Vanderbilt has had a decent defense at stretches this season despite the team's offensive woes. It didn't matter tonight, as Mississippi State seemingly scored at will. MSU's opening drive went for a touchdown; the second drive went for the same. A defensive touchdown early in the second quarter pushed the score to 20-0, and at that point the rout was on with Vandy's offensive inability to keep up.
Mississippi State's offensive confidence was displayed in the fact that it never went for two after its second or third touchdown despite missing the opening extra point. It knew that scoring wasn't going to be a problem, and proved it by taking a 37-0 lead heading into the half, with 24 of those points coming in the second quarter.
Vanderbilt's offensive woes have been well-documented, and there's no reason to pile on. The team was likely outgunned from the start from a talent standpoint, but by this point in the season and sitting on three wins, it's hard to muster the will to prepare and play against a great team on their emotional senior night. Despite that, Vanderbilt tried a few different things offensively at quarterback. Johnny McCrary started, but with little success, Patton Robinette was inserted in the second quarter, and in the second half it was Stephen Rivers. No change was ultimately going to be enough to make a difference, though.
Vandy ends its season next week hosting Tennessee, which is a team that needs a win to make the postseason. Things won't get easier. Vandy has some pieces moving forward to next season, though. McCrary, Darrius Sims, CJ Duncan, Latevius Rayford, and Steven Scheu are all names to remember next season.
On the other hand, MSU turns its sights on Ole Miss and the Egg Bowl next week. Ole Miss' loss today, reportedly the worst shutout loss of an AP Top 10 team since 1990, dampens the hype somewhat of a big-name rivalry. Mississippi State only has one win against a team with less than four losses, and that is Auburn. Despite that, MSU was still in the playoff last Tuesday evening, but Starkville partisans probably wish that Ole Miss was 9-2 rather than 8-3. Every little bit counts.