Does Ole Miss football have the country's best run game? It's starting to look like it.
ATLANTA − Ole Miss football stars Jaxson Dart and Zach Evans need to sign some new NIL deals ASAP. Or else they might have to start picking up shifts washing dishes in the back of the Oxford Grillehouse.
The No. 17 Rebels (3-0) throughly demolished Georgia Tech (1-2) on the road Saturday, crushing the Yellow Jackets 42-0 behind 316 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns. It's the first time an Ole Miss team has run for more than 300 yards and six touchdowns against a Power 5 opponent since 2009 versus Tennessee, when Rebels coach Lane Kiffin was roving the opposite sideline.
Evans continued his torrid start to his Ole Miss career, breaking out for 134 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. But the TCU transfer only accounted for a third of the Rebels' scoring. SMU transfer Ulysses Bentley IV scored two touchdowns on eight carries and freshman Quinshon Judkins accounted for 98 yards and two scores. Even Dart, a quarterback coming off a year where he had meniscus and MCL injuries, scampered for 40 yards on 10 carries.
WHAT WE THOUGHTOle Miss vs. Georgia Tech: Scouting report
Per tradition, Dart and Evans plan to take their offensive linemen out for a steak dinner at the Oxford Grillehouse as a thank you for paving the way for those big numbers.
"It’s kind of both of us take turns and chip in," Dart said. "So I’m sure that’s going to be a pretty penny but they deserve it."
Behind the veteran and well-fed offensive line, Ole Miss is establishing itself as arguably the best rushing attack in college football through three weeks. In just three games the Rebels have 845 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. They're averaging 5.7 yards per carry not adjusting for sacks and kneeldowns. Evans and Judkins entered the game as the only teammates averaging more than 90 rushing yards per game and they both exceeded their averages versus Georgia Tech. Bentley, who was a first-team All-AAC running back at SMU, has four touchdowns on 14 carries.
Ole Miss is averaging 281 rushing yards per game. That's what Army averaged last year running the triple option and only throwing the ball eight times per game. Sure, the Rebels put up these numbers against a Sun Belt Conference team, an FCS afterthought and the ACC's doormat. But they've also done so with three new starters at running back, a new starting quarterback, a center who played guard last year, a guard who played tackle last year and two tackles who have constantly flipped sides and rotated positions mid-game.
Evans doesn't think of this as a surprise. He calls it normal. He's argued the Rebels had the best rushing attack in college football since the spring. When Kiffin divulged this week's gameplan of run, run, run and then run some more, Evans was giddy. Before the game, running backs coach Marquel Blackwell pulled he and his position-mates aside to tell them the opportunity they would have.
"Our RB coach called it," Evans said. "He said ‘This is going to be the game where we put everybody else on notice.’"
Consider the notice put out there. Ole Miss' offensive line and backs made so much history in this game that it can be exhausting. Most rushing yards against a non-SEC Power 5 opponent since at least 1967. First game with three players with multiple rushing touchdowns since 1979. 216 rushing yards in the first half alone. Third straight game with three different players running for a touchdown.
There are so many ways to say what the eye-test is so obviously showing. This rushing offense is really, really good.
"We’ve got the best rushing attack in the country," Dart said. "We’ve got some of the best backs. We’ve got the best O-line. Our offense is on the O-line’s shoulders. When we can go into a place and dominate the line of scrimmage, we feel very confident in winning the game. Coach Kiffin and all the coaches told us to bring our run game and that’s what we did."
Contact Nick Suss at email@example.com. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicksuss.