Rebels still soul-searching after poor outing vs. Commodores in Nashville
No one outside Nashville, and not many in Nashville, will raise their hands when asked if they knew Vanderbilt was going to thoroughly beat Ole Miss the way it did, 38-17, on Saturday night.
That’s exactly what happened. The Commodores looked like the team itching to put a rough season behind them. Ole Miss looked like the team that has been beaten up, not the team that found new life in true freshman Shea Patterson’s debut a week earlier.
Less for Patterson: Patterson didn’t have the numbers he had in his debut, but he did throw for 222 yards and 2 touchdowns on 20-of-42 passing. Vanderbilt clearly had it out for Patterson, who at times looked too anxious to leave the pocket. He’ll have a chance to lead the Rebels to a bowl game, a big factor in whether or not pulling his redshirt was worth it or not.
Not much rush: The run game produced only 90 yards on 27 carries. In two straight wins against Georgia Southern and Texas A&M, Ole Miss ran for 196 and 152 yards. Saturday was the second-lowest output of the year.
Replay that: In a weird play in the third quarter, a replay intended to do something else resulted in leading tackler DeMarquis Gates being ejected for targeting. That means the linebacker will miss the first half of the Egg Bowl. That’s a lot of time for one play and a big blow.
Third down woes: Ole Miss was 0-for-7 on third downs in the first half and finished 5-for-18, well below its usual 41 percent average.
Dores threw it around: Vanderbilt had 481 total yards of offense, 273 passing (same as Ole Miss passing). The Commodores’ 273 passing yards was the most Ole Miss has allowed since Oct. 1 against Memphis and the second-most Vandy has thrown for all season.
Offense: C – Patterson is a true freshman and looked like it against Vanderbilt’s solid plan. The low production for the run game wasn’t a surprise, but Patterson often didn’t allow his receivers to make plays. Seven players caught passes, but Patterson got antsy before throwing on more than one occasion. To his and Vandy’s credit, the Commodores were very disciplined in coverage.
Defense: F – Vandy put up some of the best numbers of the season, signaling more turmoil for a maligned Ole Miss defense. The Rebels couldn’t stop the pass or the run in any situation.
Special teams: A – Carlos Davis had a good night, averaging 27.4 yards per kick return and adding a 23-yard punt return.
Coaching: D – Bad D again. Not only are the Rebels bad, they continue to look worse overall.
Overall: D – Can’t lost at Vanderbilt with your bowl hopes on the line. It was a poor performance all around from a team that looked rejuvenated just a week earlier.
Let Patterson work and back him up. The true freshman struggled, and the defense struggled to help him. Ole Miss wanted to go faster in the second half after trailing 14-10, but outside of a couple of rays of hope, there was nothing much to take to the bank.
DB Carlos Davis: The fastest guy on the team had a solid day of returns, 160 yards on six of them.
DE Fadol Brown: He limped off the field once again at one point but had 2 tackles for loss, a sack and a quarterback hurry. Had he been healthy all season …
TE Evan Engram: Again the top producer with 6 catches for 102 yards, including a bobbling touchdown to briefly keep Ole Miss within reach. Limped off the field late. The Rebels will need him against Mississippi State.