Jordan Rodgers's first start as a Commodore was a successful one. He led Vanderbilt to a 44-21 win over Army at Homecoming Saturday night.
Rodgers's passing was better than it was against Georgia, but he still finished with a disappointing 10-27 passing line, 186 yards through the air, and two interceptions. He often missed open receivers downfield and let big play opportunities dissipate throughout the night. Despite this, he averaged 18.6 yards per completion thanks to some big plays from Chris Boyd, Jonathan Krause, and Wesley Tate. His ability to create plays through his scrambling was on display all night, as he ran for 95 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries for the night.
Boyd and Tate emerged as Rodgers's top targets throughout the night. Boyd proved that he's a high-level receiver by using his size and speed to create openings downfield. He had four catches for 90 yards and made a strong case for becoming this team's number one receiver. Tate was another effective target throughout the night, catching three passes.
The 'Dores blew open the game with a 24-point run in the second and third quarters that put Army on the ropes. Rodgers, Zac Stacy, and Jerron Seymour all rushed for touchdowns during a stretch that put Vanderbilt up 37-6 on the Golden Knights. Stacy's touchdown was his second on the night, but not his last. He'd add another on a 55 yard run in the fourth quarter to effectively seal the Vandy win. Stacy finished the game with a personal best 198 yards on the ground in another very solid effort for the junior tailback.
Vanderbilt held Army's vaunted running defense to 266 yards on the night. That doesn't sound like much of an accomplishment until you figure in the Black Knights' triple-option offense and their NCAA-leading 361 rushing yards per game. Larry Dixon led the team with 91 rushing yards, including a 57 yard dash that kept Vandy fans nervous through the third quarter.
The win brings the 'Dores within two victories of a bowl bid. The team is now 4-3 (1-3 SEC) on the season. They'll have to maintain the momentum of this big offensive output next week when they face #10 Arkansas at Dudley Field.