Nashville, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - The 15th-ranked Ole Miss Rebels and the Vanderbilt Commodores will kick off their SEC schedules on Saturday afternoon at LP Field in Nashville.
On a neutral field in its opener on Aug. 28, Ole Miss got its campaign off to a strong start by defeating Boise State in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta, 35-13. Ahead by just one heading into the fourth quarter, 7-6, the Rebels exploded for four touchdowns in the final 15 minutes to pull away, making up for an otherwise sluggish opener.
"We've got a lot to get cleaned up, but at the end of the day, we beat a good football team, and we're excited to be 1-0," Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said."
Meanwhile, the Derek Mason era of Vanderbilt football could not have gotten off to a worse start. At home against a Temple squad that won just two games a season ago, the Commodores were embarrassed, falling by a 37-7 final.
"It was a rough night at the office," Mason said following his head coaching debut. "You count up all the little things -- the turnovers, the penalties -- and sometimes it becomes a recipe for disaster."
Ole Miss holds a 48-38-2 lead in the all-time series with Vanderbilt, including a 39-35 triumph in the 2013 season opener.
The late charge by the Ole Miss offense in its opener was spearheaded by the efforts of senior and third-year starting quarterback Bo Wallace, who completed 25-of-36 passes for 387 yards and four touchdowns. For all the positives Wallace showed late in the game, he also proved vulnerable on the evening with three interceptions.
"Two of the three interceptions were a bit unbelievable to us because they weren't even in his progression on the route, and (Wallace) will be the first to tell you that," Freeze said. "He was a little out of sync, but I thought he really played well in the second half for sure."
Laquon Treadwell caught seven passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. Cody Core (four receptions, 110 yards) scored twice, including a 76-yarder midway through the fourth quarter.
The Rebels' rushing attack couldn't get much going, picking up only 71 yards on 34 attempts (2.1 ypc). Mark Dodson (four carries, 27 yards) put an exclamation point on the victory with a 19-yard touchdown late in the fourth.
While the Rebels' offense struggled through the first three quarters, the defense kept them in the game. The unit finished allowing just 399 yards while picking off Boise State quarterback Grant Hedrick four times.
Mike Hilton (nine tackles), Senquez Golson (eight tackles, INT) and Keith Lewis (eight tackles, INT) shined for the defense. The unit also collected three sacks and forced a fumble.
Vanderbilt's offense was completely lost in its opener. Not only did it score just seven points on 278 total yards, but it committed a whopping seven turnovers (three INTs, four fumbles).
Patton Robinette earned the start under center, but he was pulled after going 4-of-6 for 38 yards while being sacked three times.
"We felt we needed to switch," Mason said. "We needed a different type of rhythm. We needed to jump start the offense a bit...This isn't about one guy."
Unfortunately, Mason's move backfired when both Johnny McCrary (0-of-3, two INTs) and Stephen Rivers (12-of-25, 186 yards, INT) struggled.
One of the few bright spots in the loss came in the backfield, where Ralph Webb turned 14 carries into 70 yards.
Considering the offense put the defense in terrible field position all night, the unit performed admirably, allowing only 351 yards while holding Temple to 2-of-17 on third down. The team's only points came via a defensive touchdown when Oren Burks recovered a fumble in the end zone early in the second quarter.
Stephen Weatherly recorded eight tackles, while Burks and Vince Taylor added six tackles apiece.