Vanderbilt Report Card: Temple

Vanderbilt fell to Temple 37-7 on Thursday night at Vanderbilt Stadium. VandyMania.com's Don Yates grades the Commodores' performance in several key team areas.

PASSING OFFENSE: D
Vanderbilt completed a total of 16-of-34 passes for 224 yards, three interceptions and no touchdowns. Vandy used three quarterbacks during the game. Patton Robinette started the game and completed 4-of-6 passes for 38 yards. Robinette seemed tentative and was sacked three times because of this. His best pass was a 19 yarder to tight end Davis Dudchock. Stephen Rivers entered the game with 9:35 left in the second quarter. Rivers looked the most solid of the three QBs that played. He connected on 12-of-25 passes for 186 yards and an interception. Nine of his completions spanned more than 10 yards. Four went for 20 yards or more including two during his first stint (he entered the game twice) at the position. River's lone interception came on his final pass of game, late in the fourth quarter. Johnny McCrary saw his first college action when he entered the game with 8:06 left in the third quarter. His first pass was intercepted and returned to the Vandy 37. After throwing an incompletion, McCrary's third pass was intercepted and returned to the Commodore 14. Rivers then re-entered the game on the next drive.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D
For the game, Vanderbilt had 29 rushes for 54 yards (1.9 YPC). However, running backs Ralph Webb and Dallas Rivers both looked solid. Webb started the game and ran well showing great acceleration and a fearless approach to running the ball. Webb finished with 70 yards on 14 carries (5.0 YPC). Rivers was also effective gaining 16 yards five carries (3.2 YPC). The most senior of the group, Brian Kimbrow ran hard on his first carry but didn't properly protect the ball. The result was a fumble that was recovered at the VU 40 which led to Temple's first touchdown. Kimbrow didn't get another carry. The running backs themselves deserve better than a 'D' but this grade is for the overall running game and the four sacks allowed are part of that.

PASSING DEFENSE: D
Temple quarterback P.J. Walker picked Vandy's defense apart to the tune of 23 completions on 34 attempts for 207 yards and two TDs. Walker's longest pass was for the Owls first score a the game. He found Brandon Shippen for a 35-yard catch and run with Commodore defenders badly out of position. Vandy managed no interceptions and just one sack during the game. Oren Burks probably had the best game in the Vandy secondary. He finished with two pass breakups. Darreon Herring and Kyle Woestmann each had QB hurries. Ryan White and Adam Butler shared one sack.

RUSHING DEFENSE: C-
Vandy allowed Temple 144 yards rushing on 45 carries. Jamie Gilmore led the Owls with 65 yards on nine carries. The QB Walker had the only rushing score of the game for Temple with a 3-yard run in the third quarter. Linebacker Stephen Weatherly led the way for the Commodore defense with eight tackles including four solos. The defense as a whole probably would have graded a lot better had it not been for the gifts handed by the VU offense to the Owls. Burks and Vince Taylor each had six tackles.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C
Special teams saved Vanderbilt from the embarrassment of being shutout by a non-BCS team. Oren Burks pounced on a loose ball in the end zone to score the first Commodore points of the 2014 season. Colby Cooke was one of the few bright spots on the night. He punted well and put three his seven punts inside the Owl's 20. At least one went out of bounds at the Temple one. He longest went for 53 yards. Hayden Lebacz's lone 40-yard field goal attempt missed not too wide to the left. He did connect on an extra point after Burk's touchdown. Tre Herndon and Darrius Sims looked solid in the return game until they each gifted the Owls with fumbles.

COACHING: F
The team looked disorganized and unprepared for this football game. The penalties, turnovers and inability for the offense to score a point all are proof of this fact. The early pulling of Robinette and the musical chairs switching of the quarterbacks was concerning. The players looked gassed late in the game, likely because of poor conditioning. I loved the hell out of Robbie Caldwell when he was at Vandy but thought he should have been more active on the sidelines during games. No one expects Derek Mason to be James Franklin but Mason reminded me more of Caldwell than Franklin during the game. I don't know if the coaches were treating this game like an NFL preseason game or what.

OVERALL GRADE: D
Just a sloppy, root canal type of performance. I won't harp on the things I've already said. I do think there is hope though if the team can clean things up and improve in several areas. Sixteen passes were caught for an average of 14 yards per catch. We have a two young solid running backs in Ralph Webb and Dallas Rivers. The punting game looks strong and I think we'll be okay at kicker. I think the defense is solid and with a little help from he offense will be okay. Unlike past seasons when we had stinker openers, we at least have some talent on this team. The coaches now know what they need to fix. The question is, can they fix things and get the player's confidence back?

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