Vanderbilt has won SEC games before, but you might have to go back to the pre-war era to find a conference result as dominant as Saturday's win over Ole Miss.
The Commodores trounced the Rebels, 30-7, to keep James Franklin undefeated as head coach and moved halfway to bowl eligibility with their third win of the season. Zac Stacy's career day guided the offense. The junior ran for 169 yards on only 11 carries to constitute nearly half of the team's total offense. His 77-yard touchdown put the team up 30-0 late in the third quarter and sealed the win for the home team. Jerron Seymour was also effective on the ground, gaining 60 yards despite often being stuck in bad blocking situations.
Vanderbilt's defense was dominant all game, keeping Ole Miss scoreless for nearly 58 minutes. Strong play from the defensive line forced bad throws all day, and the 'Dores' stout defense cleaned up from there, recording five picks to ruin the Rebel offense. Tim Fugger and Walker May were disruptive all day, penetrating into the backfield and making Zach Stoudt's job a nightmare. The secondary's crisp coverage ensured that mistakes were capitalized, as Vandy defenders seemingly got a hand on every floated pass Ole Miss put up there.
Trey Wilson had two interceptions for the 'Dores, the first of which he returned 52 yards for a touchdown. Sean Richardson, Javon Marshall, and Eddie Foster also added picks in the win. The team now has 10 interceptions in just three games this season.
The team didn't play mistake-free football, however. The first quarter of the game was a painful one to watch as neither time could get anything going offensively. Vanderbilt finished the game with three turnovers, including a Stacy interception on a gimmick pass-back to Smith in the third quarter. Fortunately, the team's defense was strong enough to overcome these setbacks until waning moments of the game.
The win was Vandy's biggest SEC win since a 49-19 win over Mississippi State back in 1971. Had the 'Dores held on to blank the Rebels, it would have been the team's first SEC shutout since a 6-0 victory against Kentucky in 1968. To say that this was a big win for James Franklin and his staff would be an understatement. This performance will resonate not only through the season but onto the recruiting trail and into the future as well.