J2M Stars of the Games

Vanderbilt football in 2008 has been the epitome of "team," however, several players excelled during the Commodore's recent victory over Rice



CB/WR/PR #17
D.J. "The Band" Moore

For the 37,000 or so that attended tonight's game were witness to the great phenomenon which is DJ Moore. Just when you think what may be the greatest play DJ has made on the football field for the Commodores he does something else. The Rice Owls were no doubt expecting to see some of what DJ has to offer but what they got came as a surprise only to those who haven't been watching DJ tear it up for VU over his career. Last night all DJ did was carry the ball twice on offense for thirty seven yards, return two punts one of which was a whirling, juking, 67 yard masterpiece that fell just a yard short of becoming a score (Chris Nickson would sneak over center for the score a play later) and on defense as usual DJ was in lock down mode with four tackles, one interception returned for thirty seven yards and two quarterback hurries. DJ is making his case for that coveted All American status and at this point in the season only a fool would argue differently.


RB #31 Jared "JHawk" Hawkins

Beast. That is really all you can say about the running style of the 5' 11" 202lb tailback. Jared coming off of perhaps his best effort to date against South Carolina followed that up with an even more impressive effort against the Rice Owls. JHawk started the game with a fourteen yard gain and never looked back. Jhawk continues to be that go to guy Vanderbilt has lacked in the past in crucial yardage situations. I don't know the exact number of times that we have relied on Jared for a big run on third down but my guess is that it is getting up there. .Jared runs with down hill aggression and always delivers punishment on those who are willing to try and get in his way. Several over the course of the last two seasons have wondered what Jhawk would look like as a feature back and we are now starting to see what he can do in that role. JHawk finished up with 20 carries for 107 yards and the big Touchdown going into halftime that tied the game up 21-21. JHawk could have had an even bigger night had his fifty something run not been called back due to holding but even with out that large gain he still impressed with his 5.3 YPC average. Ole Miss look out.


CB #5 Myron Lewis

LB #11 Brent Trice

Over the course of Rice's first drive which ended with a score by Rice super receiver Jarret Dillard one thing became very clear……Rice had game. All through the first half Clement, Dillard and Mr do it all James Casey had a field day against our tough defense. Vanderbilt did manage to force a Chase Clement fumble but other than that Rice seemed to be in control offensively when the two teams left the field and headed to the locker rooms at half time. Just like the previous games great halftime adjustments were made and this weeks Stars of the game are a product of those changes.

Calling it difficult to control Mr Dillard and James Casey is an understatement. Casey is a big strong football player who lines up all over the field. Jarrett Dillard is west of the Mississippi's version of Earl Bennett. He usually ends up with double digit catches every where he goes. These two Owls went to half time thinking they had seen everything VU could throw at them …..think again.

The Commodore defense rose to the challenge and part of their strategy was to insert the speady Trice all over the field and turn him into a Chase Clement seaking missle. Trice shined in the role and caused constant pressure for the pass happy Clement and even secured a big sack of his own. The constant rattling of the Owls signal caller led to big plays from #5 Myron Lewis who managed to shut down Jarrett Dillard in the second half who he was pretty much matched up on the rest of the night. These two stars of the game played huge roles in shutting down the vaunted Rice offense which was averaging around forty five points a game. Myron Lewis may be lurking in the shadows a little bit on a team already with one All American cornerback in Moore but #5 is not far behind. Lewis final stats show just how big an impact he had on this game with ten total tackles (five solo) 2 sacks (are those his career first?) and great coverage against some very good receivers.


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