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Ole Miss Heads into the Music City for Final Road Test

By Adam Brown
Sports Editor

Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke taking the field. Photo by Randall Haley

The Ole Miss Rebels face their last road test of the season tonight as they take on Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee. Kickoff is slated for 6:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.

Ole Miss (5,5 1-5) looks to rebound after dropping a 38-24 heartbreaker to Texas A&M in College Station and pick up their sixth win of the season against the Commodores.

In this game, the Rebels look to improve on opportunities to pick up a win by converting in the red zone and not missing field goals, according to head coach Matt Luke.

The Rebels senior quarterback Jordan Ta’amu has passed for more than 3,300 yards this season. He ranks eighth in program history with 5,056 career passing yards.

During the first half of the game, Ta’amu will be without junior tight end Dawson Knox who is ejected from the second half on a targeting call.

“(Knox will) be ready to go in the second half. Octavious Cooley will have to step up, Jason Pellerin will expand his role a little bit at tight end,” Luke said. “He’ll have to be ready to go in some short-yardage situations at quarterback as well.”

Vanderbilt is 4-6 overall and 1-5 in conference play entering this week’s game with Ole Miss, including dropping four of its last five contests. The Commodores are averaging more than 392 yards of total offense per game, with 232 coming through the air and 160 yards per game on the ground. Senior signal-caller Kyle Shurmur ranks fifth in the SEC with 2,286 passing yards on the season. Mond is completing 61.0 percent of his passes on the season, with 17 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Mond’s top target has been Kalija Lipscomb. The junior wide receiver ranks third in the SEC with 731 receiving yards and seven TDs. Tight end Jared Pinkney is also a dangerous target for Vandy, tallying 35 catches for 573 yards and six touchdowns this season. Junior Ke’Shawn Vaughn leads the Vandy rushing attack, averaging 94.3 yards rushing per game, the third-best average in the SEC.

“Their running back is a very good player, senior quarterback, they can get their tight ends involved in it because they’re so good in the run game,” he said.

Defensively, the Commodores are allowing over 421 yards and 25.9 points per game. Vandy gives up over 200 yards rushing per game. Junior linebacker Jordan Griffin ranks second in the SEC with 9.8 tackles per game. JoeJuan Williams leads a ball-hawking secondary for Vanderbilt. The junior from Nashville, Tennessee, is fourth in the SEC with three interceptions. The Commodores ranks third in the conference with a turnover differential of plus-six.

Ole Miss and Vanderbilt will meet on the gridiron for the 93rd time in the series all-time. It is the third-most played series of all-time between Ole Miss and its 2018 opponents (Mississippi State, LSU). The Rebels lead the series 51-39-2 overall. The Rebels have also won four of the last five with Vandy.

Fans not making the trip to Music City can watch all the action of the game on SEC Network or listen on the Ole Miss Radio Network.

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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