In a Nutshell: Ole Miss defeats Vandy on the road, 54-21
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Ole Miss earned its second win of the year, beating Vanderbilt, 54-21, in Nashville. Although the Commodores have a depleted roster due to the COVID-19 crisis and multiple players opting out for the season, the Rebels did exactly what they were supposed to do Saturday.
Ole Miss got on top of an inferior team and kept them there for 60 minutes.
Here is The Rebel Walk’s initial impression of the game in a nutshell:
THE POSITIVE: A relentless offense. From the opening kickoff, the Ole Miss offense kept its foot on the gas. The only time the Rebels were kept out of the end zone in the first half was when the clock ran out on the unit. The production looked like what Ole Miss did against Florida and Alabama.
THE NEGATIVE: Kicking game. Ole Miss missed a field goal and two conversions. That is five points left off the scoreboard — points that against a better team could have been critical.
THE KEY UNIT: Is Elijah Moore a unit? All the guy did was catch 14 passes for 238 yards and three touchdowns. In addition, he ran the ball once for four yards.
Last week, NFL fans saw former Ole Miss receiver A.J. Brown catch a slant for the Tennessee Titans and outrun the Pittsburgh Steelers’ secondary for a touchdown. Fans also saw former Rebel D.K. Metcalf of the Seattle Seahawks run 22 miles per hour to catch an Arizona Cardinal defender trying to return an interception for a touchdown. Both those professional players are wishing they had Moore’s performance this week.
With his performance against Vandy, Moore becomes the only Rebel to have multiple 200-yard receiving games in a single season. He broke A.J. Brown’s school record for yards in a single game (238) and tied Brown and Laquon Treadwell’s school record for receptions in a game (14). Moore’s three touchdown catches made him the first Rebel to score that many since Treadwell in 2015. Not a bad day, Elijah.
THE KEY PLAY: The opening kickoff. Once the Rebels got the ball for the first time, the game was over.
THE MOMENTUM SHIFTER: On the game’s first drive, Ole Miss was facing a second-and-four at its own 35-yard line. Matt Corral completed a seemingly innocent pass to Moore for eight yards and a Rebels’ first down. It was the first connection between Corral and Moore, and it set the mood for the rest of the game.
WHAT THIS MEANS GOING FORWARD: Ole Miss now finally gets a break in this weird 2020 season. With a dominant win under their belt, the Rebels can take some confidence into the bye week and rest while healing from the bumps and bruises of an SEC season. Additionally, Ole Miss can stay at home for a bit and await South Carolina to visit Oxford Nov. 14.
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.