NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Ole Miss is set to open the 2013 season tonight at Vanderbilt Stadium in a game that is being shown across the nation on ESPN.
The Commodores have been an thorn in the side of the Rebels the last eight seasons, with the Commodores coming out on top six of those eight meetings dating back to 2005. Ole Miss lost 27-26 to Vanderbilt last season in Oxford despite owning a 17-point lead early in the third quarter.
Ole Miss’ last win against the Commodores here came in 2009 when the team was ranked No. 18 in the nation. Jevan Snead threw for three touchdowns in that 23-7 win. There was an almost 10-year period when the Rebels couldn’t lose to Vanderbilt on the road. Ole Miss beat the Commodores in their home stadium in 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2003. Ole Miss leads the overall series 47-38-2 but Vanderbilt leads in Nashville 27-21-2.
Running back I’Tavius Mathers did not make the trip. All of the other running backs made the trip. Several corners have dressed out, including Senquez Golson, Charles Sawyer, Dehendret Collins and Q Burdette.
Ole Miss’ new-look defense made an impact on the first drive of the game against Vanderbilt as former South Panola S Tony Conner garnered his first career interception. Conner’s pick came at the Commodores’ 31 and six plays later, Andrew Ritter had the Rebels on the board with a 30-yard field goal. Ole Miss 3, Vanderbilt 0. 10:22 mark.
The Rebels stopped the Commodores on their next drive and then, aided by a 16-yard punt, used a short, 42-yard field to score the first touchdown of the season. Backup QB Barry Brunetti garnered that honor when he checked in for Bo Wallace and plowed ahead for a 1-yard score. Ritter added the extra point. Ole Miss 10, Vanderbilt. 6:04 mark.
Ole Miss ended the first 15 minutes up 10-0 on the Commodores. Vanderbilt had the ball at its 44 when time ran out in the period.
The Rebels’ lead didn’t last long into the period as Vanderbilt got a 55-yard catch-and-run by Jordan Matthews to take its first lead. Matthews’ catch came on a pass from QB Austyn Carta-Samuels and took just one play. Vanderbilt 14, Ole Miss 10. 10:14.
Too many big plays continued to hurt the Rebels as the quarter wore on. Vanderbilt gained 33 yards on a completion to Jonathan Krause during a seven-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by a 3-yard run from Jerron Seymour. Ole Miss mounted a drive on its last possession, using a fake punt run by Robert Nkemdiche to garner a first down. The Rebels’ scoring threat fizzled, however, and Ritter was forced to kick a 55-yard field goal that he missed by a few yards. End Half: Vanderbilt 21, Ole Miss 10.
Ole Miss finished with 134 total yards in the first half, Vanderbilt finished with 216 on 32 plays. ole Miss had 37 offensive snaps. Wallace was 15-for-20 for 115 yards. Ole Miss had just 21 yards on 17 carries. Carta-Samuels was 10-for-15 for 164 yards. Vanderbilt also had 17 carries on the ground but for 52 yards.
Ole Miss drew closer to the Commodores on its second offensive drive of the second half. Wallace and Treadwell paced the drive with four connections. The seven-play, 66-yard drive was capped by Brunetti, who plowed his way into the end zone with a 3-yard touchdown. Vanderbilt 21, Ole Miss 17. 10:25 mark.
After Vanderbilt scored on a 3-yard TD run by Wesley Tate, the Rebels finished the quarter with a 15-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by a 3-yard TD run by Brunetti. Wallace then hit Treadwell for a 2-point conversion. End quarter, Vanderbilt 28, Ole Miss 25.
Ole Miss ended the Commodores’ jinx thanks to an amazing 75-yard touchdown run by Jeff Scott. Twenty three seconds after the Commodores regained the lead — 35-32 — with 1:30 left in the contest, Scott shattered Vanderbilt’s with his rush around the corner and down his own sideline. Cody Prewitt then sealed the victory when he intercepted Carta-Samuels on the ensuing possession.
Final: Ole Miss 39, Vanderbilt 35. Rebels earn their first win at Vanderbilt since 2009 and end the Commodores’ seven-game winning streak. (August 29, 2013)