The Vanderbilt Commodores found themselves in a fight with the Tennessee State Tigers, but Vandy’s ability to run the ball and play good defense eventual prevailed in a 35-17 triumph on Saturday night. The home team rushed for 358 yards with Khari Blasingame and Ralph Webb accounting for 225 yards with the former scoring three times. Meanwhile, TSU was held to 2-7 on third down, 0-1 on fourth down, and forced two turnovers, which proved to be the difference in the game.
Now, here are the big takeaways for Vanderbilt:
1. Vandy has to have better play out of its quarterback. You can’t expect to win in modern college football if you don’t have some productivity out of the quarterback position and Kyle Shurmur was disappointing to say the least, with 143 yards and one score on 6.2 yards per attempt. The running game bailed him out, but the Commodores have to make plays in the passing game if they expect to be competitive in the SEC.
2. The team’s physicality is a strength. In a game where the team needed to impose its will, it did just that with its commitment to the running game and its play on the defensive side of the ball. It may not have the athleticism of the other teams in the league, it has a puncher’s chance to finish the season strong with it’s style of play.
3. A bowl game is still on the table. With games at Auburn, at Missouri, vs. Ole Miss, and vs. Tennessee still on tap, Vandy has chance to get some quality wins before the season is out. Auburn looks to be a tough match-up after their performance against Arkansas, the last three will be ones to watch down the stretch. A 2-2 finish is doable, but going 3-1 in these games would be huge for the program.