COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — One week after an injury scare, Missouri quarterback Kelly Bryant looked like his old self in a 38-27 victory over Mississippi on Saturday.
Bryant, who was knocked out of last week's win over Troy with a sprained knee, completed 25 of 35 passes for 329 yards and one touchdown.
The Tigers (5-1, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) got great production from running backs Larry Rountree III, Dawson Downing and Tyler Badie. Rountree rushed 21 times for 126 yards and two touchdowns. Downing, a former walk-on, carried six times for 70 yards and a touchdown. Badie caught three passes for 69 yards and a score.
Mississippi freshman quarterback John Rhys Plumlee rushed 23 times for 143 yards and two touchdowns and completed 8 of 17 passes for 103 yards and two scores — all that despite splitting snaps with Matt Corral. Elijah Moore caught eight passes for 102 yards and a touchdown for Ole Miss (3-4, 2-2).
The Rebels left points on the field in the first half. Plumlee's 57-yard touchdown run was called back on an unneeded downfield hold by wide receiver Miles Battle. Just before halftime, coach Matt Luke elected to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1. Snoop Conner was stuffed for no gain, and Missouri hung on to a 12-7 halftime lead.
The Tigers broke off six plays of 20 yards or more in the second half. On Missouri's first drive of the third quarter, Rountree burst through the left side of the line, stepped out of a diving tackle attempt by cornerback Jaylon Jones and raced 41 yards for a touchdown. Later in the third period, Downing plowed through the right side, broke into the clear and dragged Jones for the last 4 yards of a 58-yard touchdown run that gave the Tigers a 28-7 lead.
Missouri: The SEC East race opened up with third-ranked Georgia's upset loss to South Carolina on Saturday, and the Tigers could be sleeper contenders. Missouri, which doesn't have to face any SEC West heavyweights, will be favored in its next two games at Vanderbilt and Kentucky before visiting Georgia on Nov. 9.
Mississippi: The Rebels struggled on defense and will be shorthanded in the first half of next week's game. Linebackers Jacquez Jones and Sam Williams were ejected for targeting for hits to Bryant's head in the second half.