Kent State forced Mississippi to dig deep into its treasure trove of athletes to earn a 38-17 victory Saturday afternoon at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Miss.

Senior quarterback Jordan Ta'amu and his immense stable of receivers ultimately overwhelmed the Golden Flashes (1-3), who were tied at the half and trailed by just a touchdown in the fourth quarter despite allowing 442 yards through the air and 651 total yards to the Rebels (3-1) of the rugged Southeastern Conference.

"It's kind of been the story in these power ball games in the first half,” said KSU coach Sean Lewis, whose team led Illinois by 14 at halftime and was within striking distance at Penn State near the end of the second quarter, but lost both games. “We're right there knocking on the door, and we have to find a way to overcome and persevere and knock down that wall."

Four Rebels wide receivers finished with more than 70 yards receiving — 6-2 senior DaMarkus Lodge (6 catches, 81 yards), 6-4 sophomore D.K. Metcalf (5-102 1 TD), 6-1 junior A.J. Brown (7-96) and 6-4 tight end Dawson Knox (2-79).

Sophomore quarterback Woody Barrett continued to shine for the Flashes. Barrett, who started his collegiate career in SEC country at Auburn, completed 24-of-42 attempts for 224 yards and added 53 yards rushing and a touchdown. But Barrett was sacked seven times by a relentless Rebels defense that also amassed 15 tackles for loss.

After mechanical issues with their plane delayed their flight out of Akron-Canton Airport on Friday by six hours, the Flashes had to endure a pair of lightning delays on Saturday in Oxford. The game took more than 5½ hours to complete.

“I was really proud of the way our kids handled everything that they've been through on this trip,” Lewis said. “Obviously we came up a little bit short, and need to do a better job preparing again to maximize these opportunities that are in front of us. But I'm really pleased with the way the kids fought.

Moments after a lengthy second delay, Isaiah Woullard put the game away with a 7-yard touchdown run that gave the Rebels a 38-17 lead with 7:06 remaining.

Up until that point, four-touchdown favorite Ole Miss had its hands full.

Kent State ran 55 plays in the first half and outgained Ole Miss 264-226. The Flashes reached Rebels territory five times in the opening two quarters, but came away with just seven points and it was 7-7 at halftime.

Lightning that struck during the intermission forced a delay to the start of the second half. Once play began, Ole Miss turned to its deep stable of wide receivers to make plays — and they responded.

A 42-yard pass to Brown set up a 2-yard run by Phillips that put the Rebels ahead to stay at 14-7. Kent State countered with a 32-yard Trickett field goal set up by junior running back Justin Rankin (15 carries, 64 yards), who eluded a tackler in the backfield on fourth-and-one then bounced it outside for a 26-yard gain.

Ole Miss then turned two jaw-dropping plays into seven more points. First Lodge hurdled a defender en route to a 30-yard gain on a short pass from Ta'amu, then Metcalf made a one-handed catch in the end zone for a 41-yard score that put the Rebels on top 21-10.

With their backs to the wall, the Flashes answered. Jo-El Shaw returned the ensuing kickoff 42 yards, then Barrett directed a 53-yard touchdown drive he capped with a 2-yard run that brought Kent State back to within 21-17.

After the teams traded interceptions, Ole Miss drove to the KSU 10, but had to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Luke Logan that pushed the lead to 24-17 after three quarters.

Ta'amu threw for 246 yards in the third quarter alone.

Kent State was forced to punt, then two long pass plays set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Ta'amu that gave the Rebels a two-touchdown cushion.