PASSING OFFENSE: D-
Vanderbilt quarterback Johnny McCrary completed 21 of 42 passes for 177 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. It's possible that at least one of the interceptions wasn't totally on him, however, there were at least two other of his passes that should have been picked. He was sacked three times and fumbled once when back in the pocket. McCrary threw a 4-yard scoring pass to Caleb Scott late in the second quarter to give the 'Dores a 7-6 lead. Just way too many picks for a 'C' grade here.
RUSHING OFFENSE: C
Commodore runners gained 155 yards on 35 carries (4.4 ypc) with Darrius Sims surprisingly leading the way with six rushes for 104 yards and an amazing 17.3 yards per rush. Again and again Sims slashed through the Gamecock defense who had no answer for him. Ralph Webb had 16 carries for 58 yards with a long run of 21 yards but had a rare fumble which he lost. While Sims performed well, 155 yards is not a stellar performance, especially against a team like USC which is reeling from a coaching change and natural disaster along with a poor football record.
PASSING DEFENSE: C
Vanderbilt limited sophomore former walkon QB Perry Orth to 17 of 28 completions for 272 yards, an interception and a touchdown. With Vanderbilt leading 10-6 in the third quarter Vandy defender (Burks) lost track of Pharoh Cooper in the middle who caught a short pass and then sprinted 78 yards to a Gamecock TD. Vanderbilt would never lead again. Jahmel McIntosh made his second interception of the season in the fourth quarter. Stephen Weatherly had a quarterback hurry to help force the McIntosh interception. Adam Butler and Zach Cunningham each had a sack for the Commodores.
RUSHING DEFENSE: B
Commodore defenders allowed the Gamecocks 152 yards on 37 carries (4.1 ypc). Starting running back Brandon Wilds gained 119 yards on 24 carries (5.0 ypc). David Williams, his backup, gained 49 yards on seven carries (7.0 ypc). That's way too many yards per carry but the defense gets some credit here for forcing four field goals. Zach Cunningham again led the Dores with 12 tackles, four of them for losses. Stephen Weatherly recovered a fumble.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B
Tommy Openshaw averaged 38.2 yards on six punts and downed three inside the 20. He made his only field goal attempt, a 23-yard boot in the third quarter. Darrius Sims had a 20 yard kickoff return. Vandy coverage teams were pretty solid.
The team seemed to have regressed to its season opening form, especially on offense. The new glitch (Sims running the ball) worked quite well. The Gamecocks had a very hard time stopping him. Why didn't he run more? Penalties were bad but I don't nessessarily put this on the coaches. I think the refs may have had compassion for what the South Carolina folks have endured. You'd understand what I mean if you had seen the pre game ceromonies honoring the emergency services workers. Vandy has been pretty decent in the penalty department this season. Still waiting on that Vandy 20 point offensive explosion versus an FBS opponent.
OVERALL GRADE: C
The 'C' grade probably should have been lower but really, this USC team is not that bad of a team and they were highly motivated. They were bad according to Steve Spurrier standards. Halfway through the season this Vandy team is not really much better than it was at the start of the season. Still having problems scoring while making it hard for the opponents to score on Vandy. Good coaches see that their teams improve as the season goes on. Good coaches also would have eliminated a lot of the poor play we've seen, earlier in spring practice.