September 10, 2017 1:11:14 AM
OXFORD -- Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson had a simple explanation for Saturday's record-breaking performance in a 45-23 victory against Tennessee-Martin.
"It's crazy," said Patterson, who was 32-for-43 for a single-game record of 489 yards and five touchdowns. In two games, Patterson has thrown for 918 yards, nine touchdowns and connected with 10 receivers.
The list of Ole Miss quarterbacks is impressive, including Charlie Conerly, Jake Gibbs, Archie Manning, Eli Manning, and last year's previous record-holder, Chad Kelly. In the process of moving to the top of the list, Patterson directed the Rebels (2-0) to five consecutive scoring drives, accounting for 31 points that spanned the second and third quarters.
"To be mentioned with anything connected to Eli and Archie (Manning) is an honor," Patterson said. "No one person can break a record. It takes more, so I just thank my teammates. That's what makes us dangerous, we have so many weapons."
A.J. Brown had touchdown catches of 58 and 2 yards, finishing with 156 yards on eight receptions. DeMarkus Lodge, Jordan Wilkins and D.K. Metcalf added scoring receptions of 28, 16 and 2 yards, respectively. The Rebels finished 543 total yards.
"Shea keeps getting better and we made plays," Mississippi coach Matt Luke said. "I thought we came out slow, but late in the second quarter and in the third quarter, we started to execute. We can improve even more. We left some yards and points out on the field."
Tennessee-Martin (1-1) led 16-7 in the second quarter before the decisive five-series scoring outburst to settle the issue midway through the third quarter. Quarterback Troy Cook, Marquez Grayson and Ladarius Galloway scored on runs of 2, 2, and 4 yards, respectively.
"I'm proud of our players. I thought they played hard and showed toughness," Tennessee-Martin coach Jason Simpson said. "Give them credit. They have an outstanding quarterback. You kind of have to pick your poison on what you want to focus on stopping."
Patterson's pace was impressive as each of the seven scoring drives took less than 3:26, including four that were finished in less than two minutes.
"If we go 75 miles per hour this week, we'd want to go 85 next week and eventually get to 100 mph," Patterson said. "We always want to get a little faster. There's always room for improvement."
UT Martin: The Skyhawks had several positives, including an interception by Tae Martin that set up a Ryan Courtwright field goal.
Galloway rushed for 188 yards on 24 carries, including a memorable inside power run, moving the pile for 10 yards while smothered by defenders. The unheralded Simpson has built a solid Football Championship Subdivision and Ohio Valley Conference title challenger in his 12 seasons.
Ole Miss: A Southeastern Conference team is expected to win at home against an FCS opponent, so the Rebels have taken care of business in the opening two weeks.
Offensively, the Rebels are a quick-striking unit, led by Patterson and a stable of gifted receivers. The defense forced its first turnover of the season, a fourth-quarter interception by Javien Hamilton.
"We can still do a lot better job at stopping the run," Luke said. "We've got to get ahead of the chains defensively on first down. We've got to get better doing the little things."
Ole Miss will visit Pacific-12 Conference foe California next week.
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