As confirmed by the school late Sunday afternoon, Kelly tore his ACL as well as the lateral meniscus in his right knee in the Rebels’ 37-27 win over Georgia Southern. He suffered the injury on a rather innocuous play — an incomplete pass — with nine minutes left in the third quarter. An MRI confirmed the news.
“Ole Miss senior quarterback Chad Kelly suffered a torn ACL and torn lateral meniscus in Saturday’s game against Georgia Southern,” the Ole Miss Miss statement read. “He will undergo season-ending surgery this week.”
Kelly completed 16 of 23 passes for 226 yards and one touchdown against Georgia Southern. He was replaced by Jason Pellerin, who was 1 of 5 for 19 yards and an interception. Ole Miss (4-5, 1-4 SEC) will next travel to take on Texas A&M. The Rebels will turn to either Pellerin on true freshman Shea Patterson, who Ole Miss intended on redshirting this season.
For his career, Kelly finished with 6,800 yards passing and 65 total touchdowns. He completed 503 of his 786 attempts, and he rushed for 832 yards. He set a host of school records, including, but not limited to, total offense, career 300-yard passing games and most consecutive games with a touchdown pass. He had 2,758 yards this season with 19 touchdowns compared to eight interceptions.
“You’ve always got to prepare for today,” Pellerin said. “You see what happens. You’re one play away from getting in there. You’ve always got to prepare to be the starter. Throughout the week, we run the plays. I feel confident.”
Patterson is a former five-star prospect who was rated the No. 1 quarterback in the country by Scout.com for the 2016 recruiting class. Freeze said Saturday he would hate to remove Patterson’s redshirt with just three games remaining in the season.
However, he may not have a choice.
“You hope you recruited some people behind your starter, and obviously we’ve got one here (Patterson) that we think’s going to be really good also,” Freeze said.
Pellerin is the only other quarterback on the roster who has recorded stats this season. He’s played in six games, completing 5 of 13 passes for 63 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. He’s also rushed for 96 yards on 25 carries.
“We’ve got great faith in Jason,” Ole Miss running back Akeem Judd said. “He’s a great quarterback. He just needed his opportunity. He just needs to get comfortable, just like any other player. We’ve got faith in him. (Chad) just told us to keep fighting. He’s all right.”