It is one of the most played games in the history of Ole Miss football, believe it or not.
Ole Miss and Vanderbilt first faced each other in 1894 - the same year Coca-Cola was first sold in bottles and a guy named Milton Hershey started up a little chocolate company in Pennsylvania. For the next 19 times these schools met on the gridiron, Vanderbilt was much like its namesake and railroaded its competition in a 19-game win streak over the Rebels until 1938.
In the last 80 some odd years since, things have favored the Rebels with 55 wins, 21 losses and two ties. But the series has been known by Rebel fans as a real pain in the ass, because this game always is too close for comfort even when Ole Miss wins. Just thinking of Eli Manning and the 2003 Rebels in Nashville sets off some tremors in my brain.
So don’t tell us Vegas has the Rebels favored by 25.5 points. Don’t point to a four game win streak with double digit margins of victory since 2019. This is a Vanderbilt team on the brink of officially missing the postseason after a strong finish to last year. With the Commodores sitting at 2-6, I have no doubt head coach Clark Lea has this squad motivated to come out of the tunnel ready to make this game interesting.
But if there’s one thing that has defined the Lane Kiffin era at Ole Miss so far it is that the fourth year coach wins the games his team is supposed to win. Last year in Nashville, the Rebels started slow against Vandy but found itself and won by 24 points. The year before in Oxford the Rebels endured a salty ‘Dores defense and posted a 31-17 win.
This season has been marked with a couple “ugly wins” in the last two outings. There’s injuries still healing in the wide receiver room for Ole Miss, but quarterback Jaxson Dart has answered the call to keep drives alive time and again to will this team toward victory.
If the Vaught is mostly full at 6:30 p.m., I have a feeling the crowd could be a good factor in this game. Vanderbilt’s largest SEC loss came on the road against Florida, so the Rebels in attendance need to bring the noise to give Ole Miss a true home field advantage again.
As far as a prediction, I’m hoping to see lots of touches to Quinshon Judkins and Ulysses Bentley for the Rebels to pound Vandy into submission by the second half. If Ole Miss can score early and get up a couple touchdowns, this one could get ugly but also fun if you’re there.
For this week’s motivation and hype video, this is a running through the wall take from Chucky Mullins award winner KD Hill.
HYDR, Hotty Toddy and cheers!