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Gamer: No. 10 Ole Miss defeats Vanderbilt, 31-17, on Senior Night

Gamer: No. 10 Ole Miss defeats Vanderbilt, 31-17, on Senior Night

OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral completed 27 of 36 passes for 326 yards and threw two touchdown passes in his final game at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Saturday as the Rebels knocked off Vanderbilt, 31-17.  Ole Miss finishes the 2021 season a perfect 7-0 at home, the first undefeated mark on campus since 1992.

Coming out of the halftime locker room, the Commodores took control of the game. Although it did not score, Vandy kept the Ole Miss offense on the sidelines for more than 11 minutes in the third. Yet in the fourth quarter, Ole Miss was able to drive 62 yards to a Henry Parrish, Jr., 8-yard scoring run to give the Rebels an insurmountable lead.

(Click here for box score.)

First half action

It did not take Ole Miss long to show off its offense. After starting the game’s initial drive at his own 35, Matt Corral went 4-for-4 and 57 yards and on the Rebels’ first rushing attempt, Jerrion Ealy burst through the middle from the 8 for the first touchdown of the game.

Caden Costa nailed the conversion and just over a minute into the game, Ole Miss had a 7-0 lead.

The next Rebels’ drive was more sustained – by 17 seconds. Ole Miss stalled in the Vandy red zone, but Costa hit a 28-yard field goal to extend the lead to 10-0. On the drive, Corral finally threw an incompletion on his seventh pass attempt.

Counting last season – where Corral started 19-for-19 – the redshirt junior started 25-for-25 against the Commodores.

Late in the first quarter, Vanderbilt got on the scoreboard with a field goal to close to within a touchdown.

Early in the second, Ole Miss extended the lead to 14. The Rebels drove 80 yards in 10 plays and Corral hooked up with a 10-yarder to a weaving Dontario Drummond for the touchdown. Costa’s kick put the Rebs ahead 17-3.

Vandy kept the momentum it built on its first drive, methodically moving down the field. The Commodores moved 60 yards – and converted a fourth down – but when the rubber hit the road, Vanderbilt again had to settle for a field goal. Joseph Bulovas hit a 33-yarder to cut the lead to 17-6.

As important as the three points were to the ‘Dores, the drive kept the Ole Miss offense off the field for 5:29.

The Rebels looked to re-establish momentum in the ensuing possession, driving deep into Vandy territory, but turned the ball over on downs at the 4.

Although the drive did not yield points, it did bottle up Vanderbilt and that led to points soon afterwards. The Commodores could not get out of the shadow of their own goal line and were forced to punt. Drummond fielded the kick on a bounce at midfield and ran it back 32 yards to set up the Ole Miss offense at the Commodores’ 18.

A trick play got Ole Miss inside the 5, but from there, it was good old-fashioned running of the football. Ealy got into the end zone from the 4 and after Costa’s conversion, the Rebels had a 24-6 lead with just over two minutes remaining in the half.

But the short drive gave Vandy enough time to mount a last-ditch drive to end the half. The Commodores were able to drive the length of the field to a 41-yard field goal as time expired to make the Ole Miss halftime lead, 24-9.

Second-half action

After scoring on the last play of the half, Vandy received the second-half kick and began to mount a drive. The Commodores drove from their own 25 to the Ole Miss 15 where they turned it over on downs. But with the final drive of the first half and the initial drive of the third quarter, the Commodores were able to keep the ball away from the Ole Miss offense for nine minutes and 18 seconds.

The inactivity had the Rebels’ offense cold, and it went quickly three-and out. Ole Miss only possessed the ball for 1:04 in the ineffective drive.

The Landshark defense was able to contain the Vandy offense on the ensuing drive and took over with 3:34 remaining in the third quarter at the Ole Miss 6.  The Rebels were able to get the ball out to midfield, but the drive stalled. Mac Brown punted the ball back and Vandy took over at its own 8 to at least flip the field for the Rebels.

The ensuing Vanderbilt drive ended the third quarter, but the Commodores kept the ball for over 11 minutes in the period.

After the Parrish touchdown, Vandy came right back and scored on a Rocco Griffin 1-yard run and a 2-point conversion cut the score to 31-17.

Ole Miss was poised to score again, but Corral was picked off deep in Vandy territory to give the Commodores some hope. But the Landsharks were able to sink the Commodores to preserve the win after Deantre Prince made a spectacular interception for the Rebels. 

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, and 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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