Vanderbilt's Matthews is SEC's No. 1 depsite steady dose of two defenders

Ole Miss certainly did not ignore Jordan Matthews. Quite the contrary, in fact.

Despite the fact that the Rebels double-teamed him throughout last Thursday’s season-opener, however, the Vanderbilt senior wide receiver is easy to find among the Southeastern Conference leaders after the opening weekend of games.

He is at the top. Matthews leads all SEC players with 10 receptions and 178 receiving yards.

“If you’re playing a team that you think has a strength, the one thing you always try to do is take their strength away and make them beat you with what isn’t considered a strength,” coach James Franklin said. “Right now, if you’re playing Vanderbilt … I think we have a lot of guys who can make plays and we’re a pretty balanced attack.

“But I don’t think there’s any argument that you want to try to eliminate Jordan Matthews, if possible.”

Ole Miss tried but for the most part it was not possible.

Among Matthews’ catches was a 42-yard gain on fourth-and-18 late in the fourth quarter. He also had a 55-yard touchdown reception, which was the third-longest pass play for an SEC team.

The 10 receptions matched his career-high (he did it one other time) and the 178 yards topped his previous high of 170 set Nov. 5, 2011 at Florida.

“I like it,” Matthews said of the attention he received from the defense. “I felt a sense of respect, and that’s not something I had when I came into college. So it’s something I worked for.

“… Then I know if I am able to have success against it, it helps me realize, ‘OK, I’m getting better as a player but it also shows that teams are respecting me – not just me but also the passing game that we have. It’s kind of exciting when you think about it.”

A look at the SEC’s individual receiving leaders through Week 1:

RECEPTIONS/GAME         Team  G  Rec  Yds TD Long Avg/C Rec/G
 -------------------------------------------------------------
 1. Jordan Matthews..... VU    1   10  178  1   55  17.8 10.00
 2. Laquon Treadwell.... UM    1    9   82  0   17   9.1  9.00
 3. Jarvis Landry....... LS    1    8  109  1   20  13.6  8.00
 4. Mike Evans.......... AM    1    6   84  2   26  14.0  6.00
    Jonathan Krause..... VU    1    6   66  0   33  11.0  6.00

 RECEIVE YDS/GAME        Team  G  Rec  Yds TD Long Avg/C Yds/G
 -------------------------------------------------------------
 1. Jordan Matthews..... VU    1   10  178  1   55  17.8 178.0
 2. Odell Beckham....... LS    1    5  118  0   44  23.6 118.0
 3. Jarvis Landry....... LS    1    8  109  1   20  13.6 109.0
 4. Ricky Seals-Jones... AM    1    3   84  1   71  28.0  84.0
    Mike Evans.......... AM    1    6   84  2   26  14.0  84.0