- Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer
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The Commodores are going bowling. Again.
For the second straight season, Vanderbilt became bowl-eligible after coming from behind to secure a 27-26 victory over Ole Miss on Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Vanderbilt (6-4, 3-3 SEC) is bowl eligible in consecutive seasons for the first time in school history.
It required a comeback from a double-digit deficit, as Vanderbilt trailed Ole Miss 23-6 at the 11:46 mark of the third quarter. But Jordan Rodgers hit Jordan Matthews for a 52-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 10, then Wesley Tate capped an 11-play, 52-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to pull to within three, 23-20 at the 2:33 mark in the third.
Trailing by six in the final stages, Rodgers engineered a nine-play, 79-yard drive that resulted in a 26-yard touchdown pass to Chris Boyd down the left sideline for the game-winning score with 52 seconds.
Rodgers was 20-of-35 passing for 267 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Matthews caught nine passes for 153 yards. The Commodores were able to pull out the win despite not having their all-time leading rusher, Zac Stacy, who was injured on his second carry of the game and didn't return.
The Rebels (5-5, 2-4) still need another win to become bowl eligible. They have two ranked foes to face in the next two weeks and will have to beat one of them to get their sixth win -- next week they go to LSU before returning home to host Mississippi State.
3dSam Khan and Greg Ostendorf