Report Card: Vanderbilt vs. Tennessee

It's in the record books now. Tennessee 25 Vanderbilt 24. VandyMania.com analyzes every element of the Commodores's performance and assigns a grade to each area.


Vanderbilt
24

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Tennessee
25

AREA GRADE COMMENTS
PASSING OFFENSE
B
Mackenzi Adams played well and completed 14 of 26 passes for 139 yards and 3 touchdowns. George Smith, Brad Allen and Jeff Jennings all caught touchdown passes for Vanderbilt.
RUSHING OFFENSE
B-
A good effort by the Vanderbilt running backs. Cassen Jackson-Garrison had 83 yards rushing and should have had another win in his hometown. Jeff Jennings added 27 yards rushing.
PASSING DEFENSE
C
Erik Ainge was harassed throughout the first three quarters but he ultimately finished with 245 yards passing and 3 touchdowns in leading his team to a win. Vandy didn't have a sack but did finish with 3 quarterback hurries. Broderick Stewart also batted the ball out of Ainge's hand right before he threw it. Patrick Benoist made a heads up play to help Vandy get three more points just before halftime after Ainge threw a backwards pass that wasn't caught.
RUSHING DEFENSE
B
Vanderbilt limited UT to just 105 yards rushing, Arian Foster gained all of those. Jonathan Goff led the Commodores with 14 tackles.
SPECIAL TEAMS
C-
Vanderbilt's special teams played well until the second half. A roughing the punter call was devastating because it kept a UT drive alive and got the Vol's momentum going. Then a long punt return got the Vols the ball deep in Vandy territory when all they needed was field goal to win. Finally, Vanderbilt missed a field goal that could have won them the game in the last minute. Bryant Hahnfeldt had made an earlier field goal just before halftime. D.J. Moore almost broke it loose for a score after on the kickoff after the Vols had scored the go-ahead field goal.
COACHING
D
This staff has done a great job getting Vanderbilt to where they can compete in the SEC. Eleven points was all that separated Vanderbilt from a trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game. Bobby Johnson and his staff are now 5-22 in games decided by 7 points or less since he's been at Vandy. No team wins all the close games but this team has the talent now to win some of these close games. It's time to start winning those close games.
OVERALL GRADE
C+
It was a valiant effort by the Commodores in Knoxville. This team has battled three top 25 programs to the wire and beaten a top 10 program. While these close losses are obviously disappointing, this team can be the Vanderbilt team that ends the awful losing season streak by beating a tough Wake Forest team on Saturday. If they can do that they'll attain sacred status in the heart of Vanderbilt fans.

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