Follow nick on Twitter @nicksuss.