If one thing is clear about the Vanderbilt-Ole Miss series in its current incarnation with coaches James Franklin and Hugh Freeze, it’s that no lead is safe.
The Commodores’ 39-35 loss at home Thursday proved that even more definitively than their 27-26 victory last season, which included a rally from a 17-point, third-quarter deficit.
“You know, [it was] probably a great college football game to watch,” quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels said Thursday night. “A tough one to be on this end, that’s for sure.”
Vanderbilt went up by three with 90 seconds to play on a 34-yard touchdown reception by tight end Steven Scheu. On the preceding play the Commodores converted a fourth-and-18 with a 42-yard pass completion.
Ole Miss went ahead again 31 seconds later when running back Jeff Scott raced around left end and down the field for a 75-yard touchdown.
“We should have made a play,” defensive end Walker May said. “That one will haunt me because I could have done more.”
Said Franklin: “It was a good call by them. We got in a situation (where) we called a defense to stop the pass. They did a good job of blocking the guy that's responsible for the running back and [Scott] is fast. He's a good player. They got him the ball in space. They blocked us in space and scored.”
Along the way there were four lead changes, and each side had at least one double-digit advantage.
A look at the dramatic swings on the scoreboard:
• Ole Miss 10, Vanderbilt 0 (6:04 to play in the first quarter): The Rebels converted an interception and a shanked punt on consecutive possessions to take the early advantage.
• Vanderbilt 21, Ole Miss 10 (3:27 to play in the second quarter): The Commodores score on three straight possessions, two lengthy drives capped by three-yard touchdown runs on either side of a one-play, 55-yard strike.
• Ole Miss 32, Vanderbilt 28 (9:05 to play in the fourth quarter): Quarterback Bo Wallace scores two rushing touchdowns and throws a pass for a two-point conversion all within a span of 5:22.
• Vanderbilt 35, Ole Miss 32 (1:30 to play in the fourth quarter): The fourth-down conversion and the long touchdown pass set the Commodores up for what looks like a miracle finish.
• Ole Miss 39, Vanderbilt 32: On the second play after Vanderbilt’s touchdown. The unthinkable happened and Ole Miss pulls off the unforgettable comeback.
“The game is never won, just like it was never won last year when we were down at their place and came back and won,” Franklin said. “They did the same thing to us. We got a taste of our own medicine.”