No. 17 Ole Miss blows out UT Martin 76-3

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) Chad Kelly's first passing attempt was good for a 27-yard completion. Jaylen Walton's first carry was right up the middle for a 60-yard touchdown.

Just about everything No. 17 Ole Miss tried on Saturday afternoon worked and the touchdowns started piling up in a hurry. By the end of the first half, even defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche made a cameo on offense and the 296-pounder caught a 31-yard touchdown pass.

The end result: An incredibly lopsided 76-3 victory over UT Martin that produced the most points in a game for the program since 1935. The Rebels finished with 662 total yards.

Kelly - who is the nephew of NFL Hall of Famer Jim Kelly - looked comfortable and efficient in his first start. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound junior has taken a long road to a starting role, starting at Clemson before transferring to East Mississippi Community College and finally Oxford.

He threw for 211 yards and two touchdowns and also added a 20-yard touchdown run. He completed 9 of 15 passes.

Kelly earned the starting nod over Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade in what coach Hugh Freeze called a tight race. All three played well against the Skyhawks.

The return of receiver Laquon Treadwell was also a good sign for the Rebels. Treadwell - who was the team's leading receiver in 2014 - broke his leg and dislocated his ankle in a gruesome injury against Auburn last season.

He caught four passes for 44 yards on Saturday, though one of his dropped passes bounced off his hands and right into the arms of a UT Martin defender for an interception.

Ole Miss also had some good moments on defense, including Trae Elston's 93-yard interception return for a touchdown.

The only bad moment for the Rebels was off the field.

Ole Miss announced less than an hour before the game that starting left tackle Laremy Tunsil would not play because of an ongoing issue with his NCAA eligibility.

The school said during the summer that is was looking into allegations by Tunsil's stepfather that the offensive lineman had improper contact with agents and received illegal benefits.

Tunsil's absence didn't matter. The Rebels dominated the overmatched Skyhawks even with Fahn Cooper starting at left tackle. But the 6-foot-5, 305-pound Tunsil - a junior who is considered a possible first-round NFL draft pick in April - will be sorely needed when the Rebels open SEC play against Alabama on Sept. 19.


Follow David Brandt on Twitter:


AP College Football website: