Ole Miss rallied twice late to take a 39-35 thriller, but the real story, and the breakout star of college football's opening night, was Vanderbilt receiver Jordan Matthews. Matthews put up ridiculous numbers, but his game will be more remembered for puking all over the field.
Matthews had 10 catches for 178 yards and a score. But the armchair neurologists are out for the first-round talent, and not without reason. With Vandy down four late in the fourth quarter, Matthews reeled in a pass before getting speared by Cody Prewitt. His head snapped back, striking the turf. He was shaken (notably, holding his gut), and as he was being tended to by the Commodores' trainers, he vomited:
"We have come light years in how we treat concussions," announcer Matt Millen intoned. Then, one play later, Matthews would come back in the game. He likely told staff the same thing he told reporters after the game: The vomiting wasn't because of that tackle, but because of the dehydration he had been suffering all night.
“Early on in the third quarter I started experiencing cramps,” Matthews said. “First in my legs, then it got up to my back and my arms so it was close to a full-body cramp.”
After receiving an IV in the locker room, the senior returned to the field with 5:50 remaining in the third quarter.
“I had a lot of fluids in my stomach from rehydrating and everything, so I probably regurgitated a lot of that and threw up a little bit. But I was able to stay in the game."
ESPN spent the rest of the night praising Matthews's "heart" and "courage," when it looked for all the world like he was doing exactly what decades of research says is dumb and dangerous—but his postgame quote said it all: "I knew I couldn’t come out because my team needed me."
Throwing up from cramps and extra hydration is entirely plausible, especially after taking a shoulder in the stomach. What's worrying is that he wasn't out for nearly long enough for Vanderbilt staff to give him the mandated concussion tests. Was he knocked silly? We don't know. But Vandy didn't either.
Later on that same drive, Matthews caught a pass to convert a fourth-and-18 and set up the go-ahead touchdown with 90 seconds remaining. But after a quick Ole Miss score, Vandy's hopes were dashed when Prewitt intercepted a ball off Matthews's hands.
[Video h/t Jme]