Three Keys Revisited - Vanderbilt vs. Georgia

Walker May does the Star Walk before beating UGA

Finally the biggest monkey of James Franklin's Vanderbilt coaching career was removed from his back on Saturday as the Commodores raced back from a 13 point deficit in the fourth quarter to stun Georgia. The win is the first from a Franklin led 'Dores squad over a ranked opponent, and it gets Vanderbilt right back on track for a bowl bid after some wobbles earlier in the season.

Finally the biggest monkey of James Franklin's Vanderbilt coaching career was removed from his back on Saturday as the Commodores raced back from a 13 point deficit in the fourth quarter to stun Georgia. The win is the first from a Franklin led 'Dores squad over a ranked opponent, and it gets Vanderbilt right back on track for a bowl bid after some wobbles earlier in the season.

In the look ahead we did to the remaining games of the season earlier this week there was a slight feeling that this could happen and for a team which has fought through adversity all year long the singing and dancing long into the Nashville night was thoroughly deserved.

Here is a look back at how the three keys played out.

1)Air it out - Fail

This just goes to show that you can win a game without hitting all the keys. Georgia had been terrible against the pass this year, but they stepped up in their defensive backfield this weekend to hold the 'Dores to just 218 total passing yards. When Austyn Carta-Samuels left the game in the second quarter with a leg injury any realistic chance of Vandy winning the game using the deep ball went with him. Patton Robinette came in and was an efficient, if unspectacular, 9-of-15 for 107 yards with an interception and no passing touchdowns.

The biggest problem in the passing game though were the two interceptions. The pick Carta-Samuels threw could easily be the worst Vanderbilt play of the entire season, as a swinging gate screen play went horribly wrong and was turned into a pick six by Shaq Wiggins. The fact that Vandy was able to overcome these passing game issues and still grind out a win says a lot about the toughness that has developed within this set of players.

2) Get Aaron Murray moving - Pass

When your passing offense isn't working very well then the best way to stay in a game is to make sure your opponent isn't moving the ball for large chunks through the air either. Vandy harassed Murray all day long and ended up holding the player who became the all time leader in SEC total offense during the game to just 114 yards passing. To put this in perspective that total is the third lowest in his stellar career. Obviously the lack of weapons Murray had available was an issue, but take nothing away from a pass rush and secondary performance which was of the highest caliber.

3) Defense has to step up – Pass

This probably should have been expanded to include the special teams as both units had to, and did, make game changing plays on the day. From the fake field goal touchdown from Carey Spear to the two fumble recoveries and an interception which first won, and then sealed the game, Vanderbilt players were making big plays at key times all day on Saturday. Even though all the biggest plays came at the end, the overall defensive effort by the 'Dores in the second half deserves to be praised. The Bulldogs were held to just 89 yards and 3 points after the break, totals which allowed the offense to find their groove and pull out the win.

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