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Lane Kiffin Says Vanderbilt Will Be a ‘Challenging Opponent’

By Adam Brown
Sports Editor

Ole Miss returns to the gridiron on Saturday as they take on the Vanderbilt Commodores in Nashville. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. on the SEC Network.

Ole Miss (1-4, 1-4 SEC) looks to rebound from a 35-28 heartbreaker last week vs. the Auburn Tigers on homecoming weekend.

Through the first five games of the season, the Rebels rank top three in the SEC in seven separate categories: total offense (521.0), rushing offense (220.4), team passing efficiency (162.33), fourth down conversion percentage on defense (.333), fumbles lost (1), kickoff return defense (15.92), passing yards per completion (14.05).

Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral has passed for 12 touchdowns on the season which ranks him ninth nationally in passing touchdowns. His 338.4 yards per game of total offense ranks No. 12 in the NCAA.

Sophomore running back Jerrion Ealy has dashed into the end zone six times and ranks No. 16 in the nation.

Vanderbilt (0-3, 0-3 SEC) is coming into this game off of a bye. The Commodores haven’t played a game since Oct. 10 due to their Oct. 17 game at Missouri being postponed until the end of the year. Vandy is averaging 256.7 yards of total offense per game, with 145 coming through the air and 111 yards per game on the ground. 

“Vanderbilt is a challenging opponent,” Head Coach Lane Kiffin said. “They haven’t played in three weeks and not as much film is on them so those guys are dangerous. They played A&M extremely well.”

True freshman Ken Seals has started all three games at quarterback for the Commodores. He is only the third true freshman SEC QB to start a season opener since 1972. Seals is completing 61.5% of his passes for 411 yards and three touchdowns. Ja’Veon Marlow and Jamauri Wakefield both share carries in the Vanderbilt backfield. Wakefield has tallied 37 rushing attempts on the season, while Marlow has registered 33 carries. The Commodores are the only school in the SEC to not have recorded a rushing TD this season. Tight end Ben Bresnahan leads Vandy in catches with 11 for 97 yards and one TD. Wideouts Cam Johnson and Amir Abdur-Rahman also both have hauled in a touchdown reception. 

Defensively, the Commodores are allowing over 450 yards and 33.0 points per game. Vandy gives up over 211 yards on the ground while holding its opponent to 240 yards through the air. Junior linebacker Anfernee Orji leads the Commodores with 6.3 tackles per game. Vanderbilt leads the SEC and ranks No. 8 nationally with the fewest penalties per game (3.3).

This game will be the 95th all-time meeting between the Rebels and the Commodores. Vandy is the third-most played series for Ole Miss on this season’s slate (along with Mississippi State and LSU). Ole Miss leads the series 50-40-2 overall. The original record vs. the Commodores is 52-40-2, with wins in 2013 and 2014 by Ole Miss vacated due to an NCAA ruling. 

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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