Morris: VU defense "wreaked havoc"

Vanderbilt got back on the winning track with a little old fashioned football Saturday in their huge win over the Ole Miss Rebels. The domination of the lines on both sides of the ball by Vanderbilt was the key to their 31-17 win. The win evened their SEC record at 1-1 and has them 2-1 overall headed into the open week.

Nothing says more about a team than they way they bounce back from a tough loss. Some of the Vanderbilt teams of the past would have folded up after the performance against Alabama. The performance Saturday night was a testament to the mental toughness of the players on this team and the coaching staff's ability to get the team refocused. If this team can keep the focus they had against Ole Miss for the rest of the season, they accomplish the goal of ending the season in a bowl game.

The win Saturday on West End was not flashy. The Commodores won the game in the trenches on both sides of the ball. The Vanderbilt offensive line pushed around the Ole Miss defensive line all night long. Cassen Jackson-Garrison had a career night rushing for 119 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Vanderbilt offense gained 183 total yards on the ground.

Vanderbilt enjoyed a nice edge in time of possession. They had the ball for 34 minutes and 50 seconds of the 60 minute contest. The Commodores offense ran 75 offensive plays compared to only 54 for Ole Miss. When Bobby Johnson was asked after the game what he would have thought if someone told him those numbers were going to be the case, he replied that he would have stayed at home and watched the game on Pay Per View.

The Vanderbilt defense also enjoyed success in the trenches. The Vanderbilt defensive line pushed the Ole Miss offensive line around all night. They held BenJarvis Green-Ellis, who rushed for 226 yards against Missouri, to 66 yards rushing on 21 carries. The Ole Miss offense only totaled 54 rushing yards.

The Vanderbilt defense also wreaked havoc on the Ole Miss passing attack. They sacked Ole Miss starting quarterback Seth Adams four times and their second string quarterback, Brent Schaeffer, twice. This kept the Ole Miss passing attack out of sync all night long. Adams, who threw for 305 yards against Missouri, threw for just 154 Saturday night.

It was very important for the Commodores to bounce back after the tough loss to Alabama, and they did that Saturday night. Bobby Johnson said after the game that the team realized Ole Miss was a must win for the Commodores to accomplish their goal of getting to a bowl game. They kept that goal alive.

Bobby Johnson also talked about the importance of going into the bye week with a win. He said it would make the players more focused in everything from practice to school. The Commodores can enjoy this win for a week until they have to begin preparations for when Eastern Michigan comes to Nashville on September 29th.


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