Commodore quarterback Chris Nickson left the game in the second quarter after aggravating an existing injury to his right ankle. Nickson completed 11 of 13 pass attempts. Before leaving the game, Nickson orchestrated a 10-play, 84-yard drive capped by an 18-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Sean Walker. It was Walker’s first career touchdown reception. Bryant Hahnfeldt’s successful extra point made the score 14-7. Nickson had no interceptions on the day.
Both quarterbacks were the leading rushers for the Commodores, with Adams running for 51 yards and Nickson for 49. Tailback Cassen Jackson-Garrison ran for 45 yards and Jared Hawkins ran six yards on two carries. Receiver Earl Bennett had a strong performance, catching 10 passes for 179 yards, including a 44-yard reception that ended two yards shy of a touchdown. The ’Dores amassed an impressive 400 yards total offense.
The Commodore defense held its opponent to only 179 total yards and held them to only one 3rd-down conversion on 12 attempts. Reshard Langford picked off his third pass of the season, and the 37-yard return gave the ’Dores back to the Ole Miss 14-yard line. However, the drive would end with a 37-yard failed field-goal attempt. The ’Dores found new life when nickelback Darlron Spead made his second interception of the season with six minutes left to play. Hahnfeldt nailed a 37-yard field goal to bring the ’Dores within 7 points. However, an interception in the final minute of play ended Vanderbilt’s hopes of winning the game. Linebacker Kevin Joyce led the ’Dores with 8 total tackles, followed by strong safety Reshard Langford’s 7 tackles plus one interception. Linebacker Jonathan Goff and defensive end Steven Stone combined for one sack.
The ’Dores (2-4) face the No. 10-ranked Georgia Bulldogs “Between the Hedges” in Athens next week. Kickoff time is expected to be announced Sunday.
Bobby Johnson Comments
“We had to work hard to lose that one, and we did. We just made too many mistakes. We had too many opportunities that we wasted and squandered. We gave them too many short fields and opportunities to score. Other than that, we played extremely good defense, gained a lot of yards, and ended up scoring 10 points.”
“We dominated the game. When I looked at the stats sheet, I couldn’t believe it. Looking at the stats, I would never think we would lose that game. The odds are in your favor when you look at the sheet.”
“We just made too many critical errors at key times. They did a good job of taking advantage with what we gave them. We couldn’t get the ball in the end zone. They played great defense when it counted. They made some big plays and created turnovers.”
Mississippi's Rory Johnson, right, steals the ball away from Vanderbilt quarterback Mackenzi Adams in the fourth quarter. (AP Photo/Bruce Newman)