Penalties and Turnovers End Vandy's Streak

The Commodores hit their first road block of the season on Saturday when they lost 17-14 to the Mississippi State Bulldogs in Starkville. Vandy won their first five games of the season by winning the turnover, field position, and penalty battles. Those very same battles were the reason that they lost game number six.

"All the things we were doing when we won five games, we didn't do a very good job with today. That's just the difference between winning and losing, especially when we take on teams with a lot of talent like Mississippi State. We had too many penalties, dropped balls, and too many missed tackles. We couldn't seem to make the big play and that's what seems to happen to you when you don't win. We will try to bounce back. Our guys are pretty resilient and our coaching staff will be too. It is tough to be that close and not get a win," Coach Bobby Johnson said after the game.

The Bulldogs opened the game with a 12 play 64 yard drive that ended with a 33-yard field goal by Adam Carlson. The Dores had some trouble stopping the run on that first drive, but made the proper adjustments because the Bulldogs would not score another point in the first half.

The Commodores got their first points of the game in the second quarter on a 1 yard run by quarterback Chris Nickson. Nickson had a rough afternoon going 3 for 10 through the air with and interception and 12 carries for 7 yards. The coaching staff eventually went with Mackenzi Adams, who led the Black and Gold on their second scoring drive, but also struggled in the game going 5 for 9 with an interception.

The quarterback play did not help things on the afternoon, but the real reason the Commodores lost the game was because of the battles they lost in other phases of the game. The Bulldogs first field goal came after an offside penalty erased a blocked field goal. Their first touchdown came after a Brett Upson punt that covered just 28 yards and gave the Bulldogs the ball at their 41 yard line. Mississippi State's final score of the afternoon came on Nickson's interception that gave the Bulldogs the ball at Vandy's seven yard line.

Vandy also needed a big return from D.J. Moore, but he was only able to average 6.7 yards per punt return. The Bulldogs did a good job of swarming him whenever he touched the ball.

"5 -1 is not a bad record as far as I know. We just got to play harder, " Reshard Langford said after the game. He is right. The most important thing for Vanderbilt at this point is to put this game behind them and get ready for their trip to Athens next Saturday. This loss hurts, but it does not end any of the goals that this team set for themselves. All they have to do is get back to the things that made them successful in the first five games, and they can still accomplish those goals.


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