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Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt 2013 final score: Young Rebels win Thursday thriller

Did we have an instant classic on college football's opening night? We did.

Frederick Breedon

For the second year in a row, Ole Miss-Vanderbilt produced a wild ending. This time around, it was the Rebels that came away with the comeback victory, taking a 39-35 conference win home from Nashville, keyed by quarterback Bo Wallace's 283 yards passing and 48 on the ground, an exciting crew of offensive weapons, and a defender we'll all start to fear a little bit pretty soon.

The story on Ole Miss, entering the game, was its 2013 freshman class. Led by No. 1 national recruit Robert Nkemdiche and a slew of other four- and five-stars, it stands as the most hyped group in Rebels history.

The story on Ole Miss after the game remains the same. Nkemdiche was everywhere, badgering Austyn Carta-Samuels throughout the night and even turning up as the running back on a fake punt, which worked. Coach Hugh Freeze praised his 285-pound freshman's mobility at halftime.


It's fitting Matt Millen was one of the voices in the booth for this game (it's even more fitting Joe Tessitore was the play-by-play man, because the game was nuts, but bear with me). Famed for his love of drafting wide receivers while general manager of the Detroit Lions, Millen got to watch Ole Miss freshmen (get used to those three words in a row) Laquon Treadwell (nine catches, 82 yards) and Vandy's soon-to-be first-rounder Jordan Matthews (10 catches, 178 yards) trade catches all night long. Each appeared to be the focal point of his team's offense.

Matthews emerged as the victor in the receiver battle, making this catch to set up Steven Scheu's go-ahead, 34-yard touchdown with 1:30 to go:


Oh, and he did that after throwing up on the field following this hit:


But that wasn't enough, as Jeff Scott peeled off a 75-yard run 23 seconds later for the game-winning touchdown, with Vandy's last chance cruelly bouncing off of Matthews' fingers.

Ole Miss' road gets no easier from here, with games at Texas and Alabama coming up soon. Vandy gets a longer break over the next month or so, other than a game at South Carolina in two weeks.

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