Ole Miss looks to rebound against winless Vanderbilt
Mississippi and Vanderbilt each will attempt to snap a three-game losing streak when they meet Saturday afternoon in Nashville, Tenn.
Ole Miss (1-4, 1-4 Southeastern Conference) leads the overall series 50-40-2, but the teams have traded victories beginning in 2015, and each has won eight of the past 16 meetings.
However, there was nothing close about their previous meeting. The Rebels rushed for 413 yards and 9.4 yards per carry in walloping the Commodores 31-6 in Oxford, Miss., a season ago.
The Ole Miss offense is under different management this year in coach Lane Kiffin, and the Rebels are averaging 34.8 points and 521 yards per game. They racked up 462 yards in a 35-28 loss to Auburn last week.
“Very disappointing game,” Kiffin said this week, referring to the defeat. “Really slow start, offensively especially. Screwed up a ton of things ourselves, and some freak things happened, too.”
Kiffin was particularly unhappy with starting quarterback Matt Corral, who completed 16 of 27 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. He also had 10 carries for 88 yards and two touchdowns.
“It was a bad film,” Kiffin said of Corral’s performance. “Sometimes you just get bad luck, balls are tipped and things like that. This was just — he played really poorly.
“They did a great job reading his eyes, and he was trying to do no-look passes where he’s holding one guy off. The problem is, he can’t see the other guy while he’s doing that.”
The Rebels’ biggest problem, however, is a defense that allows 44.6 points and 556 yards per game. The test gets much easier this week: Vanderbilt (0-3, 0-3) has scored just 26 points this season and averages 257 yards per game. Neither Vanderbilt’s leading rusher nor leading receiver has a total of 150 yards.
The Commodores are happy just to be preparing for a game.
Vanderbilt has not played since getting routed 41-7 by South Carolina on Oct. 10. A COVID-19 outbreak resulted in the postponement of the Missouri game, which had been set for Oct. 17 and has been rescheduled for Dec. 12.
The Commodores now face seven consecutive games without a bye week.
Coach Derek Mason used the time off to get some reps for inexperienced players, as a number of starters missed practice time due to quarantine or injuries. He is hoping to se a stronger squad as a result.
“Our football team is slowly but surely starting to look the part,” Mason said Tuesday.
Vanderbilt pins its hopes on a defense that forced three turnovers against Texas A&M in the season opener on Sept. 26, a 17-12 road loss. However, the Commodores haven’t been competitive since, falling 41-7 to LSU the next week.
Vanderbilt’s best chance may be getting defensive end Dayo Odeyingbo (2.5 sacks, six hurries) and edge rusher Andre Mintze (one sack, two hurries) to Corral, who has been intercepted nine times this season.
Ole Miss has lost on each of its past two visits to Nashville.
–Field Level Media