OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Jordan Ta’amu threw for 442 yards, two touchdowns and ran for another score to lead Mississippi over Kent State 38-17 on Saturday.
Ole Miss (3-1) had some good moments, especially in the second half, but struggled to shake the malaise from last week’s 62-7 loss to No. 1 Alabama. The Rebels and Golden Flashes went into halftime tied at 7.
The game had two delays for lightning, a 53-minute stoppage at the beginning of the second half and another 1-hour, 43-minute delay in the fourth quarter.
Kent State (1-3) pulled within 21-17 midway through the third quarter on Woody Barrett’s 2-yard touchdown run, but couldn’t get closer. Ole Miss responded with two lengthy offensive drives that added 10 points and gave the Rebels a comfortable advantage.
Barrett completed 24 of 42 passes for 224 yards and an interception. He also ran for 53 yards, including the 2-yard touchdown.
Ole Miss got off to a decent start when Ta’amu threw a short swing pass to Scottie Phillips, who ran for a 38-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead. But then the Rebels’ offense inexplicably went cold.
The usual long passes from Ta’amu to his talented receivers weren’t connecting and the running game wasn’t able to offset that problem. That kept the Golden Flashes in the game, but they weren’t able to totally capitalize.
Kent State had 264 total yards in the first half, but managed just one touchdown. It came on a Barrett lateral to Kavious Price, who threw for an 18-yard touchdown to a wide open Jo-El Shaw.
Ole Miss’ D.K. Metcalf caught five passes for 102 yards, including a stunning one-handed catch on a 41-yard touchdown. A.J. Brown caught seven passes for 96 yards.
Kent State is certainly battle tested after playing Illinois, Penn State and Ole Miss in nonconference play. The Golden Flashes had some opportunities to put a lot of pressure on Ole Miss during the first half, but squandered too many opportunities to get a win over an SEC team.
Ole Miss will certainly take the win, but the team’s strengths and weaknesses haven’t really changed. The Rebels’ offense can be awesome, and D.K. Metcalf’s one-handed catch on a 41-yard touchdown will certainly make the highlight reels, but the defense still looks too inconsistent for Ole Miss to have much success in SEC play.
Ole Miss travels to face LSU next Saturday.
Kent State travels to face Ball State next Saturday.
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