Ole Miss tried its best to hand the Music City Bowl to Georgia Tech. But despite some late miscues and poor execution down the stretch, the Rebels somehow emerged with a 25-17 bowl win in Nashville on Monday.
With Ole Miss holding a comfortable 23-10 lead early in the fourth quarter, Georgia Tech cornerback D.J. White picked off quarterback Bo Wallace, the passer's first miscue of the day for the Rebels. On the very next play, Yellow Jackets' quarterback Vad Lee -- who completed only five passes all day -- launched a 72-yard bomb to Darren Waller for a touchdown. Georgia Tech trailed 23-17 with just over 13 minutes to play.
Next the Yellow Jackets' defense stepped up. Tech forced a three-and-out from Ole Miss, and when the Rebels managed to get the ball back and into Yellow Jacket territory, coach Huge Freeze attempted a reverse on third down that resulted in a loss of six yards. Georgia Tech blocked the ensuing field goal attempt to stay within a touchdown.
But the Jackets couldn't take full advantage of the Rebels' miscues. On the second play of the ensuing series, Ole Miss tackled receiver Corey Dennis on a botched reverse in the end zone for a safety. That pushed the Rebels' lead to 25-17. Ole Miss took over and drained nearly four minutes off the clock before Senquez Golson picked off Lee on the Yellow Jackets' last-ditch effort with 12 seconds to play.
Wallace was a star for Ole Miss coming off two games where he'd struggled with his production. The junior completed 22 of his 32 passes for 252 yards, one touchdown and one pick, but he added two touchdowns and a team-leading 83 yards on the ground, as well. The Rebels' defense kept Georgia Tech from counting on its run game, which was probably the difference in the game; the triple-option attack managed only 162 yards, or 3.4 yards per carry, which was well below its season average of 312 yards on the ground. For Ole Miss, Freeze's program capped a season with a positive win after high early expectations turned into relative disappointment. The Rebels started out a hot 3-0 before diving into the thick of their SEC schedule and dropping three straight to nix any hope of an SEC run. But with the way Freeze and his staff continue to recruit, Ole Miss could become a true threat to the rest of the SEC, and wins like Monday's in the Music City Bowl will keep the Ole Miss name in the minds of those recruits.