Over the weekend, Derek Mason will sit and reflect about the 55 yard field goal and the missed opportunities his team had in the 13-10 loss to South Carolina on Thursday night. What Derek Mason should do, is second guess his decision with 11:22 left in the 2nd quarter.
Here are the 3 Reasons Why: Vandy Failed Against South Carolina
It starts with the head coach. Heading into his third year, Derek Mason showed that he has learned absolutely nothing when it comes to managing quarterbacks. QB Kyle Shurmur, who was named the starter months ago, had just lead his team on an eleven play drive, resulting in a 10-0 lead vs South Carolina,. It was at that point, Mason decided to pull him. In steps Wade Freebeck. Two series and six plays later, out steps Wade Freebeck. Football is a game of momentum and Mason stripped any of the mojo the Dores had built and plopped it right on the bench.
It’s apparent that South Carolina’s kicker Elliot Fry is better than Vanderbilt’s Tommy Upshaw. The numbers don’t lie. Late in the fourth quarter, Upshaw had his opportunity to put the Dores on top but hooked the kick wide left. This left things wide open, with 35 seconds left, for the Gamecocks and Fry to drill a 55 yard field goal that would have probably been good from sixty. The two teams offenses are about even, Vandy has the better defense but the great equalizer is special teams.
Knowing How To Win
Simply put, Vanderbilt has learned that yet. It takes the right coach, the right quarterback and the right team to overcome adversity late in football games. The Commodores are better this year than they were last but they’re not at the level you need to be at to win in the Southeastern Conference consistently. Knowing how to win against a rebuilding South Carolina team makes things easier when you need points with 1:30 on clock against Florida.