"We left about 24 points on the field today," said Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt, his team 1-2 overall and 0-1 in SEC play. "We take one step forward and two steps back. We can't have those turnovers, and we avhe to be able to run the football. We've got to be able to get a yard."
Three times in the game the Rebels failed on third and 1, and another time on fourth and 1 came up short.
Ole Miss could have gone up early in the contest, but a wide open Ferbia Allen dropped the ball on what would have been a 36-yard touchdown pass from Jeremiah Masoli. The first quarter ended with no score.
Vandy (1-2, 1-1) changed that in the second quarter. The Commodores went up 14-0. Their first score was the end result of an impressive 96-yard drive. The Rebels' Tyler Campbell punted 51 yards to the VU 4-yard line. Thirteen plays later the Commodores were in the end zone as Zac Stacy took a handoff and raced 35 yards virtually untouched. Ryan Fowler was good on the point after.
After an exchange of punts, the Rebels had the ball at their own 15. But on first down, Masoli threw a pass in the left flat that was picked off by Vandy's Eddie Foster and returned 21 yards for a touchdown. Fowler added the PAT and the visitors were up two scores.
The Rebels finally got on the scoreboard before halftime. Korvic Neat ran it in from the 4-yard line two plays after Masoli had completed a 31-yard bomb to Jesse Grandy to the Vandy 3. The extra point by Rose pulled the Rebs to within seven, and the 14-7 score stood at halftime.
Statistically the teams were close at halftime. Vanderbilt had 145 yards to the Rebels' 136. On the ground Vandy had 79 yards and Ole Miss 75. Through the air the Commodores had 66 to the Rebels' 61.
Ole Miss tied it 14-14 in the third. After holding Vanderbilt on its first possession, the Rebels moved 66 yards in nine plays with Masoli taking it around right end, just making it over the pylon for the touchdown. Rose was good and with 8:34 to go in the third, the game was dead even.
Just when it appeared the Rebels were poised to perhaps take control of the game, Vandy immediately said no. After Andrew Ritter kicked it off into the end zone, the Commodores were at their own 20. On first down Norman Warren took the handoff and raced all 80 yards for a touchdown. The extra point by Fowler made it 21-14 with 8:22 left.
On their next possession, the Rebels had it first down on the Vandy 19. But on fourth and 5 at the 14, Rose missed a 32-yard field goal that would have drawn his team to within four points.
The icing on the cake for the Commodores was another quick one. After Korvic Neat fumbled at his own 15, Vandy recovered and scored on the very next play. Larry Smith took it right up the gut into the end zone with 8:04 left in the contest. Fowler was good and the final score was posted.
Ole Miss edned up with 18 first downs to Vandy's 12. The Commodores ate the Rebel defense alive, rushing for 227 yards and passing for 73 for a total of 300 yards.
Ole Miss bettered Vanderbilt in total offense with 385 yards. On the ground Ole Miss had only 195 yards to 190 through the air.
Masoli rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown. Through the air he was 19 for 35 for 190 yards and two interceptions.
Norman was the leading ground gainer for the Commodores with 111 yards. Smith, the quarterback, was 9 for 19 for 73 yards, and he carried the football five times for 35 yards.