I'll admit up front that I've seen very little of this game. The first half conflicted with Tennessee-Florida, the game I was recapping on Saturday, and I ran out of gas trying to stay up much past the end of that one (I'm six hours ahead of Eastern, so 'Dores-Rebels came out of halftime around 3 a.m. for me). Plus, the place I go to find full game replays hasn't put this one up, if it will at all. Much of what I know about the game I gleaned from Red Cup Rebellion's two stories and Anchor of Gold's recap. So forgive me for not providing much description between the tables.
In any event, this is based on the Five Factors of winning. I left out the Rebels' two clock-killing drives at the end of each half, and sacks count as pass plays.
|Team||Runs 10+||Pct.||Passes 20+||Pct.||Explosive Pct.|
It was a boom-or-bust kind of day for Ole Miss's offense. It had plenty of booms, as these explosive percentage rates are fairly high. They're especially high for facing a defense as good as Vanderbilt's is. As for Vandy, it had to labor for all the yards it got. Ralph Webb hit on a 43-yard run in the third quarter, but no other Commodore play went longer than 17 yards. Only six of 83 VU offensive plays even hit double digits in yards.
|Team||Run SR||Pass SR||Overall SR||Red Zone SR|
The Rebels were better at passing than running, but what else is new? Vandy's run game was a disaster, which I expect has a lot to do with Ole Miss's fantastic front seven. But look at that passing success rate for the 'Dores. They stayed on schedule, to use the coaching cliché, quite well with throwing.
|Team||1Q SR||2Q SR||3Q SR||4Q SR|
Ole Miss started and finished strong in this respect. Someone else will have to tell me if this is on track, but it appears Vandy made some halftime adjustments that Ole Miss caught on to by the fourth quarter.
Efficiency by Player
The main measure here is success rate.
|Player||Comp. Pct.||Pass Eff.||Yards/Att||Sacks||Pass SR|
Two very different days for two very different quarterbacks resulted in fairly similar success rates.
No one outside the Vandy fan base has heard of Sherfield because people are only looking at the Commodore defense if they're looking at VU at all. He's quietly having an outstanding season.
How many SEC quarterbacks would love to trade what they have to throw to for these guys? It's well over half.
Take out Webb's 43-yard run and his YPC drops to just under two at 1.95. It was not a good day on the ground for the 'Dores.
You can reasonably call this an impressive day for Walton. The mix of carries between him and Wilkins makes total sense when put this way.
|Team||Avg. Starting Position||Plays in Opp. Territory||Pct. Of Total|
|Ole Miss||Own 27||32||43.2%|
Vandy had a pair of drives start inside Rebel territory, so that helps to explain the relatively high percentage of plays there.
A trip inside the 40 means a drive with a first down at the 40 or closer, or a long touchdown from more than 40 yards. A red zone trip means a first down at the 20 or closer.
|Team||Drives||Trips Inside 40||Points||Red Zone Trips||Points|
Sorry, Vandy, but you're not going to beat Ole Miss by kicking field goals.
Chad Kelly's two interceptions were it on the day.
I know a lot of people saw this as a possible letdown spot for Ole Miss. I definitely did. You could even argue it as a letdown-look ahead sandwich, to use the Solid Verbal guys' phrase, given that next up for the Rebels is a road trip to Florida. The Gators may not be at their historical peak of prowess right now, but they're far more of a brand name program than Vandy is.
I'm sure that plays into it some, but it also sells Vanderbilt's defense short. Its earlier opponents WKU and Georgia have put up significantly better figures against competition other than VU, and the same goes for Ole Miss. And while Bama held the Rebels to a noticeably lower passing success rate than VU did (believe it or not), Ole Miss ran for a similar success rate agains the 'Dores as it did against the Tide. Derek Mason's defense is legit.
Unfortunately, Andy Ludwig's offense isn't so legit. I may have missed this game, but I've reviewed the tape of Vandy's game against Georgia. While I was thoroughly impressed by the Commodore defense in that one, I was equally as unimpressed by its offense. VU is running the Will Muschamp experiment all over again, trying to win with excellent defense and a mostly milquetoast, run-of-the-mill offense.
It's not working. Vandy doesn't have the talent to make that work. Running a fully conventional offense at Vanderbilt talent levels—which yes, are higher now than a decade ago, but they're still not anywhere close to the top of the conference—isn't going to deliver many wins. Muschamp couldn't make it work with Florida talent levels. Only Les Miles has really gotten that strategy to work (Nick Saban's offenses have been more adventurous than Miles's since 2008), and even his mileage from it varies greatly from year-to-year.
So maybe Ole Miss didn't give this game as much mind as it could have. Vanderbilt's defense is pretty great, though, and don't lose that in the narrative about whether the Rebels cared. It's just too bad that defense is being wasted with that offense.