Breakdown: No. 20 Ole Miss 42, Georgia Tech 0

Before 2019, Georgia Tech had not been shut out anywhere since 1997 and not at home since 1959. On Saturday, the Yellow Jackets absorbed their third home shutout of coach Geoff Collins’ 37-game tenure and their fourth overall. It also was their third scoreless defeat in the past five games.

Before an announced crowd of 40,293 on a beautiful afternoon at Bobby Dodd Stadium, Tech lost to No. 20 Ole Miss 42-0. The Rebels outgained the Jackets 547-214.

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Key play

Down 7-0 early in the first quarter, Tech attempted to punt from its 34-yard line, but Ole Miss defensive end Cedric Johnson blocked David Shanahan’s punt, giving the Rebels the ball at Tech’s 20-yard line and helping them take a 14-0 lead. It was the third time in its first three games that Tech has had a punt blocked. Last season, there were 122 FBS teams that managed to go the whole season without having three punts blocked. Collins accepted responsibility, saying there was supposed to be a motion before the snap that didn’t occur and that he was accountable.

ExploreTech waylaid by No. 20 Ole Miss at Bobby Dodd Stadium

Key stat

Ole Miss believed it could run the ball against Tech, and the Jackets did nothing to dissuade the Rebels, who ran the ball 62 times out of 81 offensive snaps for 316 yards. The play of running backs Zach Evans and Quinshon Judkins, the blocking of the Rebels’ offensive line, receivers and tight ends and the pace at which the offense hurried to the next snap were far too much for Tech, which sometimes had trouble getting set in time.

ExploreTech’s lackluster run defense gashed frequently by Ole Miss

Game ball

Evans ran 18 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns against a Tech defense that had allowed 3.0 yards per rush in its first two games.

What we learned

Tech had an opportunity to prove that, if it could minimize mistakes, it could compete against a Top 25 opponent, that the first half of the game against No. 5 Clemson was a reflection on what it could be. The Jackets instead were outclassed from start to finish on a day in which their running game, expected to be a strength, netted 53 yards (which included 54 negative yards), and the defense allowed touchdowns on six of Ole Miss’ first nine drives, with only one of them measuring fewer than 63 yards. The Jackets have nine more opportunities to redeem themselves, but, unlike the Clemson game (and the Western Carolina game), there was little to build on from Saturday’s performance.

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They said it

“The progression has not gone as quickly as we wanted it to.” – Geoff Collins, on the state of his team in his fourth season.

“Sixty-two carries for over 300 yards rushing – that’s kind of old Georgia Tech numbers.” – Lane Kiffin, in a nod to the productive offenses of former coach Paul Johnson

What’s next

Tech: The Jackets (1-2) will travel to Orlando, Fla., to play Central Florida on Saturday. The Knights were 1-1 before their game Saturday night at Florida Atlantic.

Ole Miss: The Rebels (3-0) will be at home against Tulsa in their final non-conference game of the season.