Vanderbilt Report Card: UMass

Vanderbilt rallied past UMass 34-31 on Saturday at Vanderbilt Stadium to earn its first victory of the season. VandyMania.com's Don Yates grades the Commodores' performance in several key team areas.

PASSING OFFENSE: B
Vanderbilt started with Wade Freebeck who played the first quarter. The true freshman completed 1-of-2 passes for three yards and an interception. He was sacked once. Patton Robinette entered the game with 14:52 left in the second quarter and Vandy trailing 14-0. With 10:02 left in that quarter Robinette was diving into the end zone for Vandy's first offensive touchdown of the 2014 season. With 7 seconds left in the half Robinette fired a 3-yard scoring jump pass to Steven Scheu to pull Vandy to within 24-20. For the game Robinette completed 15-of-21 passes for 147 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. C.J. Duncan led Vanderbilt with four catches for 72 yards. He made an amazing 36-yard reception late in the fourth quarter C.J. Duncan won a battle for the ball from a UMass DB to put Vandy in position to win the game at the UMass 4-yard line. Scheu and Trey Wilkins each had three catches. Vandy's offensive line gave up just one sack during the contest.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B
Vanderbilt gained 160 yards rushing during the game. Ralph Webb surpassed 100 yards for the first time in his college career. Webb finished with 116 yards on 26 carries (4.5 YPC). Jerron Seymour gained 15 yards on five carries. Robinette finished with 35 yards on six carries (5.8 YPC). He had the longest rush of the game for Vandy, 18 yards. Vandy's offensive line blocked well allowing just five tackles for a total of nine lost yards.

PASSING DEFENSE: C+
UMass quarterback Blake Frohnapfel completed 17-of-34 for 205 yards and one TD. Tajae Sharpe, an outstanding receiver, was his top target catching eight passes for 73 yards. Frohnapfel connected with fullback Ronald Mills from 13-yards out to give UMass an early 7-0 lead. Later in the same quarter Mills would catch a 53-yard pass from the punter to put the Minutemen up an unfathomable 14-0. Caleb Azubike had two sacks and Jonathan Wynn had one for the Commodores. For the third week in a row Vanderbilt has not garnered an interception but Tre Bell had two pass breakups.

RUSHING DEFENSE: B
Vanderbilt allowed UMass just 88 total yards rushing for the game. Lorenzo Woodley, who was not listed on the UMass depth chart before the game, led the Minutemen in rushing with 43 yards on 22 carries for pair of two yard rushing TDs. Linebackers Nigel Bowden and Azubike led the Commodores in tackles with seven. Azubike finished with three tackles for 17 total lost yards.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C
Vanderbilt failed on two 2-point conversions but successfully executed one on the last drive. Stephen Weatherly blocked a punt and returned it for a Commodore touchdown. However, Vandy gave up the touchdown off a fake punt and allowed a 74-yard kickoff return that put UMass in position to score a field goal. Colby Cooke continues to do a solid job punting. He had six go for an average of 42.3 yards with a long of 51. Half those were downed inside the UMass 20. Vandy attempted no field goals.

COACHING: C
Vandy again piled up on the penalties, nine total for 77 yards. There was a missed blocking assignment on the first 2-point conversion attempt. The coaches burned up one season of eligibility for a player by putting him in the game for a quarter and then pulling him. All this is indicates a lack of preparation, discipline and a glaring haphazardness to the season flow. Neither the players, or fans, have any idea what to expect next. Was this victory willed by the players and despite the coaches? Hopefully the coaches can get some kind of consistency going and do what is best for the team, not what guards their pride or is easiest for them.

OVERALL GRADE: B
A win is a win and is good medicine for a struggling program. Hopefully we've seen the last of the quarterback carousel. The offense showed some improvement. The defense, while some big plays were made, needs to get better and fast. You see, the South Carolina Gamecocks come calling on Saturday.

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