Sunday, September 14, 2008

Vanderbilt Rides 38-21 Win Over Rice to #26 in the AP Poll

Vanderbilt rose to the top of the "others receiving votes" category in this week's AP Top 25 Poll, with a surge of voting after holding the high-powered offense of Rice scoreless in the second half on Saturday and winning by a convincing three scores. Not surprisingly, the coaches weren't as convinced, as the Commies only ticked up two notches (to #35) in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.

While I, like the rest of America outside of Nash Vegas, was inexcusably prevented from viewing the game due to complete lack of TV coverage, it sounded like the keys to shutting Rice down were (1) simplifying the defensive package and sticking to the basics, without trying to adjust for every nuance in their offensive scheme, and (2) the Bryant Hahnfeldt 48-yard field goal that put us up by two scores (31-21), forcing Rice's hand on offense and making their play calling from that point on much more predictable.

Jared Hawkins picking up 107 yards on 20 carries was huge, as was D.J. Moore's 138 total return yards. It bears mentioning that before the season, fully 41% of you all (a clear plurality) voted the offensive line's ability to protect and Vanderbilt's general ability to get yards on the ground as the "biggest issue facing the offense this season," and while it's too early to get carried away, as of today we have the #2 rushing offense in the conference (behind only LSU). Not a bad start. Chris Nickson and Jared Hawkins are the #5 and #6 rushers in the SEC by yards per game.

Another item that we should highlight before handing off to the gallery for comment is the fact that Ted Cain (temporarily? against his own will? mercifully to be sure...) appears to have been hit in the head and has chosen to open up the playbook, and the offense has responded with sound execution. Sweet.

One final shout out goes to Patrick Benoist, who has emerged as an absolute beast and currently leads the SEC in tackles.


Anonymous said...

Vandy is #21 in the Real Time RPI poll, ahead of Alabama, Arkansas, South Carolina, Mississippi (#67), Mississippi State, and -- bringing up the rear for the SEC -- Tennessee (#89, just ahead of Rice).

Real Time RPI

Anonymous said...

Jason, if you could give us a scouting report on Ole Miss QB Jevan Snead, it would be much appreciated. 2 years back, I saw him in the Army HS All American game, and he was the best player on the field. Haven't been able to catch any of his play this year, but that memory of him flat destroying the best defensive recruits in the nation has me justifiably leery going into this weekend's game.

Boyer in the District said...

I can tell you right now that Snead is a damn good quarterback...don't worry though, Houston Nutt is notorious for not using talented players effectively (i.e. Felix Jones and Darren McFadden shredding the NFL up as rookies, yet Arkansas was 8-4 last year, including a loss at home to Kentucky).

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