Vanderbilt Report Card: Georgia

Vanderbilt fell to Georgia 31-14 on Saturday at Vanderbilt Stadium. VandyMania.com's Don Yates grades the Commodores' performance in several key team areas.

PASSING OFFENSE: D+
Vanderbilt gained 295 yards through the air on 24 of 50 completions for one touchdown and three interceptions by Johnny McCrary. There were some good things here but there were also some really bad things. It should be obvious to the staff that McCrary doesn't make wise decisions. He throws to the wrong team. He throws when he should run. Running is always safer than passing, just ask Georgia. For the second game in a row McCrary threw reckless passes that were intercepted. Some others were thankfully not picked off. Last week McCrary waited too long to throw at open receivers, this week he fired off passes into double coverage. On the positive side, McCrary did have some decent passes. He had ten completions that went for over 10 yards. One went for 44 yards to Trent Sherfield in the fourth quarter. Ralph Webb and Latevius Rayford were McCrary's top targets, each with seven catches. Rayford scored Vandy's only touchdown of the game on a 7-yard reception from McCrary late in the fourth quarter. Vanderbilt gave up three sacks in the first half. True freshman offensive lineman Justin Skule saw extensive action in the second half and was sound except for tripping Webb on one play.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C-
Vanderbilt has got to get more out of its running game. For the game the Commodores ran 39 times for 105 yards. Ralph Webb averaged just 2.7 yards per carry, on 25 carries for a total of 68 yards. No one on the team ran for more than 20 yards. For the second week in a row Vanderbilt often tested the middle of an opposing line with little success. The good news is that the running attack hasn't lost a fumble in two games. Against WKU the team lost one fumble due to a special teams blunder.

PASSING DEFENSE: B
For the second week in a row Vandy's passing defense was solid. The Commodores limited Georgia to just 141 yards passing on 25 attempts. Oren Burks broke up two passes to lead the Commodores defense. Three other Commodores, Torren McGaster, Taureen Ferguson, and Jonathan Wynn, each had a pass breakup. Unfortunately, one of Burks' breakups should have been an easy interception if he had not dropped the ball. Georgia would score a touchdown on the next play. Defensive lineman Jay Woods had a big sack in the third quarter against his home state school.

RUSHING DEFENSE: D
Vanderbilt just gave up too many yards to the Bulldogs who gained 281 yards on 41 carries (6.9 ypc). The Commodores did succeed in keeping Nick Chubb out of the end zone but he still gained 189 yards on 19 carries (9.9 ypc). He had runs of 68, 17, 21, 15 and 29 yards. Vandy did better with his backup Sony Michel who gained 56 yards on 12 carries (4.7 ypc). Michel scored the only touchdown by a Bulldog running back when he broke several tackles during a 31-yard second quarter run.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C
Tommy Openshaw punted six times for a 45 yard average with a long of 56 yards. He also made two of three field goals making attempts from 47 and 41 yards while missing a kick from 43 yards that bounced off an upright. Hayden Lekacz executed nicely on a pooch on side kick late in the game. The ball was recovered by Oren Burks and Vandy had a shot of pulling to within a score of the Bulldogs because of it. A low snap on a punt in the first quarter was fielded by Openshaw and ran for 13 yards and a Commodore first down. This is the second week in a row there has been an incident with long snapping. Last week it resulted in a missed field goal that might have been the difference in the game. This week the team was more fortunate because of Openshaw's heady play and quick feet. Vanderbilt's coverage teams allowed the disastrous 88-yard punt return in the first quarter. Darrius Sims had a 27-yard kickoff return for Vanderbilt.

COACHING: C
The costly interceptions continue for Vanderbilt. Apparently not much was done to fix this problem after it appeared in the opener. Johnny McCrary is not a true freshmen but he makes worse decisions than many true freshmen I've seen playing at quarterback. Good job on penalties for the second week in a row. Just four penalties for 20 yards. Vanderbilt converted on seven of 21 third downs and three of four fourth downs. We've seen a lot worse from Vanderbilt. Red zone performance has to improve if the team is to have a shot at winning some games down the road.

OVERALL GRADE: C
Very similar to Western Kentucky in many respects. The late Vandy touchdown score, two point conversion attempts, strong performance by the defense, interceptions by opponent, lack of Commodore turnovers gained, etc. Mason said in his post-game comments that they'll look at changing the tempo since McCrary seems to do well with up tempo offense. Whatever they do, they need to cut down on the interceptions and increase the number of Commodore scores.

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