3 Reasons Why: Vanderbilt could not beat Florida
Photo Credit To vucommodores.com

3 Reasons Why: Vanderbilt could not beat Florida

Vanderbilt had ample opportunity to beat the #23 Florida Gators on Saturday but the lack of a passing game prevented the upset as the Dores fell, 13-6.

This was a game of defense and field position, a lot like last years matchup. One thing remained the same though, Vanderbilt running back Ralph Webb was the best player on the field, who passed Frank Mordica for 2nd all-time on Vandy’s career rushing list, and it came down to a drive that could not be completed by the Dores at the end of the game.

Here are 3 Reasons Why: Vanderbilt could not beat Florida


Field Position

This was the #1 reason the Vanderbilt Commodores could not pull off the upset. The game went exactly how Vandy would want it to go, low scoring and down-to-the-wire. But Derek Mason does not have the offensive passing game to drive the ball the length of the field. This was the starting field position for the Dores throughout the game.

own 18 yard line

own 25 yard line

own 1 yard line

own 8 yard line

own 25 yard line

own 17 yard line

own 10  yard line

own 18 yard line

own 7 yard line

own 23 yard line

Expecting the Vandy offense to go 70+ yards and score a touchdown is not ideal. Running backs Ralph Webb and Khari Blasingame can only do so much. Webb finished the game with 110 rushing yards off of 24 carries, while Blasingame added another 42.

Kyle Shurmur’s eye injury

Shurmur was injured with 8:17 left to go in the 4th quarter on this play.

It appeared that Shurmur was poked in the eye by Florida’s defensive lineman Bryan Cox. You could see how swollen Shurmur’s eye was as he watched from the team’s tunnel late in the 4th quarter.

Kyle Shurmur holding his eye late in the game.
Kyle Shurmur holding his eye late in the game.

The injury had a huge impact in the game because backup QB Wade Freebeck couldn’t produce when his team needed him. Freebeck had two prime opportunities to lead the Dores to a game-tying touchdown but failed to move the ball across midfield.

Zero Passing Game

The issue is at the quarterback position. Between Kyle Shurmur and Wade Freebeck, the Vandy signal callers only completed 12 passes off of 32 attempts for 118 yards. More importantly, when it came down to the final drive and Vandy had an opportunity to tie the game up, Freebeck crumbled under pressure and threw an ill-advised interception to end the game.

Derek Mason has his hands all over the defense and it shows. The fundamental issue that Vanderbilt has is with their offense. Ralph Webb’s greatness is overshadowed by the inconsistencies of the passing game. Heading into today’s game, Vandy was only averaging 163 passing yards per game. A pocket passer doesn’t seem to work for the Dores and they have two of them. Andy Ludwig’s offense is a traditional pro-style scheme but a quarterback with mobility could really help the Commodore offense.

Shurmur has to start improving on his accuracy or Vandy will continually be let down at the end of games because of lack of productivity.


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