Corral (31/34, 412 yards, 6 TD) went first, completing 19 straight passes to open the game, spurring Ole Miss to a 21-0 after 1 and a 33-14 halftime advantage. That mark was one better than the previous record set by Eli Manning. Moore got a majority of his work done in the first half as well, snagging 12 balls for 223 yards in the first half, before finishing with 14 catches for 238 yards and 3 touchdowns, breaking the single game yardage record held by current Tennessee Titans star A.J. Brown.
The big numbers allowed by the Vanderbilt defense go a long way towards overshadowing the one big positive that Dores fan can take from this game, the play of true freshman QB Ken Seals. Seals (31/40, 312 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT) had his best game yet, only throwing the one pick even though he was playing from behind for all 60 minutes.
The Rebels made sure Seals would have to throw, and throw a lot, by jumping out to a big lead and never letting go, scoring 3 touchdowns on their first 3 drives before Vanderbilt could get on the board. Their first couple of drives went 71 and 93 yards, respectively, and finished with a TD run from Snoop Conner ( 5 rush, 21 yards, 1 TD) and a Corral pass to Kenny Yeboah (3 rec, 32 yards, 2 TDs) before the Ole Miss D gave them a short field for the 3rd possession. That time it only took only play for Corral to find Moore for the first of the star receivers trio of scores.
The 2nd quarter was a little more even, as two Corral touchdowns to Moore were countered by Seals finding Ben Bresnahan and Chris Pierce Jr. for scores as the Vanderbilt offense was able to find traction against one of the leagues iffiest defenses.
The 33-14 score was the closest it would get the rest of the way though, as Ole Miss forced a 3-and-out to open the 2nd half, before executing a TD-force fumble on kickoff-TD sequence that pushed the score to 48-14 in the blink of an eye before both teams just played out the string to give us the 54-21 final score.
In the game preview for this matchup, I figured that while Vanderbilt would be able to have the best offensive performance of the year, they wouldn’t have the athletes to keep up with such an explosive offense and that is pretty much what happened. Commodores fans should be encouraged by the play of Ken Seals, as it’s clear to me that he has the ability to be a legitimate starter in this conference. This was a team that was dependent on it’s defense to win games though, and the fact they performed this poorly isn’t going to reflect well on Derek Mason as he tries to save his job. It was exactly what Lane Kiffin needed, however, to calm of the nerves of some of the fanbase after some frustrating losses recently.
Ole Miss has a week off before they clash with South Carolina as they attempt to claw back to .500 while Vanderbilt will have refocus quickly as their matchup with a freefalling Mississippi State team next weekend may be their best chance at a win this season.