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GAMER: Ole Miss pounds Vanderbilt, 54-21

GAMER: Ole Miss pounds Vanderbilt, 54-21

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin must know what it is like to be a major league baseball manager and pull a pitcher throwing a near-perfect game.

With 3:40 left in the third quarter, Kiffin lifted Rebel quarterback Matt Corral who had thrown a gem to that point.

The sophomore had completed 31-of-34 passes for 412 yards and a school-record tying six touchdown passes. He also set an Ole Miss record by completing his first 19 attempts.

Yet after he got the hook with Ole Miss leading 48-14, his closer, John-Rhys Plumlee came on in relief to give the Rebels a 54-21 win.

Unlike some no-hitters, this one had the hurler in control from the start and Corral never relinquished his control from the opening drive.

“Matt and Elijah were lights out,” Coach Kiffin said after the game.

It’s hard to go 31 of 34 in the air. Keith Carter and I were just talking about it and he could remember the incompletions. That’s pretty cool if you can remember all the incompletions. It’s good to see that and it was good to see John Rhys Plumlee come in and do some things. It was good to get Elijah back on track after his one week of not having 10 catches and 100 yards.”

Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin

Ole Miss took the opening kickoff and drove easily for the opening touchdown. The Rebels took ten plays – five of them resulting in first downs – driving 71 yards to a Snoop Conner one-yard scoring plunge. On the march, Corral was a perfect 4-for-4 passing for 42 yards while Jerrion Ealy picked up 24 on the ground.

Luke Logan’s conversion gave Ole Miss an early 7-0 lead.

The Rebels’ next drive was as successful as their first. After taking over at its own 7, Ole Miss quickly went 94 yards in just a little over four minutes. This time, the Rebs scored when Corral dropped a pass into the arms of Kenny Yeboah streaking through the end zone. The nine-yard pass, combined with Logan’s kick, gave Ole Miss a 14-0 advantage.

“Kenny (Yeboah) did a great job in the red zone,” Kiffin said. “Scored on the same play twice. He’s been a great weapon for us. In this world of transfers that came up, he’s just another example of how big it is to get the right guys. He’s obviously made a big difference playing like one of the top guys in the country.”

Again, the Landsharks held Vandy in check and a shanked punt gave Ole Miss the ball at the Commodores’ 36. Nine seconds later, Corral found Elijah Moore behind the Vandy defense for a touchdown on the first play of the drive. Logan again converted and as the first quarter concluded, the Rebels led 21-0.

It was only the beginning of Moore’s day. The junior caught 14 passes for 238 yards to put himself into the Ole Miss record book.

In the first period, Ole Miss gained an even 200 yards, earned 10 first downs and averaged 9.1 yards per play. The defense allowed Vanderbilt half of that average per play.

As hot as the Rebels started the game, Vandy equaled it to start the second quarter. The Commodores got on the board when Ben Bresnahan caught a 43-yard touchdown from Ken Seals to cap a 92-yard scoring drive. Wes Farley’s kick cut the lead to 21-7.

But the Ole Miss offense could not be stopped. In their fourth possession, the Rebels scored their fourth touchdown. This time, the drive covered 77 yards as Moore scored on a one-yard run after getting the Rebels in scoring position by grabbing a 33-yard pass from Corral to set Ole Miss up at the ‘Dore’s five.

The conversion failed, but the Rebels led 27-7 midway through the second quarter.

Yet the Rebels ended the first half with the way they started it. Corral hit Moore with another touchdown pass, this one from 28 yards. Ole Miss attempted a two-point conversion, and after it failed, the Rebs led 33-7.

Vanderbilt sliced into the lead just before halftime. Seals found Chris Pierce with a 16-yard scoring strike and after the kick, the halftime score was 33-14.

In the first half, Corral completed his first 19 passes of the game to break the Ole Miss record set by Eli Manning for consecutive completions. Also, after being held to only five catches against Auburn last week after being the only receiver to catch ten passes in the nation in each of his first three games, Moore grabbed 12 in the first half at Vandy for 223 yards and three touchdowns.

Coach Kiffin was asked about Moore’s performance after the game. “He asked me at the start of the third quarter ‘What’s the most you’ve ever had from a wide receiver?’ I think he wanted to break the record I’d been around,” Kiffin explained. “I told him I think Marquise Lee against Arizona had 340 in a game we actually lost. He thought he was really good. He had 220 at the half so he had a long ways to go,” Kiffin continued.

Moore continues to be the epitome of a team player. “We actually tried to get him back in on a few plays while [Plumlee] was in there so he could catch another touchdown,” Coach Kiffin said.

But I just love that the guy didn’t complain last week. He had 20 yards or whatever and he never even brought it up. It was good to get him the ball back today and you can’t have a better first half than he did today.”

Coach Kiffin on Elijah Moore

That success continued into the third quarter. On its first possession of the second half, Ole Miss drove 92 yards to another touchdown. This time, Corral threw his fourth touchdown – this one to Dontario Dummond from 14 yards – to increase the lead to 41-14 after a two-point conversion run by Corral.

On the next possession, Ole Miss took advantage of a Commodores’ fumble to quickly capitalize on Corral’s sixth touchdown pass of the game. This one went to Yeboah from the nine and after the kick, the Rebels led 48-14.

That Corral TD throw to Yeboah tied the Rebels’ QB with Eli Manning for most Ole Miss touchdowns thrown in a single game at six.

John Rhys Plumlee took over for Corral and quickly ran for a 22-yard touchdown that was nullified by a penalty. But the sophomore shook that off and threw to Braylon Sanders for a 37-yard touchdown to increase the Rebels’ lead to 54-14 to end the third quarter.

Vanderbilt added a fourth-quarter touchdown to provide the 54-21 final score.

About The Author

Steve Barnes

Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers. He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio. A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series. Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time. He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk. Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.

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