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No. 12 Ole Miss Welcomes Vanderbilt in for Homecoming

By Adam Brown
Sports Editor

Photo by Carleigh Harbin

No. 12 Ole Miss Rebels return to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Saturday night as they play host to the Vanderbilt Commodores for homecoming. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. and can be seen on the SEC Network.

Ole Miss (6-1, 3-1 SEC) is coming off a 28-21 victory over the Auburn Tigers last weekend on the road. The win over the Tigers put the Rebels for the third straight season at 6-1 to start, the best such streak at Ole Miss since 1957-63.

The Ole Miss defense has held consecutive SEC opponents to less than 300 yards of offense for the first time since 2009.

This season, Ole Miss 3,361 total yards in seven games, in which 2,360 (70.2%) have come from transfers.

Quarterback Jaxson Dart ranks third in the SEC, 10th in the FBS at 312.3 yards of total offense per game.

Vanderbilt comes to Oxford at 2-6 overall and 0-4 in the SEC this season. The Commodores started off 2-0 after wins against Hawai’i (35-28) and Alabama A&M (47-13), but have lost six in a row, including two ranked losses to No. 22 Missouri (38-21) and No. 1 Georgia (37-20).

Vanderbilt has been well disciplined this season, ranking second in the SEC and 27th nationally with an average of just 4.8 penalties for 42.6 yards. The Commodores also are skilled in special teams, currently holding the FBS lead in net punting with an average of 46.0 per punt from SEC leader Matt Hayball.

Offensively, Vanderbilt has been under the leadership of two quarterbacks, with AJ Swann leading most of the passing duties with 1,290 yards and 11 touchdowns before an injury forced backup Ken Seals into the starting role. Vandy has two rushers with at least 200 yards in Patrick Smith (257) and Sedrick Alexander (225), and are led in the passing attack by wideout Will Sheppard and his 574 yards and eight touchdowns. Sheppard’s eight scores ranks third in the SEC and seventh nationally.

Defensively, CJ Taylor has been a one-man wrecking crew, leading with 52 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles.

A win over the Commodores on Saturday would make Lane Kiffin second-fastest to reach 30 wins in Ole Miss history.

Saturday will be the 98th all-time meeting between the two programs. Ole Miss leads the series at 53-40-2 overall. The Rebels have won eight of the last ten contest against Vanderbilt.

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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