Ole Miss generated a bevy of big plays on offense in a 47-27 victory against Texas Tech at NRG Stadium on Saturday in season-opening action.
Scottie Phillips headlined a productive Rebels’ attack with touchdown runs of 39 and 85 yards bolstering his 204-yard day and quarterback Jordan Ta’amu benefitted from a stellar three-man receiving crew to pass for 336 yards and a pair of scores.
The Red Raiders (0-1) played the final three quarters without starting quarterback McLane Carter, who left late in the opening quarter with an apparent knee injury. Texas Tech also lost starting senior defensive back Desmon Smith when he was flagged for targeting and ejected.
The Rebels (1-0) peppered the Raiders for 546 total yards and methodically padded their lead after halftime, answering every Texas Tech threat with a score. The Raiders twice went on fourth down deep in Ole Miss territory and failed and the Rebels pieced together scoring drives after each empty possession.
Anchored by the big-play offense, Ole Miss dominated the first half statistically, but Texas Tech’s defense kept the Rebels in range by yielding three field goals after big plays instead of touchdowns.
The Rebels didn’t waste any time grabbing the lead: Two plays into the day, receiver D.K. Metcalf found open space in the Raiders’ secondary and Ta’amu floated a strike for a 58-yard score.
That was the first of Ole Miss’ three big daggers in the initial 30 minutes — all touchdowns, including Jaylon Jones’ 94-yard kickoff return.
Between the Rebels’ quick-strike plays, Texas Tech generated some offense despite the loss of Carter late in the first quarter. Before the veteran had to be helped off the field, he engineered a 10-play, 90-yard touchdown march with five first downs.
There were a handful of key plays during the Raiders’ drive, none bigger than T.J. Vasher’s spectacular one-handed 31-yard reception. Da’Leon Ward capped the drive with a 15-yard TD scamper through a massive hole created by Jack Anderson and Terence Steele.
Texas Tech hung close by forcing three Rebel field goals in the first half.
—Field Level Media