Mississippi 21, Vanderbilt 10
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) _ Backup quarterback Paul Head threw three touchdown passes, two to Ta’Boris Fisher, to lead Mississippi to a 21-10 victory over winless Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Head replaced starter Josh Nelson with 1:45 left in the first half, and led the Rebels (4-4, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) on an 86-yard scoring drive. He hit Fisher for a 20-yard TD on the last play of the half, and played the rest of the game.
Vanderbilt (0-7, 0-5), which has scored just 40 points in its last six games, didn’t get into the end zone until Kenny Simon caught a 2-yard pass from Ronnie Gordon with 57 seconds left in the game.
Head was 8-of-9 for 76 yards on his first drive, and finished 19-of-26 for 252 yards. Nelson was 7-of-10 for 40 yards.
Fisher, who missed last week’s game and had seen limited action the previous two weeks because of a hamstring injury, caught eight passes for 109 yards. LeMay Thomas had 10 catches for 130 yards, including a 64-yard TD with 2:28 left in the game.
Vanderbilt drove to Mississippi 8 on its opening drive of the second half, but had to settle for Steve Yenner’s 24-yard field goal.
Mississippi put the game out of reach by driving 71 yards in eight plays late in the third quarter. Head hit Fisher for a 40-yard TD after a strange sequence of events.
On first-and-16 from the Vanderbilt 40, Head was called for intentional grounding, even though replays showed the intended receiver being held. As the teams lined up for another play, officials conversed and wiped out the penalty. Instead, they ruled incomplete pass and incorrectly called third down. The lost down didn’t hurt as Head hit Fisher on the next play.
The three touchdowns was an offensive explosion for the Rebels who had just four TDs in their first five SEC games.
A moment of silence was held prior to the game in honor of the late Chucky Mullins, the former Rebels defensive back who was paralyzed in a homecoming game against Vanderbilt six years ago Saturday. Mullins died May 6, 1991, from complications related to the paralysis.