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LSU 41, Vanderbilt 7: Missed opportunities to keep this one close

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Through two games, Vanderbilt’s offense has had nine scoring opportunities and scored 17 points.

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

Five Factors Box Score

Five Factors Vanderbilt LSU
Five Factors Vanderbilt LSU
Plays 68 67
Total Yards 266 502
Yards Per Play 3.9 7.5
Rushing Attempts 40 30
Rushing Yards 169 165
Rushing YPP 4.2 5.5
Passing Attempts 28 37
Passing Yards 97 337
Passing YPP 3.5 9.1
Rushing Success Rate 50.00% 56.70%
Passing Success Rate 21.40% 54.10%
Success Rate 38.20% 55.20%
Avg. Field Position 25.9 35.8
PP40 2.33 5.13
Turnovers 2 1

I talk about missed opportunities a lot, and it isn’t just the scoring chances, though those are obviously a problem — through two games, Vanderbilt’s offense has generated nine scoring opportunities (defined as having a first down inside the opponent’s 40-yard line) and scored 17 points. That is, obviously, very bad. Granted, some of that is on Vanderbilt’s kicking game — Pierson Cooke is now 1-for-3 on the season, including missing a 22-yard field goal last night — and Ken Seals has now thrown three interceptions in that range.

Against LSU last night, that probably wasn’t going to matter, although I am curious what might have happened had Vanderbilt managed not to blow a couple of tailor-made scoring opportunities in the first half. Aside from the missed field goal at the end (at which point, it seems, Derek Mason may have been playing for a field goal), the Commodores also had a 2nd-and-1 at the 49 on their second drive of the game only to see the drive stall after a false start penalty (on a receiver!) Seals also threw an incompletion on a 4th and 4 at the LSU 40.

And then came the second half. Vanderbilt went from doing basically everything it needed to do to have a chance, aside from putting the ball in the end zone, to being completely ineffective on the offensive side of the ball. The defensive numbers last night were particularly ugly, but things didn’t really get out of hand until the fourth quarter. I don’t think Vanderbilt was ever going to win this game — but it also wasn’t inevitable that it would be a 41-7 final.

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
Ken Seals 11 25 44.00% 113 1 2 3 16 97 21.40% 3.5

As much as I still think Ken Seals is the guy going forward, well, the second half last night was rough. At halftime, Seals was 10-of-16 for 96 yards with a touchdown; he ended the game with that stat line. With that said, well, he’s not getting a ton of help right now.

Rushing Stats

Rushing Att Yds YPA TD Success Rate
Rushing Att Yds YPA TD Success Rate
Ja'Veon Marlow 17 83 4.9 0 58.80%
Jamauri Wakefield 16 52 3.3 0 43.80%
Mike Wright 3 7 2.3 0 33.30%
Ken Seals 2 4 2 0 0.00%
Jayden Harrison 1 16 16 0 100.00%
Dashaun Jerkins 1 7 7 0 100.00%

This was a better game for the running backs. I like Ja’Veon Marlow, and for now he’s splitting carries with Jamauri Wakefield, and I assume Keyon Henry-Brooks will get into the mix when he returns. The success rate ended up looking good as well, though it remains to be seen if this or the Texas A&M game are more indicative of what we’ll see going forward.

Receiving Stats

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
Cam Johnson 5 3 63 0 60.00% 12.6 21 40.00%
Chris Pierce 5 1 19 0 20.00% 3.8 19 20.00%
Ben Bresnahan 4 3 31 1 75.00% 7.8 10.3 50.00%
Jayden Harrison 3 2 -9 0 66.70% -3 -4.5 0.00%
Amir Abdur-Rahman 2 1 4 0 50.00% 2 4 0.00%
Jamauri Wakefield 1 1 5 0 100.00% 5 5 100.00%
Ja'Veon Marlow 1 0 0 0 0.00% 0 #DIV/0! 0.00%

The first game was Amir Abdur-Rahman’s chance to shine, and this was Cam Johnson’s, and I think those two will be Vanderbilt’s leading receivers in some order. But they’ve yet to have a good game at the same time.

Notes

  • It looks like three players made what I believe were their first starts at Vanderbilt. Redshirt freshman Jayden Harrison started at wide receiver opposite Amir Abdur-Rahman, and Justin Harris and Donovan Kaufman started at safety (Vanderbilt evidently used a 3-3-5 formation on the first play of the game.)
  • The starting offensive line was unchanged from the first game, and true freshman Brad Ashmore was the only other offensive lineman to see playing time. Cross our fingers that we can get through the season with no injuries, because the depth isn’t there.
  • Dimitri Moore was back in action on Saturday, but didn’t start; same for Michael Owusu. Frank Coppet was also seen for the first time this season. Rocko Griffin also, at least according to the participation report, saw his first action as a Commodore.
  • True freshman who played last night: Seals, Ashmore, Kaufman, Griffin, Chase Lloyd, Ethan Barr, WIll Sheppard. All of these except Griffin also played in the Texas A&M game. Of course, it doesn’t matter since everyone is effectively getting a redshirt year no matter what.
  • Donovan Kaufman was the team’s leading tackler with 10 total, followed by Dimitri Moore and Dashaun Jerkins with 8 each. On the other hand, the defense didn’t get a single sack and only had three QB hurries (two by Dayo Odeyingbo.)

What’s Next

An 11 AM game! South Carolina comes to town on Saturday; that game will, of course, be televised on the SEC Network.