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Vanderbilt vs. Georgia 2016 Final Score: What We Learned From The Commodores’ 17-16 Win

Vanderbilt just ruined Georgia’s SEC East hopes.

NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Vanderbilt’s Darrius Sims took the opening kickoff back 95 yards, setting Vanderbilt up for an easy touchdown two plays later that gave Vanderbilt an early 7-0 lead.

And the lead held up for a while in spite of some offensive ineptitude by the Commodores. In spite of getting outgained 204-64 in the first half, the Commodores took a 7-6 lead into the locker room. The Bulldogs had to settle for field goals on two first-half drives, and with two seconds left in the half, Kirby Smart elected to have Jacob Eason throw a Hail Mary that was batted down, rather than attempt a 54-yard field goal.

After Tommy Openshaw kicked a 38-yard field goal early in the second half to make it 10-6, Georgia finally found paydirt as Jacob Eason found Isaac Nauta for a 17-yard touchdown pass. A Rodrigo Blankenship field goal made it 16-10, but Vanderbilt answered with an 8-play, 75-yard drive capped by a Khari Blasingame touchdown run to give Vanderbilt a 17-16 lead with 9:43 left in the game.

That held up as Zach Cunningham stopped Georgia on 4th-and-1 with under a minute left. What did we learn?

  1. Georgia’s not winning the SEC East. Well, that much is obvious if it wasn’t before this week. But after the Bulldogs’ third SEC loss, it’s a fait accompli that they won’t be going to the SEC Championship in Atlanta.
  2. Derek Mason might have saved his job. Mason had a career record of 9-21, 2-17 in the SEC, including 0-9 in road games in conference play, before today. This validated his approach as the Commodores hung on for a huge win.
  3. Vanderbilt has some fight in them. The Commodores could have packed it in after a 2-4 start, 0-3 in the SEC. Instead, they came to play in Athens and came away with a big win. Now, Vanderbilt has Tennessee State next week and a bowl trip is back on the table.