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Let It Fly: Vanderbilt Offers Opportunity for Rebels’ Passing Game

Let It Fly: Vanderbilt Offers Opportunity for Rebels’ Passing Game

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Ole Miss faces its first road test in conference play this weekend as the Rebels travel to Vanderbilt to take on Clark Lea’s Commodores.

Vandy currently sits at 3-2 overall and 0-1 in conference play after a 55-3 beatdown at the hands of the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide two weeks ago. The ‘Dores had a bye week this past weekend, giving them an extra week to prepare for the Rebels.

Though the Rebels’ main emphasis offensively to this point in the season has been on the ground, the Commodores offer a real chance for Ole Miss to air it out and really test the skills of quarterback Jaxson Dart and his receiving corps.

Holes In The Secondary

To say Vanderbilt’s pass defense has been poor would be an understatement. Through just five games, the ‘Dores have allowed 1496 yards through the air, with their opponents averaging just over eight yards per attempt while getting 13 receiving touchdowns scored against them.

Perhaps no one team has exposed the weak Vandy secondary this season like Wake Forest did. Sam Hartman, making his return to the field for the Demon Deacons, torched the Commodores for 300 yards on 18-of-24 passing and four touchdowns, leading the Deacons to a 45-25 win.

Poor tackling also plagued Vanderbilt on the back end of the defense, a situation the Rebels will look to capitalize on.

No Relaxin’, Jaxson

Through a 5-0 start in 2022, Jaxson Dart has thrown for just 910 yards on 66-of-111 passing and five touchdowns. The offense has been heavily focused on the Rebels’ star group of running backs: Quinshon Judkins, Zach Evans, and Ulysses Bentley IV.

Ole Miss featuring a run-heavy offense is certainly unfamiliar to Rebel fans, but to this point that has been the right move with the defensive schemes the Rebels have faced.

This week could be Dart’s time to shine. With the Commodores allowing just 790 rushing yards through five weeks, those 1,496 passing yards allowed are sure to look appealing to Lane Kiffin and company. Dart hasn’t had too many opportunities to really get his receivers involved to this point, but has certainly shown off his arm talent when given the chance.

With Zach Evans coming off a hip pointer injury and Ulysses Bentley IV also trying to get back healthy, this could be a prime week for the patented Lane Kiffin offense to let it fly.

Kickoff

The contest between the Rebels and Commodores will kick off at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday and will air on the SEC Network. Ole Miss still has just one night game to date, that coming back in week two against Central Arkansas.

(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)

Austin Eldridge
Austin Eldridge

Austin has more than ten years in sports media, including sports talk radio, play-by-play broadcasting and journalism. He has followed Ole Miss athletics for his entire life and has covered the Rebels and the rest of the SEC while working in the Memphis media market. Outside of sports media, Austin is a musician and outdoorsman. Before a serious accident forced him to be medically discharged, he was a multi-media journalist with the Mississippi National Guard.

About The Author

Austin Eldridge

Austin has more than ten years in sports media, including sports talk radio, play-by-play broadcasting and journalism. He has followed Ole Miss athletics for his entire life and has covered the Rebels and the rest of the SEC while working in the Memphis media market. Outside of sports media, Austin is a musician and outdoorsman. Before a serious accident forced him to be medically discharged, he was a multi-media journalist with the Mississippi National Guard.

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