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WTF Vandy? Baffling Decisions, Round 1: (2) “Anchor Down” On the Nameplates vs. (7) Stephen Rivers, Starting QB

Ah, the 2014 football season makes its first appearance.

(2) Vanderbilt Wears Uniforms With “Anchor Down” On the Nameplates, Gets Penalized

So: I’ve let my opinions be known about all the alternate uniforms that the football team has worn over the last few years: they’re mostly terrible, and get away from Vanderbilt’s standard black and gold color scheme far too often. And in that time, no uniforms were as bad as the uniforms Vanderbilt wore in the 2014 season opener against Temple.

Temple v Vanderbilt Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

“Anchor Down” on the nameplates.

Aside from the part where the “Anchor Down” is barely visible, there was another problem: The uniforms were against the rules.

The controversy Thursday night began at the start of the second quarter, when the officiating crew announced that the Commodores were being penalized one timeout for wearing the “Anchor Down” jerseys and would continue to be charged an additional timeout per quarter for the duration of the game.

But Vanderbilt officials then showed referee Ken Williamson an email printout, which apparently indicated that the Commodores had sought and received permission to wear the jerseys. Williamson then restored the lost timeout and announced that there were no further problems with the jerseys.

Ah, yes. That moment.

So Vanderbilt won the battle but lost the war. After the game, the SEC ruled that actually, the uniforms were in violation of NCAA rules, which do not allow slogans on the nameplate of player jerseys. Evidently the SEC office thought that “Anchor Down” was simply a placeholder for where the player names would go. In short, though, Vanderbilt had intentionally worn an illegal uniform and gone to the trouble of getting approval from the SEC office for an illegal uniform.

If only the SEC would rule that gray uniforms were illegal.

(7) Stephen Rivers, Starting Quarterback

I’m just going to embarrass our former editor Christian D’Andrea by pointing out that there was a time when he wrote this:

Observational Analysis: Rivers looked like the man for the job on Thursday night

All righty then.

Stephen Rivers, the graduate transfer from LSU who came into Vanderbilt mostly being known for being the younger brother of Philip Rivers, took the bulk of the snaps at quarterback in the 2014 season opener against Temple and, apparently, looked like the best option at quarterback — which is probably a reflection on the other options at quarterback, because Rivers’ line against Temple was nothing special. The next week against Ole Miss, a game that was played at LP Field for some reason (OH GOD THE 2014 SEASON WAS TERRIBLE ALL AROUND), Rivers got the start — and proceeded to complete 6 of 25 passes for 60 yards with an interception.

For three games after that, Rivers ceded the way to Patton Robinette and Wade Freebeck. And then, against Georgia, Rivers made another appearance — and proceeded to do this:

So, yeah. Stephen Rivers’ final passing line at Vanderbilt: 25-for-65 for 334 yards (5.1 yards per attempt), no touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. And a chest pass. (Rivers also threw in five carries for -26 yards, probably all on sacks.)

Anyway, the 2014 experience permanently scarred a lot of Vanderbilt fans, and the quarterback carousel was a lot of the reason why. Patton Robinette, Stephen Rivers, Wade Freebeck, and Johnny McCrary all started at quarterback for Vanderbilt in 2014. Rivers was probably the most memorable of that group, but for all the wrong reasons.


Which moment advances?

This poll is closed

  • 56%
    "Anchor Down" on the nameplates
    (59 votes)
  • 43%
    Stephen Rivers
    (45 votes)
104 votes total Vote Now