Vanderbilt Report Card: Ole Miss

Vanderbilt fell to Ole Miss 27-16 on Saturday in Oxford.'s Don Yates grades the Commodores' performance in several key team areas.

Johnny McCrary was solid, completing 23-of-42 passes for 194 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. His favorite target was Trent Sherfield who snared seven catches for 55 yards. Both Steven Scheu and Caleb Scott made big third down receptions to keep drives going. Each had five catches. Ralph Webb scored Vandy's only touchdown of the game on a 7-yard reception from McCrary in the third quarter. Vandy's blockers were solid allowing the Rebels no sacks.

Vandy rushed for 128 yards on 43 carries (3.0 ypc). Ralph Webb had his best game of the season rushing for 90 yards on 25 carries. He finally broke loose for a big gain in, with a 43-yard run down the sideline. Dallas Rivers had three carries for six yards before being injured. Freshman Josh Crawford filled in for Rivers and did well, picking up 20 yards on six totes. He had a long run of 11 yards. Johnny McCrary gained 11 yards on seven carries. In order to become a more complete quarterback McCrary needs to run more.

Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly passed for 321 yards while completing 24-of-42 pases for one touchdown. Vandy did a great job slowing him down forcing two interceptions and sacking him twice. Oren Burks picked one pass off early in the game, later Jahmel McIntosh intercepted another Kelly pass, returning it 18 yards. Vandy's front seven put solid pressure on Kelly. Stephen Weatherly, Adam Butler and Zach Cunningham all had sacks. Kelly's longest pass went for just 32 yards.

Ole Miss gained 151 yards on 42 carries (3.6 ypc) and two touchdowns. By contrast, the Rebels averaged 2.8 yards per carry against the Alabama defense but 6.1 yards against the Fresno State D. Both Ole Miss touchdowns scored were short runs. Robert Nkemdiche scored on a 1-yard run in the third quarter. Later, in the fourth quarter, Jaylen Walton scored on a 3-yard run. Cornerback Torren McGaster had a touchdown saving tackle of Ole Miss's Jordan Wilkins that was initially called a touchdown but after review it was determined that McGaster had forced him out of bounds just short of the goal line. Walton led the Rebs with 133 yards rushing on 21 carries.

Tommy Openshaw made 3 of 4 field goals. Openshaw had six punts for a 40.3 yard average. His longest boot traveled 54 yards. Unfortunately, one of Openshaw's punts was blocked due to extended time need to get off a punt. Darrius Sims had a nice 47-yard kickoff return. Kickoff/punt coverage teams were solid the most part. Vandy should have had a fumble recovery in the first half on a punt but officials ruled that Vandy had interfered with the fair catch and kept the ball with the Rebels.

Derek Mason continues to prove that his defensive coaching prowess at Stanford was no fluke. The Commodores have now held the SEC's two top offensive teams to their lowest offensive outputs of the season. Andy Ludwig seems to be making progress with the offense as well. One concern is that after the game a player who was called for a personal foul for pulling players off the pile, said in the post-game presser that he did not know about the new rule.

While it was just another loss, Vandy proved that it is making solid progress towards being a sound football team. Barring injuries, this team should be able to at least improve on last year's record if they continue making strides and cleaning up their game. Top Stories