Dart survived challenges from transfers Spencer Sanders and Walker Howard in fall camp and turned in a strong opener in a 73-7 victory over Mercer. Coach Lane Kiffin confirmed Monday that Dart will start for the 22nd-ranked Rebels at No. 24 Tulane on Saturday.
Dart, who started most of last season, completed 18 of 23 passes for 334 yards and four touchdowns against Mercer. He also ran four times for 36 yards.
“Jaxson played really well and, like I've said, had a really good camp and spring,” Kiffin said. “So he's the starting quarterback. I've said all along we're extremely excited about that room, the depth in that room.”
The blowout afforded Kiffin a chance to get all three passers into the game.
Sanders was 8-of-14 passing for 134 yards and two touchdowns. He was a four-year starter at Oklahoma State.
Howard, who came over from SEC rival LSU, was 3 of 4 for 56 yards.
“That position has been dramatically improved like you saw (with) the play from all three guys that went in," Kiffin said.
But Dart, who won a competition for the job last season, showed his command of the offense, even if it was against an FCS team.
“I think Dart's grown tremendously over the offseason,” Ole Miss wide receiver Jordan Watkins said. "That first game, the first half, was a testament to that, really. You see him going through his reads, not forcing the ball.
“He played a really, really good game, a complete game.”
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll