Kyle Shurmur hit Kalija Lipscomb with a 5-yard touchdown pass in overtime, and the Vanderbilt Commodores edged Ole Miss 36-29 Saturday night to keep their bowl hopes alive for another week.
Vandy scored first, and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Lipscomb for tossing the ball in the air after his TD gave Ole Miss the ball at the 12. Three plays later, review overturned Jordan Ta’amu’s 8-yard TD pass to A.J. Brown, ruling that Brown did not maintain possession.
“I didn’t think it was a catch with the rule in play now,” Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason said. “We’re talking about you got to possess the ball through the catch. He didn’t possess it through the catch. In fact, I’m not sure we didn’t have an interception.”
On fourth down, Joejuan Williams helped break up the throw to DaMarkus Lodge at the left pylon after a defensive change.
“It was just up to me to make the play,” Williams said.
Brown asked after the game what more was needed to count as a catch.
Vanderbilt (5-6, 2-5 Southeastern Conference) trailed 13-0 early in the second quarter and rallied by scoring 19 straight points to beat Ole Miss for the second time in three years. The game featured three ties in the second half, and Luke Logan’s fifth field goal from 32 yards with 40 seconds left for Ole Miss set up overtime.
Now the Commodores will have a chance to earn their second bowl berth in three seasons if they can beat instate rival Tennessee in the regular-season finale.
Shurmur’s game-winning TD was his third of the game and set Vandy’s career record with 60 passing Jay Cutler.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn ran for 127 yards and a TD. Williams and LaDarius Wiley each had an interception in the fourth quarter, and Dayo Odeyingbo had two of Vanderbilt’s three sacks.
“Our emphasis this past week was to finish,” Shurmur said. “It’s something we haven’t done well throughout the year, but it was good to finish here. That was great.”
Ole Miss (5-6, 1-6) lost its fourth straight despite outgaining Vandy 578-387 in total offense. Ta’amu had a career-high 457 yards passing and two TDs, and Brown finished with a season-high 212 yards and a TD.
Ole Miss appeared in total control after Brown took a pass 84 yards for a TD and a 13-0 lead. At that point, Ole Miss had outgained Vandy 271-73.
Max Worship blocked a Mac Brown punt through the end zone for a safety that Mason said changed the momentum, and the Commodores drove 53 yards off the following kick.
Shurmur hit Lipscomb with a 2-yard TD pass with 62 seconds left in the first half to pull Vandy within 13-12. Vaughn capped the opening drive of the third quarter with a 1-yard TD run for Vandy’s first lead of the game at 19-13.
Ole Miss: The Rebels put up some more flashy numbers with the nation’s fifth-best offense coming in. They came in leading the SEC and ninth nationally with only nine turnovers lost all season, and the Commodores came up with two interceptions in the fourth quarter.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores showed resilience in fighting back after blowing a lead losing at Missouri last week.
Shurmur tied Cutler with 59 TD passes, then took the record to himself with the TD pass in overtime. “I’ll worry about that later. Right now, it’s just a great team win,” Shurmur said.
Ole Miss: Host Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl on Thursday night.
Vanderbilt: Host Tennessee on Saturday.