Key No. 1: Stop the option FAIL
Vanderbilt was unable to stop Yellow Jacket option attack. Vandy continually was burned on the pitch after the 'Dore over committed to the quarterback. Tech piled up 289 yards had multiple runs go for double digit yardage. The Commodores were also burned badly on two passes which went for a combined 158 yards and two touchdowns. Vandy did have some stops for losses (6) but the large chunks of yardage given up were just too much to overcome.
Key No. 2: Continue the momentum FAIL
Derek Mason is now 0-8 in games after a Commodore victory. Not sure what's going on with that. Maybe it's just a coincidence but if the team can never establish momentum during a season it doesn't bode well for the future. Vandy did answer Tech's very early score and competed in the first half but things came unraveled in the second half as the Jackets scored 21 straight points to put the game away early. Vandy was totally stifled on offense. The Commodores had 17 first downs and 275 yards, I know that's not great but we've seen worse. The problem on offense was two things: first, there were few explosive plays. The longest gain for Vandy during the game was a 22-yard completion by Wade Freebeck on the final Commodore possession of the game. Secondly, Vanderbilt couldn't sustain drives. The 'Dores were just four of 13 on third down conversions while Tech finished with eight of 15 conversions. That's not a good recipe for a VU victory.
Key No. 3: Winning special teams play PUSH
The Vandy special teams were not the reason the Commodores lost this game but they also didn't do anything spectacular. A blocked punt or field goal, for instance, might have changed some of the momentum that Tech had built. Vandy never attempted a field goal. The Commodore coverage teams were decent as were the return teams. Sam Loy continues to be solid at punter. Vandy special teams weren't bad but there were no game-changing plays either.
Vandy is still an unknown at this point, in my opinion. Yes, the butt whipping that Tech put on them was awful but many didn't see Vandy going down to Atlanta and coming home with a win. Keep in mind though that the last two weeks Vanderbilt has faced two very difficult offenses. For the option, you can either defend it or you can't and apparently Vandy can't. As for MTSU, Vanderbilt gave up a ton a yardage but it wasn't pretty last season either as Stockstill completed 32-of-51 passes for almost 300 yards, as a true freshman. In my opinion, the 'Dores aren't quite as good as we thought they were but at the same time, I don't believe they are as bad as many are thinking now.