The first weekend of the 2018 college football season saw Southern Mississippi down in-state rival Jackson State (55-7), Mississippi State romp over Stephen F. Austin (66-3), and Ole Miss outlast Texas Tech (47-27).

In other college action, Millsaps won the Riverside Rumble, 18-3. Alcorn traveled to Georgia Tech only to take a 41-0 whipping while Delta State bused all day to Texas to come out on the losing side as they fell, 44-13, to Tarleton State. Mississippi Valley traveled all the way to Grand Fork, North Dakota, to return home a 35-7 loser. Mississippi College nipped Clark Atlanta, 31-30 to open their season.

 

Great Scott!

Ole Miss found out that this year’s 2018 Rebels could be eerily similar to last year’s edition.  The Rebels were impressive on offense as their trio of wide receivers A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf and DeMarkus Lodge all shined. The offense, led by Jordan Ta'amu, is a quick striking unit that had three scoring drives that lasted less than 50 seconds.

The biggest surprise was the emergence of Jones County Junior College transfer running back Scottie Phillips. The Ellisville native ran for 204 yards and busted loose of runs of 39, 65 and 44 yards in the game. The defense showed a “bend but don’t break" philosophy in the game as the Red Raiders were in the red zone seven times against OM.

 

MSU rolls by behind back up

Mississippi State used the talents of backup quarterback Keyaton Thompson, who accounted for seven touchdowns to roll over Stephen F. Austin. Thompson passed for five scores and ran for two more as he passed 364 yards and ran for another 109 yards.  The defense was also in high gear as Montez Sweat and Jeffery Simmons both led a superior line.

 

Abraham to Quez

USM also did everything right in smashing Jackson State. Oxford native Jack Abraham reminded many Golden Eagles fans of Nick Mullens as he completed 21 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns with his pinpoint passing. Another sophomore wide receiver Quez Watkins snared eight passes for 138 yards and three touchdowns plus returned a punt 81 yards for a TD. The USM defense held JSU to only 199 yards of offense and had two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

In the nation’s best junior college football league, No. 1 East Mississippi rolled over Hinds (50-0), No. 6 Northwest scored twice in the final three minutes to steal a 28-24 win over East Central, No. 9 Jones overwhelmed Coahoma (44-0) and No. 16 Itawamba slipped past Pearl River (34-30).

 

Dale McKee, a resident of Waynesboro, has covered Mississippi sports for more than 45 years. He writes a weekly sports column. You can contact Dale at ddmckee18@yahoo.com