Report Card: Vanderbilt vs. Tennessee

After a gut-wrenching 27-21 overtime loss at Tennessee, Vanderbilt fell to 5-6 (2-6 SEC). analyzes every element of the Commodores' performance and assigns a grade to each area.




Rodgers went a decent 17-32 for 193 yards and a touchdown but his three interceptions likely cost Vanderbilt the game. Rodgers also gave up a fumble while scrambling that set UT up for its first score. Jordan Matthews caught six passes for 74 yards but he didn't seem as sharp as he has in previous games. Chris Boyd also had six catches, one went for a 20-yard touchdown that put VU up 20-14 in the fourth quarter. Vanderbilt blockers, victimized by two key injuries during the game, gave up two sacks.
Ninety yards rushing just won't get it done in the SEC, especially on the road. Vandy's Zac Stacy had 17 rushes for just 61 yards and a TD. His longest run went for 18 yards. Jordan Rodgers has regressed significantly in the running department since his first start. With sacks figured in he had minus 8 yards rushing, his first negative yardage rushing as a Commodore. Jerron Seymour had 23 yards on five carries.
After a long absence due to injury, UT's Tyler Bray finished 16 for 33 for 189 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions by Archibald Barnes. Although Vandy didn't give up any super long passes, Bray did pick the VU defense apart with multiple completions of 10 yards or more. Despite the two picks, a 15-yard sack, 5 pass breakups, and one QB hurry, Bray was still able to get the job done. T.J. Greenstone had Vanderbilt only sack of the game. Chris Marve had three quarterback hurries.
The Commodores gave up just too much yardage on the ground. 101 yards may not seem too bad but consider that the Vols were only averaging 91 yards per contest before the game. Tauren Poole netted 107 total yards for the game. Vanderbilt's Chris Marve led the team with 8 tackles.
Sadly, Vanderbilt kickers continue to struggle. Ryan Fowler missed both of his field goal attempts and both were a reasonable distance (44 and 34 yards). Richard Kent was outstanding punting, averaging over 50 yards on three punts. Jordan Rodgers surprised UT with a pooch punt that backed the Vols up deep in their own territory. No major breakdown or gains on the kickoff/punt coverage/return units. Super job blocking the field goal, unfortunately the wrong guy touched the ball.
I'm still looking for that surprise onside kick. We didn't see any "trick" plays against UT other than the pooch punt. Before the UT game Franklin had won all the games in which Vanderbilt was favored. However, with Bray behind center UT is much more formidable. Although Vanderbilt could have won the game, it's hard to see the Commodores as favorites with Bray playing in Knoxville. One concern is that Vandy's offensive lineman continue to get called for personal fouls 30 or 40 yards from the ball or after the play is over. Why hasn't this been fixed?
Tennessee never had a play go over 20 yards other than the early fumble return and the interception return for a TD in OT, a play that should never have been allowed because it was blown dead. A significant game changer was the blocked field goal that was taken away via a vague rule. Nevertheless, a loss is a loss. In the end, Vanderbilt lost this game by its own miscues, not because of the officials or the Tennessee team.

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