Patterson leads Mississippi over Vanderbilt 57-35
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Shea Patterson was flinging the football all over the field, Jordan Wilkins was running in wide open spaces and the points were jumping on the scoreboard with remarkable speed.
After a three-game hiatus, Mississippi’s offense was back.
Patterson threw for 351 yards and four touchdowns, Wilkins ran for 113 yards and Ole Miss dominated Vanderbilt in a 57-35 victory on Saturday.
“It’s good to be back — put up those numbers, have fun and get us a win,” Ole Miss receiver A.J. Brown said.
Ole Miss (3-3, 1-2 Southeastern Conference) snapped its three-game losing streak while Vanderbilt (3-4, 0-4) has now lost four straight.
Vanderbilt led 14-7 in the second quarter after Ralph Webb ran for two touchdowns, but Ole Miss responded with 28 straight points in less than seven minutes. The offensive avalanche was helped by two Vanderbilt turnovers that gave the Rebels excellent field position.
Ole Miss kept the momentum early in the third quarter, earning a safety after forcing Vanderbilt quarterback Kyle Shurmur to fumble into the end zone. Less than a minute later, Patterson hit Brown for a 29-yard touchdown pass and a 44-21 lead that put the game out of reach.
Brown caught eight passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns. DaMarkus Lodge also caught two touchdown passes. The defense had seven sacks, including three by Marquis Haynes and two by DeMarquis Gates.
“Enjoyed watching our offense get its tempo going and balance going,” Ole Miss interim coach Matt Luke said. “Obviously, there are some things we can get cleaned up but I’m really excited for our players and our fans.”
Shurmur threw for 174 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for the Commodores. Webb ran for 163 yards and two touchdowns.
Vanderbilt struggled to protect Shurmur, who was constantly under pressure. The defense gave up 603 total yards.
“We need to mentally find ourselves, find our identity, rebuild our confidence and get fresh,” Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason said. “I’ve seen a lot of football — good stretches and bad stretches — we’ve got to look inside and fix what ails us. We need to get better and we can do that.”
Ole Miss: It’s a much-needed win for the Rebels, who were embarrassed while giving up a combined 110 points in back-to-back losses to Alabama and Auburn. The Ole Miss passing game was very good on Saturday, but the real surprise was a solid running game, led by Wilkins. The defense — led by a huge game from Haynes — made life miserable for Shurmur.
Now the Rebels continue their three-game stretch at home with LSU next weekend and Arkansas on Oct. 28. The win over Vanderbilt gave the team some sorely needed confidence.
“We’re going to keep being ourselves,” Patterson said. “We’re young. New coaching staff. We’ve been through a lot, so we’re just going to keep fighting.”
Vanderbilt: It’s been a prolonged collapse for the Commodores, who had high hopes for their season after beating Kansas State on Sept. 16 to move to 3-0. The defense was porous again in the program’s fourth loss in a row. Vanderbilt has given up 199 points — or nearly 50 per game — during the losing streak.
Vanderbilt gets two weeks to try and fix things before its next game at South Carolina on Oct. 28.
“We’re talented but we’ve got to do some soul checking,” safety LaDarius Wiley said. “This bye week will help. Getting back on the practice field and focusing on what’s ahead is how you come out it.
Ole Miss hosts LSU next Saturday.
Vanderbilt has a week off before travelling to face South Carolina on Oct. 28.