Chad Kelly’s collegiate career has come to an end.
Ole Miss announced Sunday that Kelly, its senior quarterback, suffered a torn ACL and torn lateral meniscus Saturday in the Rebels’ win over Georgia Southern. Kelly will undergo surgery on his injured knee this week, the program said.
Rebels coach Hugh Freeze said Saturday that “somebody rolled into” Kelly’s knee as he stepped into a throw. Kelly underwent an MRI Sunday, which revealed the grim prognosis.
The injury puts an end to a tumultuous college career for Kelly. He began his career at Clemson but was dismissed by coach Dabo Swinney in April 2014 for “conduct detrimental to the program.” After a year at East Mississippi Community College, Kelly landed at Ole Miss for another chance at the FBS level. Kelly took advantage of his time in Oxford, putting up big numbers for the Rebels.
In 2015, Kelly threw for 4,042 yards and 31 touchdowns along with 500 yards and 10 scores rushing. This season, Kelly has thrown for 2,758 yards, 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions for the Rebels, who improved to a disappointing 4-5 with Saturday’s come-from-behind win. Kelly also totaled 332 yards and five scores on the ground through nine games this year.
When Kelly went down Saturday, Ole Miss turned to redshirt freshman Jason Pellerin, who completed one-of-five passes for 19 yards and gained 29 yards on four rushing attempts. It was Pellerin’s fifth appearance of the season.
Despite the presence of five-star true freshman Shea Patterson on the bench, Freeze will likely go with Pellerin moving forward in order to preserve Patterson’s redshirt. Pellerin’s first career start will be a big challenge. The Rebels head into College Station next weekend to face Texas A&M, which will surely drop out of the top four of the College Football Playoff rankings following its loss to unranked Mississippi State on Saturday.
Beyond the A&M game are two more winnable games to round out the regular season: at Vanderbilt and at home vs. MSU for the annual Egg Bowl game. The Rebels need to win two of their final three games to crack bowl eligibility.
Kelly wasn’t the only season-ending injury for Ole Miss on Saturday. The Rebels also lost senior defensive end John Youngblood to an ankle injury.
One of worst parts of coaching is seniors having season ending injuries. So thankful for how Chad & Youngblood competed and lead our program
— Hugh Freeze (@CoachHughFreeze) November 7, 2016
Youngblood registered 22 tackles this season and also returned a fumble for a touchdown against Alabama.
For more Ole Miss news, visit RebelGrove.com.
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