Passing Offense: A
Jordan Rodgers put together his best performance of the season, completing 17 for 21 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns. Near the end of the first half, Rodgers found a wide-open tight end Kris Kentera who sprinted his way into the end zone for a score. The 25-yard catch was the redshirt freshman's first career touchdown reception.
Jordan Rodgers threw a beautiful pass to Matthews, who made a spectacular play to get his foot down before falling out of bounds. The 29-yard completion moved the 'Dores into Minutemen territory and led to Vandy's second score of the night.
Jordan Matthews led the team with 10 receptions for 112 yards. It was the junior receiver's fourth 100-yard game of the season and the seventh of his career.
Rodgers rolled right and found Chris Boyd in the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown pass. The touchdown pass was Rodgers first multiple touchdown game of the season and the second of his career. Boyd was second on the team with 4 catches for 59 yards and a score.
Rushing Offense: B-
On The Opening drive after Stacy slipped on a sweep to the left, the Commodores hurried back to the line of scrimmage for a sweep to the other side for Stacy, who made a nice cut inside to get enough for the first down. The offensive line was extremely sloppy in the first drive with a pair of false starts, a personal foul, and a holding penalty. Stacy needed assistance off the field after a 9-yard reception for a first down. Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin was cryptic regarding the injury after the game.
"He could have come back." Franklin said. "We didn't feel like we needed to do that... He's got an injury. I would say it's below the waist."
With Stacy resting, Wesley Tate set career highs in both carries (15) and rushing yards (81). The redshirt junior's 25-yard run for a touchdown was the longest run of his career. Brian Kimbrow led the 'Dores with 98 yards rushing on 7 carries. The true freshman also set a career-high with his 75-yard rush for a score in the third quarter. The rookie running back also had a costly fumble that almost led to a second fourth quarter score by the Minutemen.
Jordan Rodgers took a keeper into the end zone to give the 'Dores a 21-0 lead at the end of the first half. The rushing touchdown was Rodgers first of the season after rushing for four scores last season.
Redshirt freshman Jake Bernstein started his first career game at right tackle in place of Josh Jelesky who suffered an injury last week against Auburn.
Passing Defense: B+
Massachusetts signal caller Mike Wegzyn was held to 15 for 27 for 162 yards passing and an interception. The redshirt freshman did well using the snap count to read the Vandy blitzes in the first half and was replaced by true freshman A.J. Doyle after his third quarter interception. Doyle was 8 for 14 for 48 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Trey Wilson intercepted Wegzyn and returned it 17 yards for a score. The pick six was Wilson's second of the season and fourth of his career. Pressure from defensive tackle Rob Lohr helped force an early throw by Wegzyn.
True freshman linebacker Darreon Herring finished second with 7 tackles, a forced fumble, and an interception. The interception was the first of his career and returned for 40 yards. Redshirt freshman safety Andrew Williamson was third on the team with 6 tackles and a pass breakup.
Rushing Defense: A
Vanderbilt's rushing defense had one of its best performances of the season, holding UMass to just 21 rushing yards in the first half and 54 rushing yards total.
Minutemen running back Michael Cox had 17 carries for 56 yards and had a long rush of 22 yards near the end of the third quarter. Rob Lohr had an excellent night with 2 tackles for a loss, a sack and a quarterback hurry. Vanderbilt got valuable playing time in for a number of underclassmen in the second half.
True freshman Jake Sealand led the team with 9 tackles, including 1½ for a loss, and 2 quarterback hurries. Caleb Azubike added 3 tackles, including 1½ for a loss, a sack, and a quarterback hurry. Redshirt freshman Larry Franklin also got in on the action with 5 tackles and 1½ for a loss.
Special Teams: A
Vanderbilt's special teams had their best game of the season with a turnover forced on a kickoff and a score off of a punt return. True freshman linebacker Darreon Herring had his first career forced fumble at the end of the half. Fellow true freshman Casey Hughes recorded his first career fumble recovery. The turnover on special teams allowed Vandy to strike twice in less than a minute to make the score a respectable 21-0 at the half.
Minutemen freshman Trey Dudley-Giles almost returned a kick for a touchdown against the 'Dores. Eddie Foster saved a score and preserved the lead with a shoe string tackle near the end of the first half. Quarterback Jordan Rodgers first punt of the season sailed 34 yards into the end zone for a touchback.
Senior punter Richard Kent booted his two punts of the night for 53 and 54 yards. Kent has had at least one punt of 50 yards or more in every game except Presbyterian this season.
After a slow start, the Commodore coach noted the team made progress by not being pleased by the way they played. Vanderbilt coach James Franklin has to be pleased with the end result.
"During the game I felt like we could have played better up front on both sides of the ball early in the game." Franklin said. "I'll watch the game and see if that's true but I thought we could have done a better job of being more explosive and physical on both fronts."
The offense was without a couple of pieces with senior Josh Jelesky out and Stacy injured early in the first quarter but the Commodores were able to stick to their game plan and overcome early hiccups to dominate the Minutemen 49-7.
In one of the most sluggish starts in recent memory, the 'Dores were called for six penalties for 50 yards on the opening drive. A fumble by redshirt junior quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels was recovered by UMass defensive back Khary Bailey-Smith and returned 53 yards into Vandy territory. The turnover led to a Minutemen touchdown and ended the shutout.
The Commodores exploded with four touchdowns in the third quarter to put the score at 49-0. Lots of young players got valuable playing time and the starters enjoyed a break in the last game of a three-game homestretch.
The 'Dores dive back into SEC play with a trip to Lexington, Ky., to face the struggling Kentucky Wildcats (1-8, 0-6). A victory on the road would put Vandy one win away from bowl eligibility with games against Ole Miss, UT, and Wake Forest remaining.
Vanderbilt Report Card: UMass
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