Vanderbilt Report Card: Old Dominion

Vanderbilt beat Old Dominion 42-28 on Saturday night at Vanderbilt Stadium.'s Don Yates grades the Commodores' performance in several key team areas.

Johnny McCrary was solid in his second start completing 20 of 29 passes for 281 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. McCrary's TD completions went to five different receivers including Davis Dudchock, Nathan Marcus, Steven Scheu, C.J. Duncan and Latevius Rayford. McCrary's last scoring pass, which went to Duncan, was perhaps the most impressive. On the right side of the field, Duncan barely made contact with the ball with his finger tips but was able to tip the ball back towards himself. He then secured the ball and ran untouched for the score. In actual receptions, Rayford led the team with 5, Duncan had 4; Scheu and Marcus each had 3. Caleb Scott, Chandler Dorrell, and Jerron Seymour all each had one catch. Scott's reception was an impressive 39-yard catch. Vandy's blockers allowed one sack that came during the disastrous trick play that resulted in a turnover.

Vanderbilt was nearly unstoppable running the ball. The Commodores gained a healthy 243 yards on 56 carries. Ralph Webb had the best game of his young Commodore career gaining 166 yards on 31 carries (5.4 YPC). He appears to be back to his early season form. Dallas Rivers had 17 carries for 73 yards (4.3 YPC). Trent Sherfield, who seemed to have vanished since a 25-yard run earlier in the season, had two carries for 12 yards. The one snafu during the game was the fumbled hand-off from McCrary to Webb that gifted ODU a touchdown.

Overall defensively, Vanderbilt held the Monarchs to just 336 total yards. Just one team, undefeated Marshall, has held ODU to a lower number (286). By contrast, NC State gave up 504 yards, Rice 530, WKU 643, and MTSU 403. Vanderbilt was effective slowing down the Monarch passing attack. Highly regarded quarterback Taylor Heinicke completed 21-of-36 for 291 yards, one interception and two touchdowns. That one interception was made by Taurean Ferguson. Kyle Woestmann, Ja'karri Thomas, Zach Cunningham and Andrew Williamson (2) all had pass breakups.

The Monarchs ran the ball just 12 times. Going for it on fourth-and-1 in the second quarter Kyle Woestmann stuffed Ray Lawry for a 2 yard loss. Heinicke had the longest run of the game, a desperate scramble for 18 yards late in the contest. That lone run made him the top rusher for ODU. Lawry had eight carries for 12 yards (1.5 YPC). Defensive backs Torren McGaster and Ja'Karri Thomas led the 'Dores in tackles with five each.

Vandy didn't attempt a field goal. Colby Cooke (43 yards) and Taylor Hudson (42 yards) each had one punt. Darrius Sims had one kickoff return but he stumbled and fell, fumbling but the play was reviewed and the ground caused the fumble. Vandy had no punt returns. Vandy's coverage unit did allow one 45-yard kickoff return by Cam Boyd.

The team still seems to be improving. The defense performed well, McCrary seems to be coming along fine. The staff showed some competitiveness by going for it on fourth down three times, once deep in Vandy territory. This should give every Vandy fan hope. Not sure why they felt the need to run a trick play on third-and-6, the play that resulted in a fumble. However, it's good to see they are putting in some of those kinds of plays. Maybe it'll work next time.

No, Old Dominion isn't a Georgia, Florida or Missouri but it was a refreshing win over a dangerous team. I think Vandy fans really enjoyed watching their team outscore a team that has scored so many points this season, something Vandy has struggled to do. Hopefully the team will continue to improve and maybe knock off one or more of these last three SEC opponents.

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