Sunday, September 16, 2007

That's More Like It

The Commodores' 31-17 victory over Ole Miss last night was just what the doctor ordered. Chris Nickson was "just healthy enough" according to the Tennessean, going 17 of 25 for 200 yards and picking up another 57 on the ground. Mississippi's Clarion-Ledger was notably impressed by Nickson's toughness.

Earl Bennett picked up his ninth 10+ reception game and his ninth 100+ yard game (11 catches for 100 yards). He now needs just 20 catches and 696 yards to become the SEC's all-time leader in career receptions and receiving yardage. Start the countdown...

What impressed me most, however, on the offensive side of the ball was Cassen Jackson-Garrison and the efficiency of the ground game. Jeff Jennings was out after injuring his ankle last week against Alabama, and CJG stepped up in a big way, rolling for 3 touchdowns and 119 yards on 23 carries.

Another big performance: DJ Moore. His interception late in the game was huge, setting us up to take the 24-10 lead. He's definitely poised to be considered for All-SEC honors. With that said, his blanket coverage wasn't good enough to prevent a 54-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace that narrowed the margin to 24-17 and put the Rebels right back in the game. Ah, the woes of being 5'9" (he's listed at 5'10" but I mean c'mon)...

We hope all of you who watched or looked at the box score will chime in and let us know what you liked and disliked most about the game. My "best and worst" of Ole Miss are as follows:

Best: Without a doubt, my favorite thing about this game was the Commies' defense against the run. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is an All-SEC caliber back, and Ole Miss has one of the top-rated offensive lines in the conference, if not the country. Against Alabama, the 'Dores looked rather inept against the run, but last night they held Ole Miss to a paltry 54 yards on 32 rushing attempts. I don't care who you're playing -- that's an absurd stat. Goff and Buggs were flying all over the field and Curtis Gatewood's sack on 4th and 10 near the end of the fourth quarter authoritatively sealed the victory.

Worst: Special teams. Bryant Hahnfeldt made a 24-yard field goal with 14:51 to go in the fourth quarter -- awesome. He then went on to shank a 23-yard attempt with 3:41 to go in the game. That would have put Vandy up 27-17 and comfortably in position to win with a two-score lead, but instead it allowed Ole Miss a chance to tie. That just can't happen. Mackenzi Adams also botched a perfectly good snap a la Tony Romo near the end of the first half. Those are cushion points that we won't be able to afford going without against most teams on our schedule. With that said, the rest of the special teams wasn't awful. DJ Moore looked great on kickoff returns (4 four 108 yards) and Brett Upson's two punts were outstanding (51 and 42 yards respectively). Kickoff coverage still needs some work, as we allowed 157 return yards on 6 kickoffs.

It was a must-win game and the guys took care of business. As O'Shea said afterward, it's a good time for a week off.

9 comments:

Stanimal said...

I had to re-check CJG's stat-line twice. I couldn't believe it when I saw it. That kind of performance is very encouraging.

As for D.J. Moore, see my report on the Black and Gold game, I told you he'd have a big year.

All in all, great game. We definitely needed it to rebound and get the momentum going again.

I don't know about you guys, but I'm thinking Auburn looks very vulnerable right now...

Jason said...

Who predicted 31-17? I'll try not to hurt myself with self congratulation....

1) As Seamus said, vandy's run defense was stellar, and stuffing BJGE in that fashion makes me think that the run d can hang with anyone in the conference. (or at least when long drives give them some rest)

2) I counted 7 drives inside the UM 35...it could have easily been 28-3 at half...huge gaping holes for CJG.

Fitz said...

Hate to be this guy, but the botched snap was at the end of the 1st half. Hahnfeldt just missed the one with 3:41 left.

I think Goff's performance deserves recognition. He was everywhere last night.

Seamus O'Toole said...

Thanks for the catch, Fitz. Wrote the post in a hurry (trying to give law school the attention it deserves) but it's been corrected per your comment.

Also, I couldn't agree more about Goff. Can't remember the number of times I saw him come from all the way on the other side of a play to drag somebody down and turn a potential 8-yard gain into a 2- or 3-yard gain.

Reshard Langford was impressive too. When he gets fired up after a big play it makes me want to put the pads on and light somebody up...or write a blog post about how cool it would be to do that.

ben said...

great job by VU all the way around (especially the last defensive stand of the game to seal the deal!)...

However, Hahnfeldt if f&*$ing kiling me; that missed feild goal would have iced the game, but instead they stayed in it.

By this point, he looks like he'll never get back to the stellar freshman we remember. I seriously hope he doesn't cost us any games this year...

Douglas James said...

I love that Vandy took this blogs advice and decided to run the ball instead of force the pass. Unless you have a redickulous offense, it is very difficult to use the passing game to open up the run. Much easier to do it the other way around and quite necessary in the SEC. Goff was a complete animal!!!!!

Jason said...

Let's thank the schedule makers. An extra week to get Nickson et al healthy, then an EMU team that they should beat....

...and then AU. We get 2 more games to watch this team. I saw MSU get destroyed on ESPN so you'd have to think that this is not last year's auburn team.

But first things first. I'd like to see a 21-24 pt. win over eastern.

Anonymous said...

And don't forget the rocky flop 39 point loss...their defense reminded me of american idol.

It really sucked.

Anonymous said...

Unlike american idol, when ut sucks - that's a good thing.