Finally the biggest monkey of James Franklin's Vanderbilt coaching career was removed from his back…
Vanderbilt Report Card: Georgia
Commodore quarterbacks completed 21-of-35 passes for 218 yards and a pair of interceptions. One interception was just before the half by Austyn Carta-Samuels (12-20, 111 yards, 1 INT) who threw an out pass that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. Carta-Samuels, who suffered the loss of a grandparent earlier in the week, was somewhat off target early on and later was sacked for a big loss and hurt. Carta-Samuels was replaced by Patton Robinette (9-15, 107 yards, 1 INT) who appeared tentative at first but gradually became more confident running the offense. Robinette had a third quarter interception that wasn't his fault. The pass was on target but the receiver bobbled the catch which enabled the UGA defender to intercept it. Jordan Matthews had 11 catches for 89 yards to move into a tie for second all-time in SEC history with 208 receptions. Jonathan Krause continues to play like a seasoned veteran, which he is. Krause had five catches for 89 yards including a 41-yard catch thrown by Robinette in the fourth quarter which vaulted the 'Dores from their own 17 to the UGA 42. Trent Pruitt picked up his first career reception on his 15-yard grab in the second quarter. He made some nice cuts to gain additional yardage after the catch. Vanderbilt's blockers allowed three sacks.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B
It wasn't the greatest showing with only 119 yards rushing gained on 38 attempts but Vanderbilt scored four touchdowns running the ball (1 was on the fake FG). Jerron Seymour led the way with 19 carries for 75 yards (3.9 YPC) and two touchdowns. Seymour's 4-yard TD run was the Commodores' first, first-quarter touchdown against an SEC team this season. Seymour also had the winning 13-yard fourth quarter scoring run. Seymour matched a career and season-best with two rushing touchdowns, doing it for the second time in three games. Seymour has now rushed for 426 yards (5.5 YPC) and eight TDs on the season. Patton Robinette's fourth quarter 2-yard TD run was his second of the season. He finished with eight yards rushing thanks to being sacked a couple times. Jordan Matthews had an 11 yard rush on an end around play. Wesley Tate had four carries for 10 yards.
PASSING DEFENSE: A
Vanderbilt limited Georgia's highly touted quarterback Aaron Murray to just 114 passing yards on 16-of-24 attempts for no touchdowns. Javon Marshall intercepted a hail Mary pass by Murray in the four quarter that essentially ended the game. Vanderbilt's defense had a total of seven pass breakups during the game including three by linebacker Darreon Herring. Georgia QB Aaron Murray was held to a season low 114 yards, the fewest yards he had thrown for in a game since the South Carolina game last year when he passed for 109 yards. Vanderbilt didn't have a sack on Murray during the game but the 'Dores did manage to at least put enough pressure on him to keep him under wraps.
RUSHING DEFENSE: A
Vanderbilt smartly took advantage of several missing, injured, Bulldog runners. The Commodores limited the 'Dawgs to just 107 rushing yards on 35 attempts for two touchdowns, both by Murray on short runs. Keep in mind that the VU defense didn't have any sacks so this number is not distorted by passing defense exploits. Brendan Douglas led Georgia's rushing efforts with 17 carries for 84 yards (4.9 YPC). J.J. Green added 13 carries for 32 yards (2.5 YPC). Murray gained 10 yards (2.5 YPC) on four carries. In the first quarter Kenny Ladler forced his second fumble in two games. Georgian Jake Sealand forced a fumble in the fourth quarter that was recovered by Andre Hal. The Dores' defense held Georgia to 217 yards, the fewest yards gained by the Bulldogs this season. UGA's previous season low was 434 yards.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B+
The Commodores executed a perfect fake field goal attempt in the second quarter that resulted in a TD run by Carey Spear. Scoring the TD there over a field goal provided the extra four points that would be needed to beat Georgia. Torren McGaster picked up his first career fumble recovery off a muffed punt in the third quarter. Carey Spear nailed his fifth field goal of the season with a 40-yard effort in the fourth quarter. He missed a 45-yarder later in the game. Taylor Hudson didn't have a good day punting averaging only 36.2 yards on four punts with a long of 45 yards. Colby Cooke made his second appearance of the year as a punter late in the third and had one punt for 45 yards.
For the third season in a row Vanderbilt has shown significant improvement after a bye week. The fake field goal for a touchdown was a thing of beauty. After subpar offensive performances in the first half in earlier games this season, Vanderbilt gained 187 first half yards versus Georgia. Vandy also outgained UGA 338-221 which marked the first time this season the 'Dores have out-gained a league opponent. The often criticized VU defense held Georgia to 217 yards less that its previous season low which is pretty incredible, even with the Georgia injury situation. In 109 instances that opposing coaches have allowed Mark Richt coached teams to score first in a game only 16 have come away victorious. That number has now risen to 17 because of what James Franklin did it on Saturday. Previous to Saturday, Mark Richt was also 106-8 when leading after the third quarter. That record is now 106-9 thanks to Franklin and his team.
OVERALL GRADE: A
As a teary eyed Franklin said after the game, "we persevered". The Commodores had plenty of chances to quit on Saturday after discouraging events like the pick six and the injury to Carta-Samuels but the entire team believed and kept fighting. Significant improvement from the first six games by the defense. Now the Commodores must head to Texas to face the Aggies and Johnny Manziel. A&M is similar to Georgia in that its defense isn't very good but it has an explosive offense and great quarterback.
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