Three Keys Revisited: Vanderbilt vs. Auburn

The Commodores were able to outlast the Auburn Tigers (and in the process pile the pressure on Gene Chizik) for a 17-13 victory in Nashville. Time to look back on the keys we set to see how they impacted the game.

1) Stoke the fire

James Franklin looked to set the tone for the day early as he used his ambitious play calling twice on The Opening drive to convert two short fourth downs and get the Commodores rolling. Though Franklin got a touch overzealous with his options later in the game these decisions paid dividends when Wesley Tate rushed for a score. Franklin wanted to show the offense he had faith in what they were doing and in the process he told the crowd that the team had no fear of Auburn.

As a perennial underdog this show of power is new to Vandy fans and it was lapped up. Franklin succeeded in making a statement early that carried through the rest of the game.

2) Make the game about the fourth quarter

Though Auburn actually outscored their opponent in the final quarter for the first time all season the Vandy defense always looked like they were going to do enough to preserve the victory. Even after Zac Stacy fumbled the ball late to give the Tigers one last shot at victory the 'Dores pass rush and secondary stepped up and caused quarterback Clint Moseley enough problems that he was inaccurate when it counted most. The Tigers have the worst scoring offense in the league, and even when receiver Sammie Coates was open with 52 seconds left Chizik's squad failed to make the opportunity count.

3) Run Zac Stacy hard

Until his late fumble Stacy was having one of those banner days that will go down in Vanderbilt lore. The senior became the school's all time rushing leader with a 27 carry, 169 yard performance which included a short third quarter touchdown. Stacy proved that he gets more effective as the game goes on and he is the kind of do-everything workhorse back who could possibly eventually earn himself playing time on Sundays. In many ways, despite the fumble and two botched trick plays he was involved in, this was Zac Stacy's day.

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