Report Card: Vanderbilt vs. Ole Miss

The game is over now: Vanderbilt smacked Ole Miss, 28-14. analyzes every element of the Commodore's performance and assigns a grade to each area.



Ole Miss

It wasn't pretty but it wasn't terrible either. Larry Smith completed 9 of 19 passes for only 73 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. His longest pass went for 17 yards to old reliable Brandon Barden. Unfortunately Barden ended up missing much of the game with an injury and that might be one reason for Smith's lower numbers. The other reason is probably Vandy's successful rushing attack. John Cole led the Commodores with 4 catches for 22 yards. The offensive line allowed only one sack after giving up 6 last week to LSU.
Another outstanding game on the ground for Vandy. Everyone knows about the 35 and 80 yard touchdown runs but it should also be pointed out that the Commodores had 15 other plays that went for 5 yards or more. Warren Norman finished with 111 yards and Zac Stacy added another 46. Wesley Tate is turning out to be like a fullback in short yardage situations. He finished with 30 yards in 10 carries and had one that went to 13 yards. Kennard Reeves also had a couple decent runs, picking up 11 yards in just 2 carries. The offensive line showed much improvement after the LSU game. It looks like some shuffling on the O-line paid dividends. Wesley Johnson was named the SEC's Offensive Lineman of the Week after blocking well against Ole Miss. Who'd have thought that Vandy would have had an offensive lineman get an SEC honor after last week's performance against LSU? Remarkable job that Herb Hand is doing with the big guys.
The Vandy secondary continues to get the job done this season. Two big interceptions, one by Eddie Foster that was returned for a touchdown, helped lead the team to its first victory of the season. Vandy's pass defenders limited highly regarded former Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli to only 190 yards on 19 of 35 completions. Defensive tackle Rob Lohr picked up the first sack of his career. The only reason the grade isn't an 'A' is because on at least two occasions wide open Rebel receivers dropped passes that would have been scores.
A nice job of slowing down the Rebel rushing attack. The Rebs did roll up 195 yards rushing, led by Masoli with 104, but Vandy was able to keep Ole Miss runners from making the big play. This was the big difference in the game as Vandy rushers made several huge plays against the Rebels. Sean Richardson had 12 tackles for Vandy and Chris Marve added 10. It was Marve's second win at Ole Miss in his career.
Richard Kent continues to excel at punting. He average 39.1 yards on 9 punts with a long of 47. He pinned the Rebels inside the 20 four times. His pinning of Ole Miss at their 7-yard-line was huge in setting up Vandy's final touchdown. Ole Miss returned no punts on Vanderbilt thanks to Kent's hang time. Ole Miss' punter and kickoff man also did a good job of limiting Vandy returns and Norman never got a return. Ryan Fowler is holding true on his promise to never miss another extra point. He was 4 of 4 against Ole Miss.
Caldwell and his staff coached up the team to pull off an SEC road victory despite being 12 point underdogs. The staff scouted Ole Miss and realized that the Rebels were lacking in the conditioning department as evidenced by their second half collapse against Jacksonville State. After a slow start in the first quarter the VU coaches turned it up a notch and snared a Commodore touchdown. The staff even rolled the dice, going for it on fourth-and-2 late in the game while trying to put their boot heel to Ole Miss' neck. Although it didn't work the message was sent to both the offense and defense that the staff had confidence in their abilities.
Very refreshing for everyone involved with the Vandy nation. The team came to Oxford on a "business trip" and got the job done in all aspects of the game: offense, defense and special teams. They ended the 10 game overall losing streak and the 10 game SEC losing streak and also got the monkey off their head coach's back. Now the team must work to improve their game and allow time for injured players to heal up. If this team can stay focused and do what they have to do to get better there might be some more special games ahead for the Vanderbilt Commodores.

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