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Ole Miss 57, Vanderbilt 35: I can’t think of a better time for a bye week

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Everybody needs a break right now, fans included.

Vanderbilt v Mississippi Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images
FIVE FACTORS Vanderbilt Ole Miss
Plays 74 76
Total Yards 407 503
Yards Per Play 5.5 6.6
Rushing Attempts 30 39
Rushing Yards 232 267
Rushing YPP 7.7 6.8
Passing Attempts 44 37
Passing Yards 175 336
Passing YPP 4.0 9.1
Rushing Success Rate 43.33% 46.15%
Passing Success Rate 40.91% 45.95%
Success Rate 41.89% 46.05%
Avg. Field Position 26.8 40.0
PP40 5.00 5.00
Turnovers 2 0

This game wasn’t disastrous on the level of the Alabama and Georgia games, though considering the competition it might as well have been.

Vanderbilt’s defense wasn’t quite as bad as giving up 55 points would make it seem. No, the defense wasn’t good, but at least some of that was on the offense. A Kyle Shurmur fumble gave Ole Miss the ball on the Vanderbilt 27; an interception gave Ole Miss the ball at the Vanderbilt 30; a safety and subsequent kickoff gave Ole Miss the ball at the 50. All three of those miscues resulted in touchdowns, and there’s 23 points right there in a game that Vanderbilt lost by 22 points.

Still, even when Vanderbilt wasn’t giving Ole Miss the ball in great field position, the Rebels got 34 points on 8 drives. Pair that with 6.6 yards per play and a 46 percent success rate, and there’s no way to put a positive spin on the defense considering the competition.

And just when the running game finally got going, the offensive line could no longer protect Kyle Shurmur. Shurmur was sacked seven times and more pressure led to a 13-for-29 day. The offensive numbers got a bit inflated by garbage time, too: Deuce Wallace isn’t a better player than Shurmur, but he managed a touchdown on his lone drive of the game.

Vanderbilt did get scoring chances on 7 of its 14 drives, which is fine. But then special teams botched things as well, with Tommy Openshaw missing two makeable field goals from 46 and 31 yards.

It’s hard to put a positive spin on this. If you squint, you can see how Vanderbilt might have won this game if not for the turnovers, but considering how the offense, defense, and special teams looked — I’m not sure I’d feel good about this game if we’d won something like 41-34.

In other words, I can’t think of a better time for everybody to take a break from this team.

PASSING Comp Att Comp% Yds TD INT Sacks Yds Lost Net Yds Success Success Rate YPP
Kyle Shurmur 13 29 44.8% 174 2 1 7 54 120 12 33.3% 3.3
Deuce Wallace 5 8 62.5% 55 1 0 0 0 55 4 50.0% 6.9

Kyle Shurmur’s stat line was pretty ugly, but a lot of that was that the offensive line just wasn’t holding up against the Ole Miss pass rush — and that’s a new development. In addition to the seven sacks, I’m counting five hurries in the box score. On basically a third of pass plays with Shurmur in the game, an Ole Miss defender got into the backfield. That’s unacceptable.

I don’t think a quarterback change is coming, but Deuce Wallace does seem to be improving. So at least if Shurmur gets hurt, Wallace is a decent backup.

RUSHING Att Yds YPA TD Success Rate
Ralph Webb 23 158 6.9 2 39.1%
Donaven Tennyson 1 48 48.0 0 100.0%
Khari Blasingame 6 26 4.3 0 50.0%

I can’t decide how I feel about the running game picking this game to show up for the first time all season. Ralph Webb had runs of 21, 38, and 37 yards — which I think are his three longest runs of the year, if I’m not mistaken.

The flipside to that is that Vanderbilt was about as successful running the ball on Ole Miss’ defense as South Alabama was. It’s not a good run defense is what I’m saying.

RECEIVING Targets Catches Yds TD Catch Rate Yds/Target Yds/Catch Success Rate
Trent Sherfield 3 3 65 1 100.0% 21.7 21.7 100.0%
Kalija Lipscomb 8 4 58 1 50.0% 7.3 14.5 37.5%
C.J. Duncan 8 3 38 0 37.5% 4.8 12.7 37.5%
Caleb Scott 4 2 34 0 50.0% 8.5 17.0 50.0%
Ralph Webb 2 2 15 0 100.0% 7.5 7.5 100.0%
Sam Dobbs 2 2 15 0 100.0% 7.5 7.5 100.0%
Jared Pinkney 6 2 4 1 33.3% 0.7 2.0 16.7%

Why, exactly, was Trent Sherfield only targeted three times?

There were four incompletions that didn’t have anybody marked in the box score as having been targeted, which means they probably were throwaways and/or genuinely awful passes that nobody had any hope of catching. Which might explain some of the low catch rates here; I don’t remember a ton of drops by the receivers.

Notes

  • I’ll be completely honest and admit that I got my hair cut and then watched the Astros playoff game, both of which were probably a lot more fun than this. I might have been coaxed into watching this instead had it not been 44-21 by the time I got out of the barber shop.
  • I do note that CDA mentioned on Twitter that starting RT Devin Cochran was helped off the field. This season is already going to shit, do we really want to add injuries to that?
  • According to the box score, walk-on Cody Markel got his first career start at tight end. Of course, the box score also says that Kyle Shurmur was our starting strong safety.
  • We may not have a quarterback controversy but we almost certainly have a kicker controversy. Tommy Openshaw’s now 1-for-5 on field goals this season and also shanked two kickoffs, which led to sophomore walk-on Ryley Guay kicking the extra point and subsequent kickoff after the last touchdown.
  • LaDarius Wiley led the team with 11 tackles. On the season, LaDarius Wiley leads the team with 59 tackles. LaDarius Wiley is a safety. Draw whatever conclusions you want from these facts.
  • Redshirt freshman Cameron Tidd collected his first career sack.

What’s Next

Well, Vanderbilt plays Austin Peay in basketball on November 10?

Being non-snarky, Vanderbilt has a bye week to get its shit together before heading to the house of horrors known as Williams-Brice Stadium (where Vanderbilt is 2-10 since 1992, the same record they have in Neyland Stadium in the same time frame, and one of those wins was 11-10 against an 0-11 team. Woodyball!) South Carolina is coached by Will Muschamp and just scored 15 points in a win at Tennessee, so if the defense can’t stop that team, it is officially time to set things on fire.

As bad as things look right now, the team is still 3-4 and there are still winnable games on the schedule. We think. But those aren’t going to be winnable if the team continues to play like it did on Saturday. Or the three Saturdays before that.