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Breakout game for Braylon Sanders

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

It was a breakout performance for former Callaway Cavalier Braylon Sanders.

Sanders, a senior wide receiver, came into the season hoping to be a focal point of the offense under new head coach Lane Kiffin, but through the first five games, he only had two catches.

Things started to change for Sanders when he had three catches and a touchdown against Vanderbilt, and he exploded onto the scene during last week’s wild 59-42 victory over South Carolina.

In what was easily the most productive game of his college career, Sanders had four catches for 141 yards against the Gamecocks, an average of more than 30 yards per reception.

It was a big game for Sanders, as well as the whole Ole Miss offense, which amassed more than 700 yards, and seven players combined for 513 receiving yards from Matt Corral.

“It’s a blessing,” Sanders told members of the media following the game. “It’s just showing all the work we put in as a unit, as a receiving group. Just seeing that pay off, it’s all a blessing.”

For Sanders, getting the chance to be a center piece in the offense was a nice change of pace.

Sanders had zero catches in the first three games, and he had one reception in each of the next two games.

Sanders’ role increased against Vanderbilt when he had three receptions for 50 yards with a 37-yard touchdown, and he blew up against South Carolina.

Looking ahead to the final three games of the regular season, Sanders is willing to do whatever is asked of him from Lane and offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby.

“Whatever coach Lebby and coach Lane want me to do, I’m willing to do it,” Sanders said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s outside or the inside. Just make the plays when it comes your way.”

Although Sanders is a senior, he is eligible to return next season because the NCAA has granted all fall athletes an extra year of eligibility because of Covid-19.

Whether Sanders will take advantage of that and come back for the 2021 season remains to be seen.

“Right now my focus is just winning out the rest of the year, and just trying to be better each and every week,” Sanders said.

Sanders signed with Ole Miss following an exceptional high-school career at Callaway.

Sanders played in six games and had four catches for 65 yards and a touchdown as a freshman, and he caught 16 passes for 271 yards with a touchdown in 10 games as a sophomore.

Last year, Sanders played in eight games, and he had 10 receptions for 192 yards.