The Vanderbilt Commodores (2-8) face a mighty task in seeking their first SEC win of the season against an Ole Miss Rebels (8-2) team that seems to be getting better and better. Here are the three keys to a Vandy win.
By Steve Wright
1 – Run at the Rebels
The Ole Miss defense was on it last week as they stopped the Texas A&M running game in a huge win over the Aggies. That, however, was something of a surprise given the likes of Liberty and Auburn have both rushed for over 200 yards against the Rebels. They two were part of a run where in six games, five teams when over that mark. The Vandy running game has been weird all season, but in games where it works – like against Mizzou – it has given the ‘Dores a chance to win. That has to happen here.
2 – Control the clock
This has been a massive issue. The passing game can’t get going – the Commodores haven’t hit 200 yards through the air in four of five – and as a result, the defense is getting torched. They are simply on the field too much – it doesn’t help that third downs have been brutal – and every FBS team has gone for at least 400 yards of offense. If the offense can help out the defense and finally convert some key third downs then the ‘Dores might be able to keep Ole Miss and Matt Corral under 500 yards.
3 – Lay the trap
One thing working in Vandy’s favor here is where the game sits on the schedule. The Ole Miss win over A&M was both huge and highly emotional. Next week the Rebels face arch-enemy Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl. Players will be coming down from that winning high AND looking ahead. Vandy seems like nothing more than a bump in the road, but if the ‘Dores can get an early lead and apply some scoreboard pressure they will make things interesting.