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Three Keys Revisited: Vanderbilt at Ole Miss
1) Make Bo Wallace beat you with his arm
The Commodores did a great job of containing Wallace on the ground (he had just four measured carries) but in truth they almost did too much. Wallace was a monster on the day through the air as he put in a 31-if-49 for 403 yards performance. The VU defense, however, did an outstanding job of limiting the amount of big plays that the aerial assault provided, as Wallace was only able to throw for one touchdown despite his gaudy numbers. Even more than that the defense proved a tough nut to crack on the back end of drives as the Rebels had to constantly settle for field goals instead of touchdowns.
2) Stop the Ole Miss red zone attack
Bend but don't break was the nature of the day for the Vandy defense. Knowing coming in that the Ole Miss red zone offense was one of the best in the nation, the Commodores did an outstanding job of limiting the points given up when the Rebels got inside the twenty. This was most evident in the second quarter when Ole Miss marched repeatedly on their way to the end zone only to be halted at the last and settling for three short field goals. If even two of those field goals are touchdowns then the game is blown open by half time and Vandy is not bowl eligible today.
3) Win the war of attrition
It is the curse of the writer that as soon as Vanderbilt's relative good health was mentioned the best running back in school history would go down on the second play of the game. For Vandy to be able to recover from Zac Stacy going down and come back to win says everything about the belief that the players and coaching staff have in where the program is heading. Yes, Stacy is an outstanding rusher, but he is also one of the best pass protectors in the nation and does just about everything right. The Commodores were able to substitute in a bunch of rushers who at least gave the team a ground presence and allowed Jordan Matthews to have a stunning receiving day.
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