Three Keys Revisited - Vanderbilt vs Ole Miss

Well that was heartbreaking. After months without football Vanderbilt and Mississippi put on a clinic of just why we all love this game so much. In three (and then some) hours, stretching late into a muggy and sticky Nashville night the two teams punched and counter punched until time ran out.

Well that was heartbreaking. After months without football Vanderbilt and Mississippi put on a clinic of just why we all love this game so much. In three (and then some) hours, stretching late into a muggy and sticky Nashville night the two teams punched and counter punched until time ran out. Though Vanderbilt ended up on the wrong side of the score line there were many positives to be taken that suggest this could be another outstanding season for the Commodores.

1) Get after Bo Wallace early - Fail

It was a strange game for the Vanderbilt defense as they tried to shut down Bo Wallace. Early on there was nothing doing as Ole Miss raced into a 10-0 lead. Then for a while the defense got hot and held the Rebels to a couple of three and outs followed by a midfield punt. Later, when it looked like the game was in hand, the D was unable to stop the connection of Wallace and rookie sensation Laquon Treadwell. Wallace finished 31-of 47 for 283 yards, but more importantly he was mistake free. There were no interceptions and no few missed option reads, meaning that even though the Vanderbilt ends were getting to him Ole Miss won the field position war.

2) Don't ask too much from Carta-Samuels - Pass

Carta-Samuels finished the night 21-of-36 for 300 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, but that really doesn't even being to tell the story. Already without Chris Boyd, Vanderbilt had to battle for the majority of the third quarter without Jordan Matthews after he went down with cramps. The offense looked flustered while he was getting his IV and at this point the momentum swung back to Ole Miss. Add in the nasty hit Brian Kimbrow took on a kick return and Vanderbilt was without three of their main weapons for at least portions of the game.

Carta-Samuels, though, showed enough in this game to make me believe that Vandy can upset one of the bigger teams in 2013. The poise he showed on the touch pass to Matthews (right after Matthews had vomited the majority of the fluid in his body all over the field) was a thing of absolute beauty. Even that last interception which went through Matthews hands was a perfectly thrown ball. When all his targets are back and healthy Carta-Samuels is going to be very good for this offense.

3) Win the special teams and coaching battle - Push

We are going to push based on the fact Vandy had done enough to win this right up until the 75-yard run where the defense opened up like it never will again under James Franklin. The only special teams plays of note were the Mississippi fake punt, which led to nothing, and the Vandy kick return at the end of the game which set the 'Dores up with outstanding field position. One of the most important aspects of special teams is to provide a big play when it is needed, and that Darrius Sims' return was exactly that. Franklin will not be at all happy with how he was unable to contain Ole Miss' Treadwell and the read option based offense in the third quarter, but he gets a pass due to the similar surge Vandy had just before half time.

It really was one of those games where you didn't want either team to lose. All you have to do is look at the reaction of Matthews after the game to see just how much this meant to the players. The real coaching job will be coming up right now as Franklin has to lift his players and convince them that this can still be a special season if they rebound well in the coming weeks.

VandyMania.com Top Stories