Three Keys Revisted: Music City Bowl

Now that is how you finish a season! Vanderbilt added yet more history to a season for the ages with a win over North Carolina State which managed to feel both hard fought and dominating at the same time. With stellar performances on both sides of the ball, and a stunning performance emotionally from James Franklin on the sidelines, Vanderbilt made a big splash on the national spotlight.

Now that is how you finish a season! Vanderbilt added yet more history to a season for the ages with a win over North Carolina State which managed to feel both hard fought and dominating at the same time. With stellar performances on both sides of the ball, and a stunning performance emotionally from James Franklin on the sidelines, Vanderbilt made a big splash on the national spotlight. Here is how the three keys worked out.

1) Rodgers needs a big day

This is one of those games where stat lines only tell half the story. Jordan Rodgers may only have thrown for 108 yards, but his two passing touchdowns and unerring ability to make big plays in the clutch were what kept this game out of the reach of North Carolina State. The best example of this was the fourth-and-14 play in which Rodgers hit favorite target Jordan Matthews for a massive first down at the Wolfpack 20-yard-line. At the time it was a two score game, but when Rodgers himself finished the drive with a 15-yard touchdown run, the third touchdown he accounted for on the day, the lead was 21 and the contest was over.

Future NFL first rounder Mike Glennon, on the other hand, had a bigger day in terms of numbers with 383 yards, but he could not get a handle on a Vandy defense which played some of its best football of the season. Glennon was picked off three times and the 'Dores had five total turnovers from a unit which had forced just 13 all season.

All things considered Rodgers outplayed Glennon on the day.

2) A senior send off from Stacy

Zac Stacy got the workload he wanted and he certainly delivered with a gutsy, grinding display in his last outing in black and gold. Stacy finished the game with 25 carries for 107 yards and a score, but once again that line fails to truly show his worth to the team. In the first half especially, Vandy ran many plays out of the wildcat with Stacy as the primary decision maker and he did not disappoint running the formation effortlessly. About the only mistake he made on the day was on his halfback pass attempt to Jordan Rodgers, but even that resulted in an epic meltdown from coach Franklin so in many ways it worked out for the best.

3) Learn to close out against a winner

That is how you close out a game against a winning team and one boasting a quarterback who is going to play on Sundays at that. Vandy won nine games for the first time since 1915 and is currently riding a seven game win streak which happens to be the longest in the SEC. Let me just repeat that: Vanderbilt has the longest win streak in the entire SEC. Anchor Down indeed!

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