The Ole Miss Rebels snapped a three-game losing streak on Saturday with a 57-35 win over the Vanderbilt Commodores, behind a big day from Shea Patterson. Patterson threw for 351 yards on 22-of-35 passing for four touchdowns and no interceptions.
Two of Patterson’s touchdown throws went to star WR A.J. Brown, who had 8 catches for 174 yards on the day. DaMarkus Lodge caught 5 passes for 74 yards and two touchdowns.
Vanderbilt actually led this game briefly in the second quarter, 14-7, but Ole Miss then scored 28 straight points to give themselves a 35-14 lead. Kyle Shurmur connected with Kalija Lipscomb on a 13-yard touchdown pass to pull within 35-21 at halftime.
But after receiving the opening kickoff in the second half, a Shurmur fumble led to a safety to give the Rebels a 37-21 lead. Three plays later, Patterson found Brown to make it 44-21 and the Rebels cruised from there.
Here are three things we learned.
At least Ole Miss has a good passing game
The Rebels can’t really run the ball all that well, and their defense isn’t great, but this is one of the SEC’s most potent passing attacks. Shea Patterson is a good quarterback, and he has a couple of really good receivers to throw to in Brown and Lodge. At the very least, Ole Miss could win some shootouts.
Matt Luke probably isn’t going to get the full-time coaching job, but at the very least he hasn’t messed with a good thing.
Vanderbilt is going to have to win shootouts, and they aren’t equipped to do that
Oh, sure, Vanderbilt’s passing game is decent. Kyle Shurmur has a good arm and they have some good receivers. Shurmur actually threw for 174 yards himself.
The problem is that this passing game isn’t potent enough to win games by itself, and while the running game did better than it has all season, the hope going into the season was for this unit to provide just enough for Vanderbilt’s defense to win games for them — not for Vanderbilt to beat a team that’s scoring 57 points. This defense has issues, and those issues can no longer be chalked up to just playing great teams. When Ole Miss is scoring 55 points on the defense, Vanderbilt is going to lose. A lot.
Prediction: Ole Miss will get someone fired
Matt Luke may not get the job permanently, but there’s a good chance his team will cost someone else their job. The three remaining home games in the SEC: LSU, Arkansas, and Texas A&M. I’m just going to go out on a limb and predict that Ole Miss will beat one of those three, and that team will fire its coach in response.