Georgia makes case for No. 1 with rout of Ole Miss

The Bulldogs had over 600 yards of offense in the 52-17 win

No. 2 Georgia showed just how good it can be in a 52-17 win over No. 9 Ole Miss.

The Bulldogs were fantastic in all facets as Ole Miss got out to a fast start and stalled after that. Georgia outscored Ole Miss 45-7 after the Rebels scored a touchdown on the first drive of the game.

Georgia led 28-14 at halftime after Ole Miss tied the game at 14-14 early in the second quarter. Daijun Edwards capped an eight-play, 75-yard drive to give Georgia the lead for good and then Kendall Milton’s run less than eight plays later ended a nine-play, 62-yard drive that put the game out of reach.

QB Carson Beck was again fantastic and finished the game 18-of-25 passing for 306 yards and two TDs. Beck did throw an interception near the end of the first half but that was a pass that went through the hands of a receiver and bounced into a defender’s arms.

Ole Miss’ offense couldn’t do anything after the game was tied. Five of the Rebels’ next six drives after their second TD ended in punts and the other ended in an interception. QB Jaxson Dart was forced to leave the game in the second half after taking a hard hit while running along the sidelines. Dart never returned and was replaced by former Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders.

Why Georgia could be No. 1

The Bulldogs started at No. 3 in the College Football Playoff rankings and moved to No. 2 ahead of Week 11 thanks to a win over No. 14 Missouri. Now that Georgia has a win over a top-10 team in Ole Miss — and Missouri will move up to No. 11 or so after beating Tennessee — it’s conceivable that the Bulldogs could find themselves at No. 1 ahead of Ohio State on Tuesday.

Georgia’s two best wins are better than Ohio State’s best wins, especially considering how lackluster No. 10 Penn State’s offense looked against No. 3 Michigan. While the Wolverines now have a ranked win on their resume, Michigan’s strength of schedule is still far behind Ohio State’s and Georgia’s.

Ohio State did nothing on Saturday to warrant moving down either. The Buckeyes had a dominant win at home against Michigan State. But Georgia can now comfortably say its two best wins are better than Ohio State’s two best wins.

Georgia played its best game of the season

The Bulldogs clinched the SEC East and a spot in the SEC title game before their game against the Rebels kicked off thanks to Missouri’s blowout of Tennessee. And they followed up that spot in Atlanta with their best game of the season.

The Georgia offense had 611 total yards while limiting the powerful Ole Miss offense to 352. Georgia didn’t punt until the second half and kicked it back to Ole Miss just once all game.

"To not punt in the first half and possess the ball and keep doing what they were doing, they did an incredible job,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said.

It’s likely no coincidence that Georgia’s best offensive performance of the season came with its best players all on the field at the same time. Ladd McConkey had four catches for 81 yards and a TD, while Brock Bowers returned after being sidelined with a high ankle sprain. Bowers had three catches for 34 yards and a score.

The Bulldogs rushed 35 times for 300 yards as Edwards, Milton and Roderick Robinson each had rushes longer than 20 yards. The Ole Miss defense was overmatched up front against Georgia’s offensive line and it showed.

Ole Miss can still get a New Year’s Six bowl berth

While the slim chance of a College Football Playoff spot are now gone for Ole Miss, a 10-win season and a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl game is still very much in play for the Rebels. Ole Miss has Louisiana-Monroe and Mississippi State remaining on its schedule. The Rebels will be heavily favored in both of those games.

However, Missouri’s stellar performance against Tennessee could put a crimp in Ole Miss’ New Year’s Six plans. The Tigers could leapfrog the Rebels in Tuesday’s CFP rankings — remember, Missouri lost by nine at Georgia in Week 10 — and has Florida and Arkansas to finish the season. If the Tigers end up 10-2, they could be ahead of the Rebels in the rankings and get a New Year’s Six spot instead.