The 2018 college football season starts out with a big win for Ole Miss as the Rebels defeated Texas Tech 47-27 in Houston.

The fireworks began immediately on Saturday as it took only 33 seconds for Jordan Ta’amu to hit D.K. Metcalf for a 58-yard touchdown to open the game from NRG Stadium, home of the Texans. The next time the ball hit a Rebel player’s hands resulted in another score as Jaylon Jones returned a kickoff back for six.

Those two plays summed up the game pretty well for Texas Tech’s defense, as the Red Raiders were abused by air and ground all afternoon.

Heading into the game, every Rebel fan was already well aware of just how underrated Jordan Ta’amu was by many outside of Oxford, but many Ole Miss fans themselves were likely introduced to Scottie Phillips, the team’s new starting running back. One of the top junior college running back prospects in the 2018 recruiting cycle, Phillips turned down a scholarship offer from Miami to play in Oxford.

The Rebels have to be thrilled with that decision after the impressive debut of the Ellisville, Miss., native.

In his first game for Ole Miss, Phillips rushed for 204 yards and two scores — on only 16 carries. His presence brings balance to Phil Longo’s attack and allows the Rebels to punish teams that don’t put enough defenders in the box. Texas Tech was forced to pick their poison on Saturday, and Phillips made them pay a heavy price in this one.

Phillips’ first touchdown of the season came on a fourth and one from near midfield. The team’s starting running back showed off his moves by busting out a sick juke move and his open field burst by making it to the end zone before he could be brought to the turf.

Phillips’ second score of the day was much the same, as he made a safety completely whiff on this play and turned on the burners, leaving the Texas Tech defense in the dust on this 65-yards rumble.

For all the damage Phillips did on the ground, Ta’amu was just as impressive through the air. The Ole Miss quarterback finished the game with 336 passing yards and two touchdowns. Any doubt that he wouldn’t carry over the momentum captured in 2017 into this season ended on Saturday. The senior was not only accurate but spread the wealth all around the field against the Raiders. Four receivers had at least four catches in this game.

For all the offensive accolades, perhaps the most promising aspect of the game was Wesley McGriff’s defense. Texas Tech was held to only 10 points in the second half and was shut out in the fourth quarter. The Red Raiders put up a ton of yards, 486 total, but were kept out of the end zone when it mattered the most.

Not a perfect outing for the Landsharks by any means — Ole Miss did not record a sack or interception in the game — but good enough against a historically efficient offense in the opener and more than enough production for the Rebels to get a win during the opening weekend of the season.

Ole Miss heads home to Oxford a winner and now has a week to prepare for the home opener against Southern Illinois next Saturday.