So apparently CJF wasn't bluffing earlier this week when he implied after the Northwestern loss that he might be reopening the competition for starting quarterback. Sure enough, Jordan Rodgers didn't play a down today, as Austyn Carta-Samuels led the Commodores to a 58-0 obliteration of the Blue Hose from Presbyterian College.
You have to give CJF some credit: If he was going to make a switch, much better to do it now, in a week spent preparing for a vastly inferior opponent, than to wait until the thick of the SEC schedule to test-drive a new QB. And, Rodgers' leadership and athletic abilities notwithstanding, there may not be many who begrudge CJF the decision after the performance JR displayed against Northwestern. Still, this was a significant move, and regardless of what the coach says about evaluating the film and leaving all options on the table as the team gets ready for Georgia, the Great Rodgers Relegation of 2012 has to leave you thinking Carta-Samuels is going to be the guy calling the signals in Athens.
Having said that, I'm not sure how much we learned today about ACS (get used to that acronym) in his first start for the Dores after transferring in from Wyoming [thanks Vandy-Montana, must've had you on the brain]. Vandy put up en eye-popping 605 yards of total offense, but 410 of those came on the ground, with two Commodore RBs going for over 100 yards and four different backs reaching the end zone. The offensive line dominated in the trenches, and Zac Stacy went for a ludicrous 174 yards on 8 carries, including an 86-yard TD run on the Dores' first offensive play from scrimmage that set the tone for the entire game, while freshman speedster Brian Kimbrow added 140 yards on 14 touches.
All of that by way of saying I'm not sure how much ACS's 13-20, 195 yards and 1 TD / 0 INT stat line really tells us about his ability to take Vanderbilt to the next level as an SEC contender. It was a pretty efficient outing after the first few throws -- and most importantly, he didn't turn the ball over -- but let's not slap the "Stone Cold Steve Austyn Carta-Samuels" label on him just yet. You have to hope that this was a great confidence-booster of a game for a quarterback who hasn't played a down of college football in two years, but (assuming he's the guy going forward) we're going to learn an awful lot more next week than we did today. I for one am looking forward to it.
In closing, I have to give a shout-out to Trey Wilson on his 100 yard INT return and to the entire Vandy defense for staying focused enough to pitch the first shutout of the Franklin Era and the biggest whipping since Vandy dropped the Citadel 58-0 in 1999.
We needed something like this.