No. 15 Ole Miss pounds Vanderbilt 41-3
Cody Core (88) scores a touchdown in the Rebel win. (Photo credit: Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)
Ole Miss took the lead on the opening possession against Vanderbilt Saturday and never looked back en route to a 41-3 win at LP Field in Nashville.
Gone were the interceptions and double-digit penalties from the game against Boise State. Gone, also, were the punts, as Will Gleeson–the Rebel punter from down under–was not needed once during the game.
After last year’s down-to-the-wire nail-biter, Rebel fans were treated to a game that was never in doubt. Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace passed for 320 yards and a touchdown in the game, before taking a seat in the third quarter so his young backups could get some playing time under their belts.
Rebels score early and often
Wallace and his Rebels needed just 4:32 in the opening series to score seven points. On that initial drive, the senior quarterback was five-for-six on pass attempts. RB Jaylen Walton topped off the drive with a 20-yard run, and that was just the beginning of what would eventually be 547 yards of total offense for Ole Miss.
The Rebels followed the initial touchdown with a pair of Andrew Fletcher field goals to go up 13-0 with 9:19 left before halftime.
The Ole Miss Landshark defense continued to stymie the Commodores and paved the way for Wallace and the offense to continue rolling up the points.
The Rebels started on their own 27 and marched down the field for yet another scoring drive—with Wallace hitting receivers Cody Core, Quincy Adeboyejo and Vince Sanders along the way. Core picked up where he left off in the Boise State game, catching a 20-yard touchdown pass that would give the Rebels a 20-0 lead going into halftime.
Rebel halftime adjustments not needed this week
Things didn’t get any better for Vandy following the intermission, as fifty seconds into the second half senior defensive back Cliff Coleman intercepted Rivers’ pass at the 39 and ran it back for an Ole Miss touchdown. The Rebels were up 27-0.
Once again the Ole Miss defense stopped the confused Commodores and the Rebels went back to work on offense, starting at their own 21. Behind receptions from Evan Engram, Laquon Treadwell and Vince Sanders, Ole Miss marched downfield and I’Tavius Mathers scored on a 2-yard touchdown run to give Ole Miss a 34-0 lead. The Vandy offense remained inept as it gained only 2 yards on its next series of downs before punting, yet again, to Ole Miss.
Backup quarterbacks shine for Ole Miss
Late in the third quarter, Ryan Buchanan came in to lead the offense as the Rebels began work on their own 32 yard line. The 6’3″ redshirt freshman backup quarterback hit Quincy Adeboyejo on a couple of passes, and then DeVante Kincade, another solid Rebel quarterback, took the ball in from two yards out for his first touchdown as a Rebel to give Ole Miss a 41-0 lead with 3:02 remaining in the third quarter.
Vandy got a little something going and made it down to the Ole Miss two yard line before being stopped on fourth down. Kendarius Webster, Lavon Hooks and Senquez Golson each made critical defensive plays for the Rebels, once again giving their offense the ball.
Ole Miss fumbled the ball on its own 3 yard line, and Vandy eventually converted the turnover into a three-point Tommy Openshaw field goal to make the score 41-3—which is how the game ended.
By the numbers….
Vanderbilt’s offense was truly an exercise in futility, as the Commodores only mustered 167 total yards via 107 rushing and 60 passing.
Ole Miss, on the other hand, had 34 first downs—the most in the Hugh Freeze era– with 367 passing yards and 180 rushing on the night. The Rebels also committed just five penalties on the night. Click here for the complete list of Rebel statistics.
Bo Wallace had zero interceptions in the game and tied Kent Austin for second place in school history with 566 career pass completions.
Receivers doing work for the Rebels
Rebel receivers continue to shine, as sophomore TE Evan Engram posted his first career 100-yard receiving game with a career-high seven catches for 112 yards. Junior WR Cody Core finished with four catches for 85 yards and his third touchdown on the season. Senior Vince Sanders caught five passes for 64 yards, while Adeboyejo hauled in five for 57 and Laquon Treadwell caught four passes for 31 yards.
Coach Freeze pleased
Following his team’s dominating win, Head Coach Hugh Freeze offered these thoughts on the game: “We’re excited to get a road, SEC win and I thought our kids played a pretty solid game. Bo Wallace really managed us well. We played really solid defensively.”
Freeze was pleased with the number of Rebels who were able to play. “There are a lot of individual efforts to talk about,” he noted. “I’m really thrilled that everyone who made the trip got into the game and got their chance to play. Those kids practice a lot and you never know when their time will come to where they have to step in and play so it was really good to see that also.”
Next Up for Ole Miss
The Rebels will face Louisiana-Lafayette next Saturday at 3:00 pm in Oxford. The Rajin’ Cajuns lost 48-20 to Louisiana Tech Saturday and are 1-1 on the season, having defeated Southern in their opening game.