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Alabama 59, Vanderbilt 0: A horror show in numerical form

All the numbers you needed to see to know what your eyeballs already told you.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Vanderbilt Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
FIVE FACTORS Vanderbilt Alabama
Plays 38 89
Total Yards 79 683
Yards Per Play 2.08 7.67
Rushing Attempts 16 61
Rushing Yards 41 509
Rushing YPP 2.56 8.34
Passing Attempts 22 28
Passing Yards 38 174
Passing YPP 1.73 6.21
Rushing Success Rate 12.50% 63.93%
Passing Success Rate 4.55% 46.43%
Success Rate 7.89% 58.43%
Avg. Field Position 21.0 35.1
PP40 N/A 5.36
Turnovers 2 0

Going into Saturday, we thought that if Vanderbilt brought its A-game and Alabama didn’t, Vanderbilt had a chance. If Vanderbilt brought its A-game and Alabama also brought its A-game, Vanderbilt was probably going to lose.

And if Alabama brought its A++-game and Vanderbilt brought something considerably less than its A-game, you got ... well, that.

I didn’t really want to do the Statistical today, mostly because I’d rather simply forget that that game even happened, but the Five Factors box score shows just how complete this loss was. The “N/A” next to points per trip inside the 40 is a nice touch, because Vanderbilt didn’t come anywhere close to scoring in this game. The closest Vanderbilt came to scoring came on the game’s first drive, when a pass bounced off the fingertips of Jared Pinkney and into the hands of Alabama’s Ronnie Harrison for Kyle Shurmur’s first interception of the season. Alabama actually didn’t score on the ensuing possession, as the Tide’s drive stalled when Tre Herndon sacked Jalen Hurts and knocked them out of field goal range, but after Vanderbilt got a three-and-out on a drive that started on its own 4-yard line, you kind of knew where this was going.

About the only good thing you can say about yesterday is that when Vanderbilt could force Jalen Hurts to throw, he wasn’t that good at it. The bad news, of course, is that Vanderbilt wasn’t forcing Jalen Hurts to throw much (and even this minor positive went out the window once backup Tua Tagovailoa entered the game, suggesting the Crimson Tide might have a quarterback controversy on their hands.) Alabama ran the ball 61 times for an average of 8.34 yards per play, and even that number looks low thanks to the Tide not really trying to score on their final drive of the game. Alabama completely dominated field position (it helps when you have the country’s best punter doing your kickoffs) and converted basically all of their scoring chances (all 11 of them) into points, with only two drives coming up empty — and, uh, one of those was only because Alabama decided to take a knee on 1st-and-goal at the Vanderbilt 3.

If you want to put a positive spin on this, Alabama tends to have a game like this once or twice a year and it’s frequently against a good team. Last year, Alabama beat USC 52-6; USC ended the season in the Rose Bowl. In 2014, it was a 59-0 win over Texas A&M, which finished the season 8-5. Whatever goals you had going into the season are still very much in play.

PASSING Comp Att Comp % Yds TD INT Sacks Yds Lost Net Yds Success Rate YPP
Deuce Wallace 3 7 42.9% 20 0 0 0 0 20 14.29% 2.9
Kyle Shurmur 4 15 26.7% 18 0 1 0 0 18 0.00% 1.2

So, yeah. Kyle Shurmur completed his first two passes of the game, then threw an interception on a ball that frankly should have been caught. And then, well, it’s pretty incredible to look at how quickly things unraveled. And yes, you’re reading that right: Shurmur had a 0 percent success rate on dropbacks. That’s even more jarring in light of the fact that he didn’t get sacked at all.

Deuce Wallace came on in the second half and did all right under the circumstances (albeit against Alabama’s backups), but never really did anything to move the offense. So at the very least there’s no quarterback controversy.

RUSHING Att Yds YPA TD Success Rate
Ralph Webb 6 20 3.3 0 16.67%
Khari Blasingame 7 15 2.1 0 14.29%
Jamauri Wakefield 2 6 3.0 0 0.00%
Kyle Shurmur 1 0 0.0 0 0.00%

Vanderbilt abandoned the running game early and that’s reflected in the stats: nobody got more than 7 carries and the longest running play of the day was nine yards.

And, well, Vanderbilt had more success running the ball than throwing it.

RECEIVING Targets Catches Yds TD Catch Rate Yds/Target Yds/Catch Success Rate
Trent Sherfield 2 2 14 0 100.00% 7.0 7.0 0.00%
Donaven Tennyson 2 2 14 0 100.00% 7.0 7.0 50.00%
Khari Blasingame 2 1 6 0 50.00% 3.0 6.0 0.00%
Ralph Webb 3 1 3 0 33.33% 1.0 3.0 0.00%
C.J. Duncan 3 1 1 0 33.33% 0.3 1.0 0.00%
Jared Pinkney 2 0 0 0 0.00% 0.0 #DIV/0! 0.00%
Kalija Lipscomb 2 0 0 0 0.00% 0.0 #DIV/0! 0.00%
Caleb Scott 1 0 0 0 0.00% 0.0 #DIV/0! 0.00%
Sam Dobbs 1 0 0 0 0.00% 0.0 #DIV/0! 0.00%
Nathan Marcus 2 0 0 0 0.00% 0.0 #DIV/0! 0.00%
Jamauri Wakefield 1 0 0 0 0.00% 0.0 #DIV/0! 0.00%

Did I mention that Vanderbilt’s passing game was virtually nonexistent on Saturday? But hey, at least Donaven Tennyson showed up in garbage time.


  • To sum up the day for the defense, LaDarius Wiley had eight solo tackles and six assisted tackles; Ryan White had seven solo tackles and six assisted. If your safeties are getting in on that many tackles, you’re probably not having a good day.
  • In fact, the secondary actually was the lone bright spot for Vanderbilt. We mentioned that Alabama couldn’t really get the passing game going until the second half. Tre Herndon had a sack (the only one of the game for either team.) But the large number of tackles made by the secondary is much more indicative of this just being a brutal day for Vanderbilt’s front seven than anything else.
  • I admit to turning the game off after the first quarter, but the Twitters were suggesting there might be some changes coming on the offensive line. Which, considering how the run game has looked for four games, that’s probably needed.

What’s Next

Vanderbilt will have to get over this one pretty quickly as the Commodores head to Florida on Saturday for a nooner (11 AM CT) on ESPN.

Look, I don’t want to try to downplay how bad this was, but there are still eight games left to play and Vanderbilt could very well rally the troops and win eight games. It’s fair to sound the alarm bells if Vanderbilt can’t do anything to slow down Florida’s offense — which, you know, isn’t good — but for now, we’ll just treat this about like Vanderbilt lost to an NFL team.

Which... well, they pretty much did.