The Ole Miss Rebels take on the Vanderbilt Commodores at LP Stadium in Nashville, TN. A Nashville rematch of what was an early season instant classic last year. Ole Miss pulled out a 39-35 slug fest over the James Franklin and the Austyn Carta-Samuels led squad.
This year, Vanderbilt has seen Franklin move on to Penn State, Stanford’s offensive coordinator Derek Mason has taken over, but it will be a while before he can get the run-first athletes he had at Stanford.
So far Coach Mason hasn’t had much luck with the quarterback position. The Commodores suffered an ego-bruising loss to Temple 37-7 at home in week one.
Anchor “down” indeed.
Sophomore Patton Robinette started the game but was pulled quickly in favor of LSU transfer Stephen Rivers who played most of the game but was unable to dig out of the hole this team dug for themselves. Rivers finished with 186 yards, 12/25 passing with an interception and no touchdowns. He also gave up a back breaking fumble that was returned 55 yards for a touchdown that Vanderbilt was unable to recover from.
Coach Mason also put in redshirt freshman Johnny McCrary to try to jump start the offense. He completed zero passes and threw two interceptions.
Vanderbilt’s new offense did not produce any points. At all. Vandy’s 7 points came on a muffed punt.
Red shirt freshman running back Ralph Webb came on strong with 70 yards as Junior Jerron Seymour was held out due to injury.
Receiver CJ Duncan had 2 catches for 58 yards for the bright spot on offense.
If you haven’t picked up on this yet, Vanderbilt is a completely different team from Franklin’s teams and it looks like he got out of town just in time to escape the collapse.
This team looks really confused and especially on the offensive line which is not expected. They have a lot of experience but Mason is asking these guys to run first where they were certainly a pass first team in the past.
On the defensive side of the ball, it appears there is life at linebacker. Sophomore Stephen Weatherly stepped up with 8 total tackles and red shirt freshman Nigel Bowden had five. The linebacking core at Vandy is young but pretty solid from top to bottom.
A question mark still exists in the secondary. Four seniors are gone from last years squad and the group left has some experience but did not really standout against Temple.
I’m really trying to find something positive about the Temple loss but I just don’t see it.
Ole Miss may catch a break this week as the Derek Mason transition is taking a little longer than Vanderbilt fans had hoped.
Transitioning from a pass-happy offense to a run first offense is a particularly difficult transition. We saw Chizik’s difficulties at Auburn, Muschamp at Florida, Belimia at Arkansas and now Mason will attempt to fight fire with fire in the toughest league in college football.
Unless the Commodores can flush the Temple nightmares and start over at LP field it could be a statement night for #15 ranked Ole Miss.
Tags: Olemiss Football