Matt Corral completed 27 of 36 passes for 326 yards and threw two touchdown passes in his final game at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium as the Ole Miss football team knocked off Vanderbilt 31-17 in SEC play. The Rebels finish the 2021 season a perfect 7-0 at home, the first undefeated mark on campus since 1992.
In total, Ole Miss (9-2, 5-2 SEC) had 470 yards of total offense. Jahcour Pearson led the Rebels with 101 yards on four catches, while Dontario Drummond and Jerrion Ealy each had a touchdown catch. Ealy led the Rebels in rushing with 55 yards followed by Snoop Conner’s 52 yards. AJ Finley and Chance Campbell each had eight tackles defensively while the unit allowed just a single touchdown on the night.
The Rebels scored on their first two possessions. Right out of the gate, Corral went 5-for-5 and capped off the opening drive with an eight-yard touchdown pass to Ealy. After forcing a three-and-out defensively, Ole Miss drove down field again, but had to settle for a 28-yard field goal by Caden Costa. With 10:18 left in the opening quarter, the Rebels had a 10-0 lead.
Vanderbilt (2-9, 0-7 SEC) proceeded to engineer their best drive of the quarter. Rocko Griffin carried the Commodores into Ole Miss territory, but the drive would stall nearing the red zone. However, VU did get points out of the drive as Joseph Bulovas connected on a 49-yard field goal and made it a 10-3 ball game late in the opening quarter.
Going into the second quarter, Ole Miss used a balanced 10 play, 80-yard drive to extend its lead. Corral found Drummond in the flat and he found the end zone from 10 yards out. The Rebels had a 17-3 lead with 12:51 left in the second quarter. The Commodores responded with another long drive that eventually made its way to the red zone. Ole Miss kept them out of the end zone again, but another Bulovas field goal cut the lead to 17-6 with 7:22 left in the first half.
Following Ealy’s kickoff return to the Ole Miss 42-yard line, it looked as of the Rebels were going to come away with more points. However, their 4th-and-5 gamble inside the Commodore red zone came up a yard short. The Rebels forced a three-and-out and broke through on their next drive. Drummond returned Harrison Smith’s punt to the Vanderbilt 18-yard line and three plays later, Ealy scored a rushing touchdown from four yards out. Ole Miss had a 24-6 lead with 2:15 left in the first half.
The Commodores made one final push before going into the locker room and it ended with a third field goal by Bulovas, this one from 41-yards out, to cut the Rebel lead to 24-9. Ole Miss had 295 yards of total offense.
After a quiet third quarter from both sides, Ole Miss tacked on another touchdown early in the fourth. A few plays after a 26-yard reception by Drummond, Henry Parrish Jr. scored from eight yards out and made it a 31-9 Ole Miss lead with 12:50 left to play.
The Commodores finally found the end zone with 7:47 to play. Wright led Vanderbilt down field, converting twice on third down before Griffin scored on the goal line. Following a successful two-point conversion, the Rebel lead was trimmed to 14 points. The Commodores came away with a red zone interception almost three minutes later, but couldn’t capitalize after turning the ball over on downs with 3:17 left to play. Deantre Prince denied a final Vanderbilt attempt to score with a toe-tap interception to seal an Ole Miss victory.
The Rebels are back in action on Thanksgiving, November 25, when they travel to Starkville for the Egg Bowl matchup against Mississippi State.
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