Ole Miss opened the month of October with a 31-6 victory over the Vanderbilt Commodores for homecoming as the Rebels run game lit up the turf Saturday night in the Vaught.
Ole Miss (3-3, 2-1 SEC) found success early in the game. The running game gained the Rebels 413 yards on the ground and 512 yards of total offense against Vanderbilt.
“It was a true home field advantage tonight. The students showed up early and the crowd had big hand in that (win) with the atmosphere,” head coach Matt Luke said.
The Rebels were able to hit the holes and gain yardage all night when their number was called. Offensive Coordinator Rich Rodriguez used all three running backs -senior Scottie Phillips (11-62), Jerrion Ealy (4-97) and Snoop Conner (5-91) – at key moments. All three found the end zone to secure the win.
Freshman quarterback John Rhys Plumlee showcased his speed to the Commodore defenders. The Hattiesburg, native carried the ball 22 times for 165-yards with a touchdown.
Ole Miss held Matt Corral out in this game because he was not 100 percent healthy to run the football, Luke said.
The Rebels’ offense kept Vanderbilt on their toes with a mixture of the run and air-raid attack as Plumlee connected with six different receivers for 10 receptions on 18 attempts for a total of 99 yards. Sophomore wide receiver Elijah Moore recorded four catches for 40 yards.
For the second straight game, Ole Miss had at least three freshman reach pay dirt. Both freshmen Ealy (78) and Conner (84) both broke a big scamper for a score.
“Those two big runs, that really was the difference in the game,” Luke said.
Ole Miss’ defense for the fourth game of the season was able to hold its opponent to less than 100 rushing yards. The Commodores gained 62 yards on the ground.
“The D-Line played really well tonight. They were getting pressure without blitzing,” Luke said. “They got a shut out in the second half keeping them out of the end zone.”
The Landshark defense was led in tackles by junior inside linebacker Lakia Henry who tallied a total of 15 tackles and one sack.
“(Lakia) is starting to become more and more of a leader and grow into that role,” Luke said. “He made some big plays for us tonight.”
Ole Miss returns to action next Saturday as they travel to Columbia, Missouri to take on the Missouri Tigers at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.