Report Card: Vanderbilt vs. Auburn

It's in the record books now. Auburn 35 Vanderbilt 7. analyzes every element of the Commodores' performance and assigns a grade to each area.




Starter Chris Nickson completed only 5 of 16 passes for 38 yards. Most of his incompletions weren't even close. Backups Mackenzi Adams and Richard Kovalcheck showed better accuracy but the game was already out of reach. Earl Bennett was limited to 4 catches but broke the school record for career receiving formerly held by Boo Mitchell.
It wasn't spectacular but Vandy had enough success on the ground that if the passing game would have been working they would have had a chance to make a game of it and keep the defense off the field. Cassen Jackson-Garrison, Jeff Jennings and Jared Hawkins combined for 128 yards. Jackson-Garrison scored Vandy's only touchdown late in the game on a 1-yard run.
Auburn quarterback Brandon Cox ripped the VU secondary to shreds, completing 14 of 17 passes for 165 yards and 1 touchdown. Myron Lewis provided one of the only bright spots for the secondary when he intercepted a Cox pass late in the game. Patrick Benoist, who has seen little action this season due to injury, had Vanderbilt's only sack of day. It's good to see him back.
Auburn rushers ran at will all day through the Vanderbilt defense. Auburn's offensive line, full of true freshmen, pushed the veteran Vanderbilt defense around all day. Ben Tate, Brad Lester, Mario Fannin and others combined for 239 yards and 4 touchdowns rushing for the Tigers.
The Commodore special teams held their own on Saturday. Auburn finished with -2 yards total returns on 6 Vanderbilt punts. Brett Upson is improving; he put two punts inside Auburn 20-yard line and finished with a 33.7 net punting yards, which is about 5 yards over the Commodore average prior to this game. He had a 50-yard punt during the game. D.J. Moore had a nice 49-yard kickoff return.
Vanderbilt's offense seemed very predictable. Sure the offensive coordinator was missing but the quarterback's coach should have been trained to fill in this capacity. The starting quarterback was way off, as in previous games, and the staff waited until the game was out of reach to pull him. The Commodore defense had no answer for Auburn's offense, which is unusual because normally the defense tightens up after the first quarter. They did hold Auburn to just 7 points in the second half but that was when Auburn had called off the dogs.
Pretty ugly game for Vandy with very few bright spots. There's good and bad news. The good news is despite the lopsided score it only counts as one loss. The bad news? Vandy lost. In the old days the Vandy camp would have been happy with some kind of morale victory. The new Vandy camp will not accept any loss, even by 1-point. They expect to win. Bad games happen though, just ask VU's next opponent, Georgia. If the Commodores can fix the offensive blunders and put some new wrinkles in they might have a shot at picking up their second straight win over the Bulldogs. Top Stories