NASHVILLE — Jeff Scott was the smallest player on the field Thursday night at Vanderbilt Stadium.
He was also the fastest.
The 5-foot-7, 162-pound tailback took a run around left end and cut across the field for a 75-yard scoring scamper that propelled Ole Miss to a riveting 39-35 win over Vanderbilt before a sellout crowd of 40,350. Scott rushed for 138 yards on 12 carries as the Rebels racked up 489 yards overall.
Scott’s score countered a 34-yard touchdown pass from Austyn Carta-Samuels to tight end Steven Scheu with 1:30 remaining that put the Commodores up 35-32. The score followed a 42-yard completion from Carta-Samuels to Jordan Matthews on fourth-and-18.
Matthews finished with 178 yards on 10 receptions for the Commodores, who saw their seven-game winning streak dating back to last season come to an end.
Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace, who had a separated shoulder repaired in January and sat out spring practice, accounted for 331 total yards and scored two touchdowns. The 6-4, 209-pound Wallace completed 31 of 47 passes for 283 yards and rushed 18 times for 48 yards.
The Rebels, who wore blue pants for the first time, spoiled Vanderbilt’s first opening sellout since Notre Dame’s visit in 1996.
Vanderbilt had 11-point leads on two separate occasions, the latter of which occurred after Wesley Tate’s 3-yard touchdown with 4:51 left in the third quarter made it 28-17. In the final minute of the third, Wallace had a 3-yard touchdown run before throwing to Laquon Treadwell for the two-point conversion to pull the Rebels within 28-25.
A 1-yard Wallace score with 9:05 left in the game put Ole Miss up 32-28.
The Commodores had a horrific first two possessions, with their opening drive ending with a Carta-Samuels interception at the Vanderbilt 31-yard line and their second drive ending with a 16-yard Taylor Hudson punt that sailed into the crowd and was ruled out at the Vandy 42. Ole Miss capitalized on the early interception by Terry Conner with Andrew Ritter’s 30-yard field goal, and the Rebels marched 42 yards after the short punt and went up 10-0 on a 1-yard keeper by backup quarterback Barry Brunetti.
On the opening play of the second quarter, Carta-Samuels found Jordan Matthews for a 28-yard completion to the Ole Miss 28-yard line. The two connected again for 11, and Vanderbilt pulled within 10-7 on a 3-yard run by Tate.
After the Commodores held Ole Miss to a three-and-out, Carta-Samuels and Matthews connected on a 55-yard touchdown to give the Commodores their first lead at 14-10.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...