Rebels must fix mistakes
By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
Sept. 2, 2003
OXFORD David Cutcliffe was pleased with his team's effort in Ole Miss' season opener on Saturday, if not the overall play.
The fifth-year Rebels head coach watched his team narrowly avoid a loss to Vanderbilt, the Southeastern Conference's weak sister. A 54-yard field goal by Jonathan Nichols gave Ole Miss a 24-21 over Vanderbilt and an early lead in the SEC West race.
The Rebels were plagued by a number of mistakes by some unusual suspects.
Eli Manning overthrew an open Tremaine Turner and underthrew Taye Biddle to stall drives. Turner, a normally sure-handed running back, fumbled twice, one of which led to a Commodores' touchdown a play later.
Von Hutchins, one of the SEC's better cover corners, was burned twice, including a 50-yard touchdown by Vanderbilt's Erik Davis. Eric Oliver, the Rebels' leading tackler from last season, missed a number of tackles that led to big plays.
Ole Miss had several players banged up during the win over Vandy. Safety Tavarus Horne (knee), offensive tackle Doug Buckles (knee) and defensive tackle McKinley Boykin (ankle) were among the players who left the game with injuries.
The Rebels will need all of their players to be healthy and sharper for the team's second game of the season.
Ole Miss returns to Tennessee to take on Memphis at 11 a.m. on Saturday. The Tigers posted a 40-10 win over Tennessee Tech in their season opener and tallied 567 yards of total offense.