REWIND: Ole Miss 23, Vanderbilt 7

Thumbs Up: Good execution on offense for the first half, enabling the Rebels to take control of the game against a pretty good SEC defense. There was more production from the linebackers on defense, particularly Patrick Trahan, who had 10 tackles and a sack, and continued strong play from the defensive line.
Thumbs down: Jevan Snead’s three interceptions kept the Rebels from putting the game away earlier. Those turnovers kept Vanderbilt in the Ole Miss end of the field and kept the Rebels’ defense on the field far too long in the second half.

3 Keys Review
1.Give Snead time
Give the Rebels a B here. There was great improvement from the South Carolina game to the Vanderbilt game, some of which had to do simply with not facing Gamecocks linebacker Eric Norwood.
Left tackle Bradley Sowell was better, but he was also aided by play selection which had Snead throwing some quicker passes and often rolling to his right.
Vanderbilt’s only sack came from Sowell’s man, but it was a play where Snead stepped up in the pocket. Sowell didn’t see this, but the defender did, slid off the block and made the play.

2.Stop the run
Just OK in this department. Vanderbilt, a rushing team, had 171 rushing yards, 74 of which came in the fourth quarter. But that time the Ole Miss defense was wearing down a little bit, having been on the field for quite some time following the interceptions.

3.Protect the football
The interceptions put a damper on what was otherwise a solid effort here. Certainly it wasn’t the six-turnover performance that cost the Rebels a win against Vanderbilt in Oxford in 2008, but the interceptions kept the Rebels from leaving Nashville on a really high note.

MVP
Shay Hodge. Eight receptions, 122 yards, two touchdowns. He doesn’t get the notoriety of Georgia’s A.J. Green or Alabama’s Julio Jones, but the dependable senior showed again that he is one of the top receivers in the SEC.

Bottom line
Pass protection was better, and the offense, with almost 250 yards in the first half, showed what it can do when it is given time and it executes properly. Snead showed that he has a great arm with his 48-yard completion to Hodge, but he also showed that he hasn’t gotten over his habit of forcing things. The Rebels can overcome a minus-2 turnover ratio and beat Vanderbilt. That won’t be the case this week against Alabama.

NEMS Daily Journal