Vandy offense finds room to run

Led by the shifty speed of Zac Stacy and the fleet-footed scampering of Jordan Rodgers, this Commodore offense has found room to run. Against the third ranked rushing defense in the Southeastern Conference the 'Dores broke a total of 12 runs for nine yards or more.

On its second possession of the first half cornerback Casey Hayward had a 29-yard run off a reverse to put Vanderbilt within six yards of an early lead. It was, however, short-lived as on the next play a devastating interception by Larry Smith hindered the Commodores, who would not put points on the board until the second quarter.

Stacy averaged 5.7 yards per carry and racked up 97 yards and a touchdown against the vaunted Bulldog rushing defense that had held Tennessee to a grand total of minus 20 rushing yards the previous week. Rogers, who replaced Smith after his second costly interception, found his feet as well, rushing for 80 yards on 11 carries. His long run of the night was a 40-yard bolt on second and 21 that helped sustain an 84-yard drive capped by a 19-yard Stacy touchdown run.

On an evening that saw tempers flare, the Vanderbilt rushing attack ran for a total of 200 yards against a Georgia defense that has held opponents to an average of 102 yards per game. A tough loss at South Carolina earlier in the season that netted the 'Dores four total rushing yards may have been the last straw for Coach Franklin. A few weeks and a few switches on the offensive line later and the Vanderbilt offense has finally seemed to have found some room to run.

Leading up to the Alabama game, Vanderbilt averaged allowing four sacks allowed per game. After allowing just one sack against a ruthless Alabama defense the 'Dores again held their opponent to a single sack on the night, an astonishing improvement.

Stacy also found the end zone through the air hitting Jordan Matthews for 43-yard TD pass that put the first points on the board for Vandy.

After an apprehensive 10 play, 61-yard drive that put Georgia up 23-7 at the start of the second half, Andre Hal took no time in responding, returning the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for a TD to bring the 'Dores back to within nine.

Following throwing his only interception of the night and down 33-28 with less than two minutes to go, Rogers got one final chance to lead the Commodores to victory. Vandy had burned all three timeouts on the subsequent Georgia possession but a blocked punt by Udom Umoh gave the 'Dores another chance at redemption with seven seconds to go on the Georgia 20-yard line. A substitution infraction and an incomplete pass later and Vandy was on the Bulldog 25 with time for one play. In a valiant attempt to catapult the ‘Dores to gold, Rogers found Brandon Barden who was unable to reach the end zone.

The loss dealt a sickening feeling in the hearts of both the Vanderbilt players and their faithful fans. However, while the sting of losing hurts, excitement abounds for the future of Commodore football. These young players will only get better and a bowl bid for Vanderbilt in 2011 remains a possibility.

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