After more than two seasons as Vanderbilt’s head coach, Derek Mason has never seen a winning record. He lost another opportunity to climb to the happy side of .500 on Saturday when Georgia Tech sliced through the Commodore defense en route to a 38-7 win.
The Yellow Jackets’ flexbone option kept Vandy on its toes all day; Tech rumbled to 511 total yards against an underprepared Commodore team. Kyle Shurmur took a step forward with a 17-26, 149-yard performance, but his offense ultimately failed to live up to last week’s standards in defeat.
Georgia Tech wasted no time taking the lead. The Yellow Jackets’ first play of the game was an 81-yard touchdown pass from Justin Thomas to Marcus Marshall. Shurmur had a response; he led the ‘Dores 75-yards to tie the game at 7-all after finding Kalija Lipscomb in the end zone after Tech’s secondary lost the freshman wideout in coverage.
However, it wasn’t just the Yellow Jackets’ passing game that baffled the Vandy defense. Tech’s flexbone option carved through the Commodores en route to a 64-yard scoring drive capped by a 15-yard touchdown run from Dedrick Mills. This shootout pace wouldn’t last. The two teams exchanged seven straight punts before Harrison Butker added a 41-yard field goal to make the score 17-7 at the half.
Shurmur came out of the locker room with momentum. He completed three straight passes to lead the ‘Dores into GT territory, but a potential scoring drive was snuffed out when Khari Blasingame was stopped short on a 4th-and-1 run at the 28-yard line. Tech came back strong, turning back to its option offense and converting three third downs on a 72-yard jaunt that extended its lead to 24-7.
One Vandy three-and-out later, Georgia Tech needed only five plays to cover 64 yards and make it 31-7. Dedrick Mills struck the death blow this time, crashing into the end zone for his third touchdown of the day from five yards out.
The Commodores’ fortunes turned on their ensuing drive — Shurmur passed for a first down — but another Sam Loy punt set up the Yellow Jackets for a 77-yard touchdown pass on third-and-12 from backup quarterback Matthew Jordan to Clinton Lynch. Tech had another scoring opportunity soon afterward when Shurmur’s wobbling pass was picked off by Dorian Walker and returned 64 yards to the Vandy 9. Fortunately for the ‘Dores, Taurean Ferguson rose up to intercept an ill-advised fade route in the end zone to keep his team within 31.
Wade Freebeck saw action in his second game of the season in mop-up duty once the result was no longer in question. He completed three of five passes in relief.