Report Card: Vanderbilt vs. Tennessee

The game is over now: Tennessee 24, Vanderbilt 10. analyzes every element of the Commodores' performance and assigns a grade to each area.




Larry Smith completed 11-of-27 passes for 76 yards and a touchdown. Jared Funk came in for two series in the fourth quarter and completed 9-of-14 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown. Funk's touchdown pass came on a 16-yard pass to Jordan Matthews late in the fourth quarter. Matthews had an outstanding game, catching 5 passes for 62 yards. Tray Herndon also played well, catching four passes for 31 yards. Brandon Barden caught three passes for 58 yards. He had a long catch from Barden of 43 yards from Funk in the fourth quarter. Barden gave the UT defender a nice stiff arm during the run after that catch. Vanderbilt gave up three sacks to UT. Barden now has 31 catches for the season and 88 for his career.
Vanderbilt, still playing without its top two running backs, gained 111 total yards rushing on the Vols. Kennard Reeves picked up 60 yards rushing on 17 carries for a 3.5 yard per carry average. Larry Smith rushed for 22 yards while Funk and Wesley Tate each ran for 15 yards.
A big improvement over the past few games. The Commodores limited hot shot freshman Tyler Bray to just 232 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions after Bray had passed for over 600 yards and eight touchdowns in the Vols previous two games. Casey Hayward picked off his sixth pass of the season and true freshman Kenny Ladler also had an interception. Colt Nichter and Johnell Thomas combined for a sack of Bray.
Last week Vanderbilt gave up over 300 yards on the ground against Kentucky so allowing 128 yards to UT is a big improvement. Tauren Poole broke away for a 28-yard run in the fourth quarter to pretty much end the Commodores' threat. On that play the Vandy defense was focusing on the middle but Poole ran to the left and used his blockers well for the few Vandy defenders that were in the area. Sean Richardson, again, led the Commodores in tackles with 9. Eddie Foster had two tackles for losses.
Ryan Fowler made a 31-yard field goal, his longest of the season but then missed another from 25 yards. Later he had a 45-yard attempt blocked when the line failed to have proper spacing. Richard Kent had six punts for a 45.2 yard average. His longest went for 50 yards. Kent had an excellent punt in the fourth quarter that was downed at the UT 7. UT had two punts returned for just one yard and one kickoff returned for 23 yards. John Cole returned one punt for 12 yards. Eric Samuels had a 28-yard kickoff return.
Kitchings made some good calls in the fourth quarter that almost put Vandy within striking distance of the Vols. It helps to have an accurate passer behind center. In 13 tries Larry Smith has never passed for over 150 yards against an SEC opponent but Funk comes in and passes for 146 in less than one quarter. While Funk is far from perfect, it's mind boggling that Smith continues to start game after game. Jamie Bryant's defensive schemes gave the Vols and Bray problems all night.
The team gave their all for their teammates and coaches but came up short yet again. Now the team has a chance to do something that only four Commodore teams have done since 1960-- end the season with a victory.

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