Vanderbilt Report Card: Texas A&M

Vanderbilt fell to Texas A&M 56-24 on Saturday. VandyMania.com's Don Yates grades the Commodores' performance in several key team areas.

PASSING OFFENSE: C
About as well as could be expected with an inexperienced player making his first career start in a hostile environment. There were some good plays and there were certainly some bad plays. Patton Robinette completed 15-of-28 passes for 216 yards, a touchdown and a pair of interceptions. One interception was at the start of the second half was returned for a Texas A&M touchdown and took the wind out of Vandy's sails. Robinette was again intercepted late in the fourth quarter on Vandy's final drive. Jonathan Krause caught a 30-yard pass for a touchdown from Robinette in the second quarter that pulled Vandy to within 18. Krause finished with three catches for 89 yards before being injured in the second half. Krause now has 88 catches for 1,091 yards and three touchdowns for his career. Robinette also hooked up with Krause for 44 yards on a pass play in the second quarter for Robinette's longest pass completion of his career. Jordan Matthews finished the game with eight catches for 92 yards. Matthews' first catch of the game went for 13 yards and pulled him even with Georgia's Terrence Edwards for the most receiving yards in SEC history. Matthews' 17-yard catch in the second quarter earned him the most career receiving yards in league history with 3,107 yards in his career. Josh Grady completed 2-of-4 passes for 18 yards and an interception. He was injured early in the fourth quarter and Robinette returned to finish the game. True freshman Jordan Cunningham finished with two catches for 16 yards. Vandy blockers allowed an incredible seven sacks. Some of those, however, were the result of inexperienced signal callers on the game.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D
This was A&M's second best game defending the run this season. Rice gained 306 rushing yards on the Aggies, Sam Houston State bulled for 240 yards. Vanderbilt? 95 total yards rushing on 44 attempts. The SMU game was the Aggies best rushing defensive effort of the season. In that game the pass happy Mustangs gained 93 yards on just 17 attempts. Jerron Seymour gained 53 yards on 16 attempts (3.3 YPC). Brian Kimbrow had 9 carries for 31 yards. Seymour scored on a 4-yard TD run late in the second quarter to pull narrow the scores deficit at 28-17. Robinette scored a 7-yard run in the fourth quarter. He finished with 9 rushing yards on 12 carries. Five sacks had wiped out most of Robinette's rushing gains.

PASSING DEFENSE: D
Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel completed 25-of-35 passes for 305 yards, four touchdowns and one interception before being replaced late in the third quarter with A&M up by 25. Manziel completed 10 straight passes on the Aggies' first drive. A&M backups combined for eight completions on eleven attempts for another 71 yards and a touchdown. Yes, it looked ugly and some of these numbers had to do with the VU offense's inability to mount sustained drives early on as we saw against Ole Miss, South Carolina and Missouri. But keep in mind the prolific offense that Vandy was facing. A&M gained 464 passing yards on Alabama's juggernaut defense, 469 against Auburn, 346 on Ole Miss and 500 on SHS. Kenny Ladler picked off his second pass of the season in the second quarter him the active leader on the Dores' roster. Kyle Woestmann matched his career-best with two sacks in the first half on back-to-back plays.

RUSHING DEFENSE: C
Vanderbilt held A&M to 182 yards rushing on 32 attempts. It was A&M's third lowest rushing output this season. Trey Williams rushed for 65 yards on just six attempts (10.8 YPG). Another Williams, Brandon, ran for 61 yards on 11 carries (5.5 YPC). Manziel had only four rushing attempts for 11 yards. Only Auburn (133) and Alabama (164) held the Aggies to less rushing yards in a game. Karl Butler made a season-best six tackles in the first half. Kenny Ladler forced two fumbles. Ladler posted his third game of the season with at least 10 tackles, making 10 stops in the game including eight solo tackles. Combined with the interception, Ladler forced three turnovers. Darreon Herring made nine tackles.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D
It's concerning about how far Vanderbilt's punting game has fallen since the beginning of the season. Three of Taylor Hudson's five punts went for over 40 yards; however, one went for 17 yards and another for just 31 yards. In still another punting disaster Patton Robinette's quick pooch punt went for just five yards, in a fourth and 5 situation. Carey Spear had one field goal from 23 yards in the second quarter. Andre Hal returned one kickoff for 21 yards. Brian Kimbrow returned three kickoffs for 26 yards with a long return of 11. Vandy's defense forced just one punt and it was a touchback so there were no punt returns by VU. A&M's Travis Labhart had one punt return for 20 yards.

COACHING: C
Vanderbilt struggled stopping A&M early on and was torched by Manziel. Last week Vandy defenders challenged the Georgia receivers and it worked. This week the VU secondary was often out of position and not able to defend passes. The Commodores get an 'A' in the penalty department with just one for five yards. There was a questionable face mask penalty that was declined by A&M. Against Georgia Robinette threw a pass similar to the one that was returned for a touchdown, which was nearly picked by the Bulldogs. Surely the VU coaching staff will be working to prevent another of those.

OVERALL GRADE: D+
After a good week on both sides of the ball early on against Georgia Vandy returned to its old SEC ways. The Commodores once again could get nothing going early on either offensively or defensively against the Aggies. The poor number of third down conversions just won't cut it against a team like A&M that will score on nearly every drive. However, you've got to consider that Vandy had an inexperienced quarterback behind center. Patton Robinette likely has a great future ahead of him at Vandy but there's a reason he was the backup and not the starter at the beginning of the season. Defensively, considering the poor showing by the VU offense, Vanderbilt's D did about as well as could be expected against this explosive offense that no team has stopped.

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