Scores

Final

Vanderbilt 23

(4-0, 2-0 SEC)

Ole Miss 17

(2-2, 0-1 SEC)

7:00 PM ET, September 20, 2008

Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS

1 2 3 4 T
VAN 14 3 0 623
MISS 17 0 0 017

Top Performers

Passing: C. Nickson (VAN) - 40 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: C. Eason (MISS) - 12 CAR, 88 YDS

Receiving: D. McCluster (MISS) - 7 REC, 132 YDS

Hamilton picks off Snead three times as Vandy clips Ole Miss for 4-0 start

Associated Press

OXFORD, Miss. -- Ryan Hamilton tied a school record with three interceptions, scored a touchdown on an interception return and saved a score with a goal-line tackle to help Vanderbilt beat Mississippi 23-17 on Saturday.

The Commodores intercepted four of Jevan Snead's passes to put themselves in position to be ranked for the first time since 1984 by surviving an early and odd Rebels scoring flurry. Vanderbilt was one spot out of the Top 25 entering the week and is 4-0 for just the fourth time since World War II.

But the Commodores (2-0 Southeastern Conference) needed a pair of goal-line stands and a final interception as time expired to win.

The Rebels (2-2, 0-1) appeared as if they might run away early after forcing a fumble deep in Vanderbilt territory with a 10-0 lead. But Hamilton stepped in front of Snead's pass and returned it 79 yards for a score.

His second interception of Snead and 23-yard return helped set up a field goal that rallied Vanderbilt to a 17-17 halftime tie. The Commodores could only manage two more Bryant Hahnfeldt field goals in the second half, but Hamilton and the defense made it stand up.

Hamilton made a crucial tackle on Ole Miss' first series of the second half, when he caught running back Cordera Eason from behind on fourth-and-inches at the goal line. Hamilton later recovered a fumble on a punt return to negate another Ole Miss drive and finished the game off with a pick on Snead's pass around the Vanderbilt 10.

Hamilton also recovered a fumble, but wasn't the only playmaker on the Commodores defense. Reshard Langford killed another drive with a bobbling interception of Snead at midfield, then Chris Marve finished off another Rebels' goal-line chance for a rally when he forced Dexter McCluster to fumble into the end zone. D.J. Moore fell on the loose ball with 2:40 left.

If ranked Sunday, the Commodores will be the sixth SEC team in the poll and the eighth to be ranked at some point this season. Vanderbilt was ranked as high as 19th in 1984 after starting 4-0.

Ole Miss had plenty of chances to pick up the program's 600th victory after an early fumble return by Peria Jerry and a kickoff return by Mike Wallace put the Rebels up 17-7. But six turnovers, poor play from an out-of-sync Snead, who finished 12-of-25 for 184 yards in his first bad game, and seven penalties for 82 yards sent them to their ninth straight SEC loss and 13th in the last 14 games.

Hahnfeldt tied a career high with three field goals, hitting from 34, 31 and 40 yards.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
VAN
MISS
1st Downs1116
Total Yards202385
Passing71184
Rushing131201
Penalties2-207-82
3rd Down Conversions3-135-14
4th Down Conversions0-00-1
Turnovers26
Possession30:3629:24

Passing Leaders

VanderbiltC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Nickson6/7405.710
Ole MissC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Snead12/251847.404

Rushing Leaders

VanderbiltCARYDSAVGTDLG
Hawkins17724.2040
Adams10282.8017
Ole MissCARYDSAVGTDLG
Eason12887.3026
Bolden8455.6023

Receiving Leaders

VanderbiltRECYDSAVGTDLG
Monahan22211.0012
Graham2199.5012
Ole MissRECYDSAVGTDLG
McCluster713218.9056
Wallace33612.0015

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERVANMISS
FG05:10Joshua Shene 20 Yd 03
TD04:54Peria Jerry 13 Yd Fumble Return (Joshua Shene Kick) 010
TD04:32Ryan Hamilton 79 Yd Interception Return (Bryant Hahnfeldt Kick) 710
TD04:17Mike Wallace 98 Yd Kickoff Return (Joshua Shene Kick) 717
TD01:17Jared Hawkins 9 Yd Pass From Chris Nickson (Bryant Hahnfeldt Kick) 1417
SECOND QUARTERVANMISS
FG01:48Bryant Hahnfeldt 34 Yd 1717
FOURTH QUARTERVANMISS
FG14:48Bryant Hahnfeldt 31 Yd 2017
FG00:31Bryant Hahnfeldt 40 Yd 2317