After a decent second-half showing against Texas A&M in College Station last week, the Rebel defense gave up 38 points to a Vanderbilt offense that was averaging a whopping 13 points a game in SEC play in its first six conference tilts and was 120th in the nation in total offense entering the game.
For DC Dave Wommack, it was one step forward and two steps back, a familiar theme for the 2016 defense.
"When you can't stop the run and you give up explosive plays, again, you are not going to win in this league," he said, for what seemed like the 11th time this season. "We just have not found a way to fix those things."
Wommack said when Stinger LB DeMarquis Gates was thrown out of the game for targeting, the Rebels lost some on-the-field communication.
"It seemed like we got out of kilter after that. I don't want to put it on anyone but myself though," he said. "This is all on me. We were trying to be aggressive, but we just made more mistakes playing that way. We don't seem to learn from our mistakes.
"We have just not done a good enough job of coaching. Our kids are making the same mistakes over and over."
Wommack said he has never had a defense that was still making the same mistakes this late in any of his 35 seasons.
"I haven't seen a year like this before, to be honest. Somehow, we are not reinforcing our principles to them enough or clearly enough or something," he continued. "It really hurts. We have built our program up pretty good the first four years and were proud of some of the things we had done defensively, but this season is so disappointing to me and I can only look in the mirror."
Now, the Rebs have the Egg Bowl and it's all or nothing in that game. Win and go to a bowl. Lose and it's a long offseason.
"We have to find a way to win that one. It's huge. We have to get the best people on the field, coach them up and find a way to get it done," he closed. "It's that simple. It will be a test of our pride and I expect us to respond in a positive way."
OC Dan Werner called the offense a total team lapse, meaning no phase of the offense was good enough to win.
"We got better last week as the game progressed against Texas A&M,' he said. "Today, we went back to ground zero. We were not good at anything.
"Vandy is a really good defense. I tried to tell our guys that all week, but obviously I did not get it across to them."
Early on, the Rebels were able to run the football OK, but as the game continued on, less and less success came from the ground game.
"Vandy showed us some new looks and made some adjustments we didn't respond well to and then we got behind and felt like we had to throw more," Dan noted. "That's a good defense - they have not given up many points against anyone in our league this year, but we just didn't get it done."
The Rebel wideouts, Hugh Freeze said, must have had "10-12 drops," but Werner didn't want to comment on that.
"I'm not going to put this effort on any one group, We were all responsible," he said. "I'm the one who is supposed to get these guys right and ready to go and I didn't get it done.
"Nobody played good and that's on me."
Now, it's Egg Bowl week.
"We have to throw this one away and get on the Egg Bowl plan on our way back to Oxford," he said. "We have to show some pride and put this one behind us, period, and come out swinging next week."