Report Card: Vanderbilt vs. Georgia

The game is over now: Georgia 34, Vanderbilt, 10.'s armchair quarterback analyzes every element of the Commodores' performance and assigns a grade to each area.




It looked good at times. The first drive of the second half looked sharp with Larry Smith making some nice completions. That's the way a no huddle offense should look. Vandy also had a 9-play, 61 yard drive where Smith looked sharp as well but that drive ended when VU failed to convert on a fourth-and-three conversion. Other times Smith looked way off target. One time he threw three passes in a row that were uncatchable. Mackenzi Adams looked sharp in the fourth quarter. He completed 6-of-8 passes and just missed Jamie Graham in the end zone for a possible score.
We knew Georgia had a pretty good rushing defense. It has been their passing defense that has given up so many points this season. However, Vandy could get little done through the air and even less done on the ground. Warren Norman was the top gainer for VU with just 52 yards. Larry Smith had the longest gain of the day at 21 yards on a nice run.
Joe Cox had a very good game passing, completing 16-of-31 passes for 226 yards two touchdowns and an interception. His first quarter 65-yard pass to A.J. Green, a play in which the ball was only really thrown 10 yards, was a back-breaker and sort of set tempo for the entire game. Casey Hayward had the lone Commodore interception on a nice play in the end zone.
Vandy just gave up too many yards rushing to the Bulldogs, especially in the second half when Georgia wore the Commodores down. Although no Georgia runner piled up the yardage, five different Georgia players had runs of nine yards or more. Chris Marve and Patrick Benoist each had 9 tackles to lead Vandy.
Prince Miller had two punt returns for 95 yards, both returns put Georgia deep in Vandy territory when they could have been backed up in their own territory. Ryan Fowler made a 41-yard field goal. I think he's going to be fine as a Vanderbilt kicker. Brett Upson did well punting finishing with a 46-yard average on seven punts. He also had a 7-yard run for a VU first down on a rare VU fake punt. Vanderbilt got an apparent blocked field goal in the first half but "leaping" was called on John Stokes, giving UG a second attempt from 15 yards closer which they made. Vandy opponents are now an impressive 13-of-13 on the season in field goal attempts.
I was happy with some of the stuff I saw. The no-huddle looked good on the one scoring drive and the other drive I mentioned earlier. I was happy to see the fake punt and to see Mackenzi Adams get some plays. Although they didn't make it, the coaches went for it on fourth down once. It seemed like they were doing everything they could to win. I wish there would have been this sense of urgency in some of the earlier games.
This was by far the worst performance by Vanderbilt of the season. The defensive collapse is particularly disturbing. Georgia offense had little difficulty against the Commodore defenders, kind of reminded me of VU football in the late 1980s. I hope it was just Georgia and not our guys giving up. Now the team must get ready for a tough South Carolina team that will be excited about possibly becoming bowl eligible. A lot of people will expect Spurrier and his boys to blow Vandy out but stranger things have happened and that's why the still play the game.

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