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Vanderbilt 41, Nevada 10: Straight domination

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The Commodores made some mistakes... and won by 31.

NCAA Football: Nevada at Vanderbilt Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Five Factors

Five Factors Box Score Vanderbilt Nevada
Five Factors Box Score Vanderbilt Nevada
Plays 72 64
Total Yards 470 247
Yards Per Play 6.53 3.86
Rushing Attempts 37 22
Rushing Yards 207 54
Rushing YPP 5.59 2.45
Passing Attempts 35 42
Passing Yards 263 193
Passing YPP 7.51 4.6
Rushing Success Rate 40.50% 40.90%
Passing Success Rate 48.60% 35.70%
Success Rate 44.40% 37.50%
Avg. Field Position 39.3 24.8
PP40 4.1 2.5
Turnovers 2 4

VUCommodores: Vandy powers past Nevada

Tennessean: Vanderbilt football rips Nevada and now... bring on Notre Dame?

Team Speed Kills: Vanderbilt takes care of Nevada in Nashville

Reno Gazette Journal: A long, frustrating second half dooms Nevada in Nashville

It’s not every day that Vanderbilt wins a football game by a score of 41-10 and you think the final margin could have been a lot bigger than it was.

And yet, that described the Commodores’ win over Nevada on Saturday. Vanderbilt dominated every phase of the game. The Commodores’ offense was pretty efficient, with a success rate of 44.4%, but even more impressive was Vanderbilt’s ability to rip off big chunks of yardage. Vanderbilt ran 72 plays, and 20 of those went for 10 yards or more. Nevada ran 64 plays, and only 8 went for 10 or more yards — and the Wolf Pack didn’t have a single running play that went longer than 9 yards (Vanderbilt had 7!) That led to Vanderbilt having a huge advantage in yards per play, 6.5 to 3.9. And the Commodores had a massive edge in starting field position — solid special teams play was a factor, but so were three drives that started on the other side of the 50, all the result of Nevada turnovers.

Oh yeah, and 10 of Vanderbilt’s 11 drives that didn’t end a half resulted in scoring chances. Here’s the one knock on Vanderbilt’s day: 10 scoring chances resulted in 41 points. The Commodores came up empty on their first two drives of the game; the first drive ended with a fumble at the Nevada 10, and the second drive ended on an incomplete pass on 4th and goal at the Nevada 3. Three more drives stalled and ended with field goal attempts — Ryley Guay was 2-for-3 on field goals (with the miss coming from 48 yards.) Generating that many scoring chances (and, well, shutting down Nevada’s potent offense) meant that Vanderbilt had some considerable margin for error — but in SEC play, 4.1 points per scoring opportunity isn’t going to cut it.

In that sense, a 41-10 margin might actually be an understatement of how one-sided this game was. That the Vegas line on this game was 10 points — and that dropped as low as 8.5 at one point — is pretty freaking hilarious.

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 23 32 71.90% 258 2 0 0 0 258 50.00% 8.1
Mo Hasan 1 2 50.00% 12 0 0 1 -7 5 33.30% 1.7

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 11 10 85 1 90.90% 7.7 8.5 72.70%
Jared Pinkney 5 4 98 0 80.00% 19.6 24.5 80.00%
Chris Pierce 5 2 21 0 40.00% 4.2 10.5 20.00%
Cam Johnson 3 2 26 0 66.70% 8.7 13 66.70%
Donaven Tennyson 3 1 12 0 33.30% 4 12 33.30%
Sam Dobbs 2 2 20 0 100.00% 10 10 50.00%
Ke'Shawn Vaughn 2 2 6 0 100.00% 3 3 0.00%
C.J. Bolar 2 0 0 0 0.00% 0 N/A 0.00%
Khari Blasingame 1 1 2 0 100.00% 2 2 0.00%

Once again, the passing game was the Lipscomb and Pinkney Show. Kalija Lipscomb set a new career high with 10 catches, while Jared Pinkney had four catches for 98 yards. Kyle Shurmur did spread the ball around a bit, though, with eight different players catching a pass — including Cam Johnson, who caught his first (and second) pass as a college receiver.

The offensive line also did an excellent job in pass protection, again. Through two games, Kyle Shurmur has dropped back to pass 51 times and gotten sacked once. Backup QB Mo Hasan also saw his first action at Vanderbilt late in the second half, and completed a 12-yard pass to Cam Johnson (though he also took a sack.) We’re still waiting to see Allan Walters; if Hasan’s short appearance against Nevada is any indication, he’s probably not a viable option should (God forbid) Kyle Shurmur get injured this season.

Rushing

Rushing Att Yds YPA TD Success Rate
Rushing Att Yds YPA TD Success Rate
Ke'Shawn Vaughn 11 93 8.5 2 36.40%
Josh Crawford 10 33 3.3 1 40.00%
Jamauri Wakefield 8 43 5.4 0 37.50%
Khari Blasingame 6 28 4.7 0 50.00%
Mo Hasan 1 6 6 0 0.00%
Kyle Shurmur 1 4 4 0 0.00%

Vanderbilt’s running game was very boom or bust on Saturday. As noted above, the Commodores had seven running plays that went for 10 yards or more — the longest of which was Ke’Shawn Vaughn’s 46-yard touchdown run. Vanderbilt also had nine running plays that went backwards. That’s... not good, especially against a team like Nevada. One of the underappreciated things about Ralph Webb was that he rarely seemed to get stopped in the backfield, even if he was only able to get 1 or 2 yards.

With that said, I might trade some negative plays for home runs. But the running backs struck out over a quarter of the time on Saturday. That’s a bit excessive, and needs to improve in the coming weeks. Like blowing scoring opportunities, getting stuffed behind the line that much isn’t going to fly in SEC play.

Notes

  • On offense, nine players have started both games for Vanderbilt — the two changes were Sam Dobbs getting the start as the second tight end, replacing Cody Markel, and Ke’Shawn Vaughn getting his first Vanderbilt start over Khari Blasingame. There were two changes on defense, both the result of injuries. Drew Birchmeier replaced Dayo Odeyingbo on the defensive line, and Brayden DeVault-Smith replaced Colin Anderson at inside linebacker. For DeVault-Smith, this was his first start at Vanderbilt.
  • A hell of a day for Josh Smith, who set career highs with 10 tackles and three tackles for loss.
  • Kenny Hebert is bursting onto the scene much as Charles Wright did early last season. Yesterday’s damage: two tackles for loss, a sack, a forced fumble (which he also recovered), and a pass breakup.
  • Drew Birchmeier also had his first career forced fumble yesterday, recovered by walk-on Kade Mayle.
  • Joejuan Williams and Allan George both had their first career interceptions yesterday. Yes, you’re reading that correctly, Joejuan Williams hadn’t intercepted a pass before yesterday — probably because opponents usually try to avoid throwing at him. Donovan Sheffield had two pass breakups.
  • As you’d probably expected, more players got onto the field on Saturday than did in the opener. According to the participation report, Brendon Harris, Alex Stump, Dashaun Jerkins, Keithian Starling, Cameron Robinson, and Jared Southers got their first action of the season on Saturday.
  • At this point, we’ve pretty much figured out who is and isn’t going to redshirt this season among the true freshmen. Max Worship, Alston Orji, Cam Johnson, C.J. Bolar, and Amir Abdur-Rahman have played in both games this season and presumably are not going to redshirt. (Ben Bresnahan and Ja’Veon Marlow were listed in the participation report by mistake last week; neither has played this season.) The ones to watch are Brendon Harris and Dashaun Jerkins, both of whom played on Saturday after not playing in the MTSU game. Remember, under the new redshirt rules, you can play in four games and not lose a year of eligibility. The true freshmen who haven’t played this season are presumably redshirting unless the depth chart blows up somewhere, but we might see a few more later in the season.
  • Aside from the true freshmen, here are the scholarship players who haven’t gotten on the field this season: Zaire Jones, Jackson Winrow, Austin Quillen, Andre Mintze, Sean McMoore, Saige Young, Grant Miller, Carlton Lorenz, Johnathan Stewart, James Bostic, Turner Cockrell, Jonah Buchanan, and Darion DeBrossard. Jones is suspended and presumably will be back at some point, and Cockrell hasn’t played for obvious reasons. A lot of the rest are reserve offensive linemen, who probably won’t play a ton if everybody’s healthy. Jared Southers would also likely be on this list if Devin Cochran hadn’t had to take a couple plays off on Saturday.

What’s Next

Notre Dame! Vanderbilt will play the Irish in South Bend at 1:30 PM CT next Saturday. The game will be televised on NBC, as all Notre Dame home games are. We have to admit, we’re dreading this game a lot less than we were two weeks ago, before Vanderbilt dominated its first two opponents and Notre Dame dropped a turd against Ball State yesterday.