Vanderbilt Commodores wide receiver Jordan Matthews made 10 catches in his team’s season opener, but he needed to make at least 11, if not more, for his team to get the win over the Ole Miss Rebels. Despite a brilliant performance, Matthews let a ball slip right through his hands on a potential game-winning drive, resulting in a game-sealing interception by Cody Prewitt.
There’s no denying that Matthews had an incredible game in the season opener, showing that he is perhaps the best wide receiver in the country. He finished the game with 10 catches for 178 yards, with several of those catches being quite spectacular. One of those catches was a 55-yard touchdown pass in which Matthews sprinted to the end zone after receiving a great block from fellow receiver Jonathan Krause.
Late in the game, Matthews nearly took over despite facing great adversity. Matthews was absolutely popped after making a catch over the middle and somehow managed to stay on the field for one more play before falling to the ground and vomiting on the field. After watching Matthews vomit on the field, obviously disoriented, it seemed clear that he was out for the game with a possible concussion. But a few plays later, quite miraculously, Matthews returned to the field and hauled in a 34-yard catch on a 4th and 18 play to set up a score and keep Vanderbilt’s hopes alive.
Throughout the game, Matthews showcased his speed, skill, and toughness in a performance that was nothing short of brilliant. But when the Commodores needed to come up with one more catch, as they moved the ball down the field in the final minute looking for a game-winning touchdown, Matthews let a pass he’s caught countless times before slip right through his hands, depriving Vanderbilt of a chance at a last second score and a win in their SEC opener.
His performance no doubt captured the attention of the entire country, but for all the clutch catches he made, there was one that he didn’t make; and the one he missed will be just as memorable as many of the catches he did make. Without Matthews, the Commodores wouldn’t have had a chance to beat the Rebels, but that doesn’t mean he’s not also at fault for the mistake he made on Vanderbilt’s final play.
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Like him on Facebook, follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him on Google.