Mississippi held Georgia Tech to less than half its normal rushing total and overcame some bungling on special teams to defeat the Yellowjackets, 25-17, in the Music City Bowl on Monday.
With the win, Ole Miss finishes 8-5 on the year. Georgia Tech falls to 7-6.
The Yellow Jackets entered the contest fourth in the nation in rushing with an average of 311 yards per game. But the Rebels limited Tech’s triple option attack to just 151 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, Rebel quarterback Bo Wallace completed 22 of 32 passes for 256 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 86 yards and two scores as the Rebels piled up 477 total yards and 28 first downs.
If not for some trouble in the kicking game for Ole Miss, the score might not have been this close.
Andrew Ritter’s second PAT was blocked, then he missed a 29-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter. A fourth-quarter 32-yarder was also blocked.
Down 23-10 in the fourth, Tech made a run at it. Vad Lee hit Darren Waller on a 72-yard touchdown pass with 13:25 to play and that put the Yellow Jackets within six with plenty of time left.
But then Tech did some bungling of its own. The Yellow Jackets attempted a pass on a flanker reverse, but Corey Dennis was stripped of the ball and Tech was forced to fall on it in the end zone for a safety. Ole Miss got the ball back and drained the clock and Lee’s last pass was intercepted to seal Tech’s fate.
The Rebels can now go out on a high note after losing their final two games of the regular season. This is a young, talented team that returns a lot in 2014. Expect to see Ole Miss in a much better bowl next time around.