The Good, Bad, Ugly: Tennessee State

The Vanderbilt Commodores won their second straight game for the first time since 2013 with a 35-17 victory over Tennessee State. Here is a look at some of the Good, Bad, and Ugly from the game.


Commodores run wild. Vanderbilt piled up 358 yards rushing for four touchdowns. Two players, Ralph Webb and Khari Blasingame, continually slashed through the Tiger defense for a combined 225 yards. The two combined averaged nearly 10 yards a carry. Call me crazy but Blasingame reminds me more of Herschel Walker than anyone I've seen since Walker played. Webb was virtually unstoppable against the Tigers gaining 125 yards on just nine carries. Webb gained the vast majority of his yards on two runs, a 46 yards scamper in the first quarter and a 49-yard run up the middle in the third quarter. Darrius Sims and Josh Crawford also had nice games rushing.  Sims had 50 yards on five carries including a 33-yard jaunt in the second quarter. Crawford had 49 yards on six totes with a 20-yard run in the fourth quarter and a 14-yard gain in the third quarter. The Vanderbilt defense deserves mention here as well for tightening things up in the second half after it looked like TSU might score 40 points. Additionally, Tennessee State's band gave probably the best halftime performance ever by a band in Vanderbilt Stadium, and there have been a lot of great performances by the Spirit of Gold and other bands over the years. 


Early pass defense. On the second play of the game, a 96-yard touchdown pass was scored, which was a thing of beauty but the wrong team scored the touchdown. TSU quarterback Ronald Butler went on to pass for 189 yards in the first half. That number was cut to just 96 yards in the second half. That first long scoring pass was indeed bad. Consider that Florida managed just 13 points in four quarters on the same field against Vandy, yet, the FCS Tigers get 14 points in just a quarter.  It's crazy that non-SEC opponents have feasted on the VU defense for the most part even though the 'Dores have won 3-of-4 of those games. 


The "should have" and "could have" thinking after the game. Vanderbilt could very well be 6-2 or even 7-1 right now with a little more offense, luck or even just making a couple more plays on either side of the ball. Personal fouls (UF), dropped interceptions (numerous games), and long made field goals by the opposition (USC) all come to mind. Fans should also realize that the 'Dores could very well be 2-6 with a little more bad luck, missed plays and dumb penalties. Let's just be thankful that the team still has shot at going to a bowl and now gets a week to heal and prepare for an improving Auburn team. That game will match the wits of one of the best offensive coaches in the college game against one of the best defensive coaches.     

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