OXFORD, Miss. — Jerrion Ealy and Snoop Conner each had big touchdown runs in the third quarter to help Mississippi pull away from Vanderbilt for a 31-6 win on Saturday night.
Ole Miss (3-3, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) broke open a precarious 10-6 halftime lead with the scoring runs to open the initial two series of the second half. Ealy ran for a 78-yard touchdown and finished with 97 yards on the ground. Conner had 91 yards rushing that included an 84-yard TD run.
Quarterback John Rhys Plumlee led Ole Miss with 165 yards rushing on 22 carries and scored on a 33-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Scottie Phillips added a 24-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter for the Rebels, who finished with 512 yards of total offense that included 413 yards rushing, the highest SEC output since 1979 when the Rebels ran for 443 yards against Vanderbilt.
Ryley Guay kicked field goals of 22 and 43 yards for Vanderbilt (1-4, 0-3) in the second quarter, but the Commodores never seriously threatened in the second half.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn had 69 yards rushing for Vanderbilt, which was limited to 62 yards rushing and finished 2 of 17 on third down conversions.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores have been good enough to earn two bowl bids in the past three seasons, but the loss makes it more difficult to reach the six-win postseason eligibility level. On the positive side, the Commodores have not missed a field goal attempt in seven tries, including six by Guay, this season. Harrison Smith was effective with four punts downed inside the 20-yard line.
Ole Miss: Taking a seat with the SEC elite is an unrealistic expectation, but earning two SEC home wins, remaining in the chase for postseason play, and the impressive play from freshmen at the offensive skill positions have been encouraging signs. After giving up 59 points in last week’s loss at Alabama, the defense answered with a season-best performance, led by linebacker Lakia Henry with 15 tackles, 14 in the first half.
Vanderbilt hosts UNLV on Saturday.
Mississippi plays at Missouri on Saturday.