“You’ve got fins to the left, fins to the right and you’re the only bait in town.” ~ Jimmy Buffett
OXFORD, Miss. – It is unlikely singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett was thinking about the Ole Miss Landshark Defense when he wrote that lyric in his song “Fins,” but it aptly describes how Vanderbilt’s offense must have felt Saturday night.
The Rebels’ defense went into a feeding frenzy during the 31-6 Ole Miss win, continually swarming Vanderbilt ball carriers.
“The D-Line played really well tonight,” head coach Matt Luke said.
“They were getting pressure without blitzing. I’m just really proud. They got a shut-out in the second half. Keeping them out of the end zone. They played pretty well so credit Coach (Mike) MacIntyre, his staff, and the defense.“
Head coach Matt Luke on the Ole Miss defense
Vandy was limited to 62 yards rushing, and the Rebels collected nine tackles for loss, three sacks and eight quarterback hurries.
More importantly, the defense kept Vanderbilt out of the endzone, surrendering just two field goals.
Individually, inside linebacker Lakia Henry sported the most dominant dorsal fin for the Landsharks, leading the unit with 15 tackles, one for loss, a sack and a hurry.
Inside linebacker Jacquez Jones tallied nine tackles and defensive back Jaylon Jones added seven.
Speaking of keeping up with the Joneses….Benito Jones smelled the blood in the water and spent a great amount of time in the Commodores’ backfield. The senior had 2 ½ tackles for loss, a sack and four hurries.
Vanderbilt was especially swarmed on third down as it failed on its first ten attempts to convert one into a first down. The Commodores finally converted on with 8:11 left in the third quarter. For the game, Vandy converted just 2-of-17 of its third downs.
The Commodores did end up with 202 yards passing, but 62 of those yards came in the fourth quarter with the game was no longer in doubt. Ole Miss countered that by holding Vandy to minus-13 yards on the ground in the final period.
“We feel good,” said Jaylon Jones.
“Obviously, we can’t go back and get those losses but this game was a confidence booster. But we’re just going to go back and watch film Sunday and keep this confidence rolling.“
Jaylon Jones on how the defense is feeling
The Landsharks will look to continue the Saturday success when they visit Missouri next week. The Tigers are led by quarterback Kelly Bryant, a transfer from Clemson. However, his availability next week is not known after he missed the second half of the win over Troy after suffering a knee injury. He spent the rest of the game on crutches.
If Bryant is hobbled at all, the defense could have another feeding frenzy.
Perhaps Buffett does know something about the Landsharks, after all he was born in Pascagoula, Miss.