By Russell Lorentz, Vandy Insider
Derek Mason and his Vanderbilt Commodores have dropped their fourth straight contest, losing Saturday’s affair 57-35 to Ole Miss in Oxford.
The Commodores started the season 3-0 after the win over a previously ranked Kansas State team, but seem to have vanished.
The Vanderbilt defense has failed to show up for the fourth consecutive week after losses to Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Ole Miss, after being a strong suit as a top tier unit last season.
Vanderbilt (3-4, 0-4 SEC) failed to follow up a 38-17 win in 2016 against the Rebels.
Through the last four games Vanderbilt has surrendered 199 points, roughly fifty per game.
Vandy led 14-7 in the second quarter after Ralph Webb ran for two touchdowns, but Ole Miss (3-3, 1-2 SEC) responded with 28 straight points in less than seven minutes – Vanderbilt never regained momentum.
Webb, Vanderbilt’s all-time leading rusher, broke loose for the first time this season and was a bright spot, running for an SEC career-best 163 yards and two touchdowns.
Kalija Lipscomb tallied his fifth touchdown reception, as Kyle Shurmur threw for 174 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception.
However, Vanderbilt’s weakness is clearly at the linebacker spot, as more rangy athletes throughout Mason’s group have shown the lack of physicality to strain to finish plays against bigger teams like an Alabama or Georgia, and the issue has prolonged.
In Mason’s fourth season this 2017 Vanderbilt team is arguably his most talented group, and the lack of competiveness and will on defense is a big concern for the rest of the year.
Ole Miss’ offense came into Saturday’s contest last in rushing yards per game (76.7) in the SEC, but amassed 252, paired with 351 yards offensively via Shea Patterson’s arm.
The bye week comes at the right time for the Commodores, as they have navigated their way through a tough four game stretch – but in the SEC it’s what to expect.
Vanderbilt looked to have a breakout year in the win column entering the 2017 season, returning 18 starters.
However, Vandy looks to find itself and scratch out wins in winnable games against South Carolina, Western Kentucky, Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee to round out the year.
But the ‘Dores need to look in the mirror, and write the script everyone was optimistic they would write before the season.
Vanderbilt returns to action on Oct. 28, traveling to Columbia to face South Carolina.
Featured Image via the Associated Press