By Parrish Alford
OXFORD – The Ole Miss offense stepped out of SEC play on Saturday and found its stride.
Wounded on the offensive line the No. 14-ranked Rebels rotated frequently and dominated overmatched New Mexico state 52-3 before a crowd of 60,154 fans at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
The winless Aggies (0-5) of the Sun Belt Conference were playing without their starting quarterback.
Ole Miss didn’t cross the goalline until the final minutes of last week’s 38-10 loss at Florida.
A week later quarterback Chad Kelly was 24-for-33 passing for 384 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
Success in the run game was erratic. The Rebels played without starting running back Jaylen Walton and averaged 7.8 yards per rush, a number boosted by Eugene Brazley’s 78-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.
The Aggies drove 67 yards for a field goal on their first possession. As the game moved along a defense playing with new starters Terry Caldwell at middle linebacker and C.J. Hampton at free safety had more success on third downs and reaped the benefits of senior Mike Hilton moving from strong safety to nickel back.
Ole Miss visits Memphis on Saturday.
Turning Point: Kelly’s 66-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Markell Pack on a post pattern put the Rebels ahead 24-3 late in the second quarter.
Point Man: Wide receiver Laquon Treadwell had eight catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns.
Talking Point: “It’s good to get back out on the field and come away with a win. There were some good individual efforts and some things we need to continue to improve on.” – Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze