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LSU 66, Vanderbilt 38: It was worse than the score looked

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Vanderbilt spent most of the day doing close to nothing on offense, which you wouldn’t know if you just saw 38 points on the board.

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Vanderbilt Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Five Factors Box Score

Five Factors Vanderbilt LSU
Five Factors Vanderbilt LSU
Plays 73 74
Total Yards 374 601
Yards Per Play 5.1 8.1
Rushing Attempts 31 34
Rushing Yards 168 203
Rushing YPP 5.4 6
Passing Attempts 42 40
Passing Yards 206 398
Passing YPP 4.9 10
Rushing Success 32.30% 47.10%
Passing Success 28.60% 52.50%
Success Rate 30.10% 50.00%
Avg. Field Position 24 30.7
PP40 4.8 5.9
Turnovers 2 2

Tennessean: Vanderbilt football falls hard, 66-38, to No. 5 LSU

There are times when I do the Statistical and end up feeling better about the game I just watched, and there are times when I end up feeling worse. This is definitely the latter.

Oh, the defense was exactly as bad as the numbers made it look. There was a blocked punt that resulted in a touchdown, and LSU started a drive at the Vanderbilt 1 after an onside kick that went very poorly; even taking those away, though, the defense gave up 52 points and LSU’s offense had a 50 percent success rate — and that was with the backup quarterback playing for a quarter and a half.

But the Vanderbilt offense? For as much as LSU fans complained about their defense on Saturday... well, Vanderbilt’s offense didn’t do a ton outside of a couple of big plays. A 30.1 percent success rate is, frankly, horrendous. There’s really just no way to spin that positively. Yes, the offense scored 24 points (with the defense adding a couple of touchdowns, one on a fumble recovery in the end zone and the other on a pick six off LSU’s backup quarterback), but that was more than balanced out by seven three-and-outs, plus an additional punt, a turnover on downs deep in LSU territory, and two interceptions. Basically if you just knew that the offense scored 24 points, you’d probably take that considering the competition; but the reality was that the offense spent most of the day doing next to nothing. Here, success rate is a much better indicator of how the offense was doing than yards per play (which ended up being decent) or the number of points that Vanderbilt put on the scoreboard.

Right now it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and the only saving grace is that the rest of the teams on the schedule are all significantly worse than LSU or Georgia. Hell, probably six or seven of them are worse than Purdue. 6-6 still looks about as doable as it did four weeks ago, and it might be even more doable considering how Tennessee and Ole Miss have looked this season.

Individual Stats

Passing Stats

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
Riley Neal 15 31 48.40% 206 1 1 3 23 183 29.40% 5.4
Deuce Wallace 4 8 50.00% 23 0 1 0 0 23 25.00% 2.9

Ugh. Moving on...

Rushing Stats

Rushing Att Yds YPA TD Success Rate
Rushing Att Yds YPA TD Success Rate
Ke'Shawn Vaughn 20 130 6.5 2 35.00%
Keyon Brooks 5 0 0 0 0.00%
Riley Neal 3 19 6.3 0 33.30%
Ja'Veon Marlow 3 19 6.3 0 66.70%

On the one hand: 20 carries for 130 yards is a nice day for Ke’Shawn Vaughn. On the other hand, Vaughn had runs of 52 and 41 yards. Doing the math, the rest of the time, he had 18 carries and gained 37 yards. Needless to say, that’s not good. When Vaughn wasn’t breaking big runs, he was mostly getting bottled up.

Meanwhile — why the coaching staff is relegating Ja’Veon Marlow to third string behind Keyon Brooks isn’t really all that clear to me. Not that either of them should be getting a ton of carries.

Receiving Stats

Receiving Targets Catches Yds TD Catch Rate Yds/Catch Yds/Target Success Rate
Receiving Targets Catches Yds TD Catch Rate Yds/Catch Yds/Target Success Rate
Kalija Lipscomb 10 5 68 1 50.00% 13.6 6.8 40.00%
Jared Pinkney 6 4 47 0 66.70% 11.8 7.8 33.30%
Ke'Shawn Vaughn 3 2 21 0 66.70% 10.5 7 33.30%
Ben Bresnahan 3 2 9 0 66.70% 4.5 3 33.30%
Chris Pierce 3 0 0 0 0.00% 0 0.00%
Cam Johnson 2 2 54 0 100.00% 27 27 100.00%
Justice Shelton-Mosley 2 2 11 0 100.00% 5.5 5.5 50.00%
James Bostic 2 1 12 0 50.00% 12 6 50.00%
C.J. Bolar 2 1 7 0 50.00% 7 3.5 0.00%

At least here, you can start to see some positives: Lipscomb and Pinkney are doing their thing, but we’re also starting to see the Cam Johnson we thought we were getting last year. On the other hand, well, the downfield passing game does need to be opened up more. (There are reasons why Riley Neal is playing ahead of Deuce Wallace, but those reasons mostly have to do with the downfield passing game — which, well, isn’t happening right now.)

Notes

  • From the participation report, Jonathan Stewart (left tackle) and Daevion Davis (defensive tackle) both got their first career starts. In Stewart’s case, it appears the reports of Devin Cochran’s return were a false alarm (he didn’t play), while Davis got the start over Cameron Tidd.
  • If the participation report is correct, four true freshmen played yesterday. I’ve already mentioned Daevion Davis and Keyon Brooks, and Jaylen Mahoney played for the third straight game (and got the team’s first sack of the season!) Meanwhile, I think this is the first time I’ve seen Justin Harris’s name show up.
  • Meanwhile, here were your four leading tacklers: Dimitri Moore, Brendon Harris, BJ Anderson, and Allan George. Three of those did not start the game. Something tells me there are some changes coming on the defensive side of the ball.
  • Javan Rice kicked the extra point on Vanderbilt’s final touchdown and also kicked the ensuing kickoff in place of Ryley Guay. I don’t think there’s an actual kicking controversy, though.
  • (Also: is now a bad time to point out that Ryley Guay has yet to miss a field goal this season?)

What’s Next

Vanderbilt is still looking for its first win of the season and has a better chance to get that on Saturday at 11 AM, when the Northern Illinois Huskies come to Vanderbilt Stadium. Northern Illinois is 1-2 with a 24-10 win over Illinois State to open the season, followed by losses to Utah and Nebraska. They’ve scored 49 points in three games; this is a game that Vanderbilt should win, so it may be really time to panic if this game is close.