Each week, The Rebel Walk’s Jeff Tetrick takes a look at the Ole Miss Postgame Points, examining the top five takeaways from the Rebels’ most recent football game. Here are the Postgame Points from the win over Vanderbilt.
1. Win Column
Ole Miss found its way back into the win column by blowing out Vanderbilt 57-35 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Rebels improve to 3-3 and pick up the first conference win of the year.
Ole Miss should feel very good about beginning its three-game homestand with a convincing victory over the Commodores. The Rebels played at a high level on both sides of the ball. This was the most complete game the Rebels have played all season, and it came against a quality opponent.
Coaches, players, and fans were hoping the Rebels would use the strong finish at Auburn last week as a springboard to success in the back-half of the schedule. Ole Miss did just that against Vanderbilt. The Rebels have a lot of confidence and momentum heading into conference clashes with LSU and Arkansas. If the Rebels play like they did Saturday on both sides of the ball, they should come away with wins over these offensively-challenged opponents.
2. Rushing Attack
The Ole Miss rushing attack looked as good as it has in a long time on Saturday. Rebel runners pounded the Commodores for 252 yards on the afternoon. The 252 rushing yards are the most in a game for the Rebels since the 2016 Memphis game (263 yards). As a team, Ole Miss ran the ball 41 times, scored 3 touchdowns, and averaged over 6 yards per run.
Jordan Wilkins was the leading rusher for Ole Miss with 18 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown. As well, Wilkins caught 2 passes for 37 yards to give him 150 all-purpose yards. It marks the third straight game in which Wilkins has reached 100 or more all-purpose yards.
Sophomore Eric Swinney ran the ball 7 times for 76 yards to compliment Wilkins. In the fourth quarter, Swinney went 55 yards for the first touchdown of his Ole Miss career.
3. Passing Game
While Ole Miss piled up some big numbers on the ground, the passing game gave Vanderbilt fits all afternoon. The Commodores could not slow down Shea Patterson and his talented group of wideouts on Saturday.
Patterson was very efficient against the Commodores. He completed 22 of 35 pass attempts for 351 yards. He tossed 4 touchdown passes and no interceptions in leading the high-powered Rebel offense.
A. J. Brown had his way against the Vanderbilt secondary. The sophomore hauled in 8 receptions for 174 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It marks the fourth time this year that Brown has caught at least 8 passes and went over 100 receiving yards in a game.
Junior DaMarkus Lodge matched Brown with two touchdown catches against the Commodores. Lodge finished the day with 5 catches for 74 yards. Both Brown and Lodge have 6 receiving touchdowns on the season now.
4. Defensive Pressure
The defensive pressure that Ole Miss generated against Vanderbilt quarterback Kyle Shurmur was a big reason the Rebels recorded a lopsided win Saturday afternoon. The Rebels harassed Shurmur throughout the game, causing him to have an awful day.
Shurmur completed just 13 of 29 passes and threw an interception. Shurmur was under constant pressure from the Ole Miss defense and ended up on his back a lot.
The Rebels recorded 7 sacks and 5 quarterback hurries against Vanderbilt. Senior Marquis Haynes led the way for Ole Miss with 3 sacks, while fellow senior DeMarquis Gates was credited with 2 sacks. Sophomore Josiah Coatney collected his first sack in an Ole Miss uniform. Austrian Robinson and Ryder Anderson contributed a half-sack apiece.
Looking ahead, the Rebels stand a great chance of winning any game on the schedule in which they can pressure the quarterback like they did against the Commodores. The next two opponents, LSU ( #86-201 ypg) and Arkansas (#82-206 ypg), are not good at throwing the ball. If Ole Miss can get to their quarterbacks in a way similar to Saturday’s showing, the Rebels should score two more wins!
5. Luke Logan
Freshman placekicker Luke Logan had a productive Saturday against Vanderbilt. On Saturday, the Hattiesburg native was a perfect 7-7 on PAT kicks and made the first two field goals of his career.
Logan connected from 22 yards out in the third quarter, and he was successful from 25 yards out in the fourth quarter.
With Gary Wunderlich dealing with a hamstring injury, it is important for the Rebels to have someone to rely on for field goals and PATs while he is out of action. Logan did not have to attempt any long-range field goals or pressure-packed kicks on Saturday, but he got great game experience.
If Wunderlich is out for an extended period of time, this experience will help both Logan and the Rebels going forward.
Next up, Ole Miss plays its second consecutive home game as the LSU Tigers travel to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The Rebels have won each of the past two meetings with the Tigers in Oxford. Ole Miss won a 27-24 contest in 2013 when Andrew Ritter hit a game-winning field goal in the closing seconds. In 2015, Chad Kelly threw a pair of touchdown passes to Evan Engram and Laquon Treadwell during a 38-17 win over Leonard Fournette and his Tigers.
(Feature image: Dan Anderson, The Rebel Walk)