Rapid Reaction: Speedsters John Rhys Plumlee, Jerrion Ealy lead Ole Miss over Vanderbilt
Put John Rhys Plumlee and Jerrion Ealy together, and the Ole Miss offense has something special.
Plumlee was the key to the Ole Miss offense in the first half, and Ealy made burst after halftime as the Rebels pulled away from Vanderbilt, 31-6. Not to be outdone, Snoop Conner ran 84 yards for a touchdown after Ealy’s 78-yard touchdown.
Scottie Phillips added a fourth rushing touchdown late in the fourth quarter, the fourth different Ole Miss player to run in a TD. That put the Rebels over 400 yards rushing on 40 carries, which was the first time Ole Miss rushed for more than 400 yards against an SEC opponent since 1979 against Vanderbilt.
In the first half, neither offense lit it up outside of Plumlee’s rushing yards. In Ole Miss’ first four drives, the Rebels had just three touches for running backs, including two for Phillips and one for Conner. Ealy didn’t get involved until later. But once he did, it was memorable.
The big plays continued a theme for Ole Miss. Entering Saturday, the Rebels had run 33 plays that gained 20 or more yards so far, the ninth-most in the FBS. The Vanderbilt defense, meanwhile, has allowed 34 plays of 20 yards or more yards, tied for the most in the FBS. It was a bad combination for Vanderbilt that Ole Miss exploited.
Plumlee could do it with his arm, too. With a comfortable lead in the fourth quarter, Plumlee on third down and five completed a 28-yard pass to Jadon Jackson.
Vanderbilt struggled offensively for much of the night. The Commodores had a promising drive that converted two fourth down plays in the first half, but the visitors only settled for field goals in the first half. Vanderbilt’s first third-down conversion of the night came with 8:11 left in the third quarter.
Vanderbilt had just 46 rushing yards in the first half, and was 0-for-7 on third down conversions. Vanderbilt changed quarterbacks in the final minute of the third quarter as Deuce Wallace looked to jumpstart the offense. Riley Neal was 18-for-30 for 140 passing yards by that point. But Wallace didn’t have much of a spark, as he started 3-for-8 passing for nine yards.
In an issue that became the topic of several media questions to Derek Mason in the last week, Jared Pinkney was not involved much for the Vanderbilt offense. He had one catch for 7 yards through the third quarter.
Ole Miss, conversely, leaned on Plumlee, who had 123 rushing yards on 10 carries in the first half. By the time the Rebels led 10-0, on a scoring drive of three plays over 44 yards, Plumlee had 83 rushing yards. One play went for 54 yards on the second play of the game.
During his 33-yard touchdown, Plumlee was caught giving a “thumbs up” as he ran toward the goal line.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) October 6, 2019