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Dart, Harris combination is dominant as No. 22 Mississippi pulls away from Mercer 73-7

Jaxson Dart threw four touchdown passes, including three to Tre Harris in the opening four minutes as No. 22 Mississippi rolled to a 73-7 rout of Mercer on Saturday.

Ole Miss (1-0) opened with four consecutive touchdown drives and built a 38-7 halftime lead. Dart was 11 of 11 for 237 yards in the early surge and finished 18 of 23 passing for 334 yards before yielding to Oklahoma State transfer Spencer Sanders midway through the third quarter.

Harris, a transfer from Louisiana Tech after earning All-Conference USA honors last season, had touchdown receptions of 38, 28 and 20 yards, capping three of the four early scoring drives. Harris added a 16-yard touchdown catch early in the third period to break a school record for TD receptions in a single game.

Quinshon Judkins had touchdown runs of 1 and 3 yards and finished with 60 yards on 13 carries. Jordan Watkins added a 69-yard punt return for a score. Sanders was 8 of 14 for 134 yards and two touchdowns as the Rebels finished with 667 yards of total offense.

Mercer (1-1), ranked No. 22 in the AFCA poll of FCS schools, scored on its first offensive snap, a 75-yard run by quarterback Carter Peevy. The Bears finished with 237 yards of total offense, including 138 from Peevy on 16 of 29 passing, but never seriously threatened again.

THE TAKEAWAY

Mercer: Southern Conference teams are not expected to win on the road against SEC teams. ... Devron Harper made a handful of impressive plays at running back, wide receiver and kick returner, including a 40-yard punt return. ... Linebacker Marques Thomas had seven tackles. ... There are no more SEC teams on Mercer’s schedule.

Ole Miss: Seamless and impressive. Despite a sizable influx of transfers, a new defensive coordinator and two kickers swapping duties on kickoffs, extra points and field goals, the Rebels dominated their home opener. Lane Kiffin’s reputation for transfer portal success was enhanced by the record-breaking performance from Harris and an acrobatic interception by Liberty transfer safety Daijahn Anthony.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The No. 22 Rebels are the fifth-highest ranked of six SEC teams in the Top 25 poll. Despite the lopsided win, a significant surge in the poll would be surprising.

UP NEXT

Mercer: After consecutive road games, the Bears host fellow FCS Morehead State on Sept. 9.

Ole Miss: The No. 22 Rebels visit No. 24 Tulane on Sept. 9 in an early non-conference headliner.