Ole Miss Football: Takeaways From Lopsided Texas Bowl Loss

Ole Miss Football quarterback Jaxon Dart in Texas Bowl(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Ole Miss Football quarterback Jaxon Dart in Texas Bowl(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

After an embarrassing outing for the Ole Miss football squad in the TaxAct Texas Bowl against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, a game in which the Rebels were 4.5-point favorites, many questions loom. The two biggest questions are likely precisely what happened and who is to blame.

Ultimately turnovers, questionable coaching decisions, and a seemingly overall lack of effort on defense can likely be pinpointed as the catalyst to the fourth-quarter collapse of the Ole Miss Football team. Ole Miss quarterback Jaxson Dart accounted for four total turnovers, three interceptions, and a fumble.

With all but one of his turnovers coming in the first two quarters, Dart helped Texas Tech get out to a 26-7 lead by halftime. Jaxson Dart can’t be solely to blame though, as Junior Wide Receiver Dayton Wade added a fumble of his own to raise the tally to five total turnovers, digging the hole deeper for the Rebels in the 3rd quarter.

The Ole Miss offensive line also struggled throughout the game, likely contributing to some of Dart’s turnover issues as he was under constant pressure all night.

Head Coach Lane Kiffin will endure his share of scrutiny as well as the rebels were just 2-for-7 on fourth downs including 1-for-5 in the first half, contributing to the first-half deficit they found themselves in. In comparison, Texas Tech went 5-for-6 on 4th down attempts.

After going down 26-7 in the first half, the Rebels came out swinging in the third quarter and scored the only touchdown of that period with 9 minutes left. It was a 26-13 game with about 13 and a half minutes left when Texas Tech punched in their first of three scores in the fourth quarter.

Following a Red Raiders field goal, Ole Miss scored twice when Jaxson Dart ran one in from nine yards out and then tossed a 19-yard touchdown pass to Malik Heath with 3 minutes left in the game making the score 35-25. The comeback effort wouldn’t matter as Texas Tech returned the ensuing onside kickoff attempt for a touchdown and the Rebels would lose 42-25.

This loss capped off an abysmal finish to the season for Ole Miss football after a red-hot start. The Rebels started the season 7-0 and were ranked 7th in the country before entering their game vs. LSU. This is when the season took a turn. After a blowout loss to the Tigers, Ole Miss won only one more game, against Texas A&M, finishing the season losing five of their last six games, including four straight to end the year.