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Vanderbilt 45, Arkansas 31: Finally, the Commodores capitalized on mistakes

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In a high-scoring game, Vanderbilt broke serve a couple of times.

Vanderbilt v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Five Factors

Five Factors Vanderbilt Arkansas
Five Factors Vanderbilt Arkansas
Plays 66 65
Total Yards 444 447
Yards Per Play 6.73 6.88
Rushing Attempts 44 27
Rushing Yards 276 215
Rushing YPP 6.27 7.96
Passing Attempts 22 38
Passing Yards 168 232
Passing YPP 7.64 6.11
Rushing Success Rate 52.27% 51.85%
Passing Success Rate 50.00% 36.84%
Success Rate 51.52% 43.08%
Avg. Field Position 33.3 23.4
PP40 6.43 6.2
Turnovers 0 2

So, a few quick words to start. While the Five Factors box score looks fairly even, if you toss out Arkansas’s final drive of the game (which started with 1:20 left and Vanderbilt up by 21), Arkansas averaged 6.41 yards per play, 5.06 passing the ball, and had a 41.4 percent success rate. Those numbers are probably more in line with what we saw.

Anyway, the two teams were relatively evenly matched. Both offenses spent most of the day moving the ball at will; the difference was that Vanderbilt broke serve in the second quarter, with Joejuan Williams getting an interception to set up a score. Aside from that, Vanderbilt never quite figured out how to stop the Arkansas run game, but got just enough stops to build a two-touchdown lead and force the Razorbacks to throw the ball — which didn’t go particularly well. Vanderbilt had a significant field position advantage thanks almost entirely to three drives that started on the Arkansas side of the 50: two resulting from interceptions, and a third following Arkansas going three-and-out on a drive that started on its own 16. Both teams converted all of their scoring chances, and each team converted all but one of its scoring chances into a touchdown. (If you’re curious, Arkansas’s missed field goal at the end of the first half technically doesn’t count as a “scoring chance” because the Razorbacks attempted it from 60 yards; you have to get a first down inside the 40 to qualify it as a scoring chance, though scoring plays from outside the range are also counted.)

In short, this game was decided at the margins, and for once the margins favored Vanderbilt. Now this comes with the caveat that this came against easily the SEC’s worst team; it’s conceivable that Vanderbilt could play much as it did on Saturday for the next three games and finish with three losses. But a win is a win.

Passing

Passing Comp Att Comp % Yds TD INT Sacks Yds Lost Net Yds Success Rate YPP
Passing Comp Att Comp % Yds TD INT Sacks Yds Lost Net Yds Success Rate YPP
Kyle Shurmur 13 19 68.40% 172 2 0 3 24 148 50.00% 6.7

Receiving

Receiving Targets Catches Yds TD Catch Rate Yds/Target Yds/Catch Success Rate
Receiving Targets Catches Yds TD Catch Rate Yds/Target Yds/Catch Success Rate
Kalija Lipscomb 7 4 44 0 57.10% 6.3 11 42.86%
Jared Pinkney 6 5 93 2 83.30% 15.5 18.6 66.67%
Khari Blasingame 2 2 42 0 100.00% 21 21 100.00%
C.J. Bolar 2 1 8 0 50.00% 4 8 50.00%
Chris Pierce 1 1 5 0 100.00% 5 5 100.00%
Ke'Shawn Vaughn 1 0 0 0 0.00% 0 N/A 0.00%

Kyle Shurmur didn’t have a great day, but I don’t really have too much to complain about there. Sacks were suddenly an issue, but Vanderbilt also got some big plays from the passing game. Jared Pinkney and Khari Blasingame had some huge catches; Kalija Lipscomb wasn’t as much of a factor as he usually is, but he moved the sticks a few times.

Rushing

Rushing Att Yds YPA TD Success Success Rate
Rushing Att Yds YPA TD Success Success Rate
Ke'Shawn Vaughn 26 172 6.6 3 12 46.15%
Khari Blasingame 9 46 5.1 1 6 66.67%
Jamauri Wakefield 3 22 7.3 0 1 33.33%
Ja'Veon Marlow 2 22 11 0 2 100.00%
Mo Hasan 2 11 5.5 0 2 100.00%
Kyle Shurmur 1 2 2 0 0 0.00%
Kalija Lipscomb 1 1 1 0 0 0.00%

It only took nine games for it to happen, but Vanderbilt finally gave up on the “running back by committee” approach and just gave Ke’Shawn Vaughn the damn ball, and, well, you see the stat line. Five of Khari Blasingame’s nine carries came on Vanderbilt’s final drive; Jamauri Wakefield and Ja’Veon Marlow each had a good run, but any argument that Vaughn should not be getting the lion’s share of carries should probably end now.

What’s Next

Vanderbilt finally has the bye week, then heads to Missouri on November 10. Game time and television coverage should be announced on Monday.