PASSING OFFENSE: A
A sparkling performance by Johnny McCrary completing 28-of-33 passes for 368 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. McCrary completed 11 passes that were over 15 yards (6 went to Trent Sherfield), five were for over 20 yards. McCrary's favorite target was Sherfield who set a school record with 240 receiving yards on 16 catches including one for a touchdown. Wade Freebeck came in late and completed two passes for 26 yards and an interception. Ralph Webb and Caleb Scott each caught three passes. One of Webb's receptions was for a 9-yard score late in the second quarter. DeAndre Woods had the longest reception of the game, a 43-yard catch in the second quarter. Vandy's blockers protected McCrary well, allowing no sacks.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B-
Vanderbilt gained 147 yards on 26 attempts (4.2 ypc) and scored four rushing TDs. Ralph Webb ran 15 times for 54 yards (3.6 ypc) and scored two TDs on the ground. Darrius Sims had two carries for 27 yards, most of that yardage came on a 26 yard scamper. Dallas Rivers carried 12 times for 25 yards and scored on a 2-yard run late in the fourth quarter. You'd think Vanderbilt could run for more than 147 yards against Austin Peay.
PASSING DEFENSE: B
Vandy's defense limited Austin Peay quarterback Trey Taylor to just 110 yards passing. Taylor completed 18-of-32 passes for 1 touchdown. Most of Taylor’s completions were for very short yardage. Taylor's touchdown pass came in the second quarter when he found a wide open Rashaan Coleman down the middle for a 14-yard scoring pass. Arnold Tarpley, Andrew Williamson and Charles Wright each had a sack for Vandy. Emmanuel Smith, Jahmel McIntosh and Taurean Ferguson each broke up a pass.
RUSHING DEFENSE: A
Derek Mason's defense follows a shut down the run first philosophy. Against APSU the Commodores did exactly that, limiting the Governors to just 34 rushing yards on 30 attempts (1.1 ypc). Starting Peay running back Kendall Morris was limited to just four yards on four attempts. Reserve running back Julian Franklin led the Governors with 18 yards on seven carries (2.6 ypc). He had the longest run of the game for a Governor running back, nine yards.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B
Tommy Openshaw had just one punt but it went 66 yards. Openshaw made field goals from 40 and 38 yards but missed a 50-yarder against the wind. Hayden Lekacz had nine kickoffs and five were for touchbacks. Ryan White had a 36-yard punt return that set Vandy up for its final TD but muffed a punt that resulted in the Peay TD. Torren McGaster had a 17 yard return. In the second half Vanderbilt's punt coverage team was called for roughing the kicker thanks to a nice acting job by the Peay punter. There were no significant kickoff returns for either team.
The team is still doing well in the penalty depart (7 for 50 yards) although we had one again in the first series of the game (on the defense). Vanderbilt still hasn't been able to get its running game going strong; just very mediocre to average. The defense is doing well with Mason calling the shots, allowing just an average of 12.7 points a game to opposing offenses (not including special teams and defensive scores). When you consider that two of the three offenses faced were the prolific WKU offense, along with UGA and Chubb, that isn't bad at all. The offense seems to be progressing nicely but needs to prove it can score more than 20 against a power conference team.
OVERALL GRADE: B
The team started slow but in the end did what was expected of it. Now the Commodores must build on this and take it on the road to what some services are saying is the No. 1 team in the nation. It's a game where Ole Miss will be mentally ripe for upset after a dream win at Bama. But the Dores have to play a complete game in all three phases of the game to have a chance.
Vanderbilt Report Card: Austin Peay
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