The Vanderbilt Commodores (4-6, 0-6 SEC) failed to crack the SEC win column on Saturday, as the ‘Dores fell to the Wildcats 44-21 inside Vanderbilt Stadium. Now, Derek Mason is facing numerous questions about a team that returned 18 starters from a 2016 bowl team. What was once a team that was expected to exceed the 6-win mark from a year ago now fights for their postseason lives.
The Commodores will round out the 2017 season with Senior Day inside Vanderbilt Stadium on Nov. 18 and a trip to Knoxville to face Tennessee on Nov. 25.
The run defense has plagued Vanderbilt for much of the 2017 season, and has been a clear weakness since the loss to Alabama as Benny Snell rushed for 116 yards and 3 scores, while Sihiem King added two touchdowns. Ralph Webb added a first half touchdown, as he moved into 10th all-time in SEC history in rush yards.
Vandy’s Kyle Shurmur threw for 308 yards, and tossed a Kalija Lipscomb touchdown, but his 3 first half interceptions put Vanderbilt behind the eight ball early, his most down game this season. The Wildcats converted the turnovers into two first half touchdowns as the halftime lead grew to 20-7 at the break.
The story was much of the same in the second half, as Kentucky controlled the vast majority of the momentum. The Commodores looked to regain a sense of urgency against the Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky just a week ago, but without the size and speed of former All-American Zach Cunningham, there is one formula for success against the Commodores – run straight at them.
Derek Mason now fights to get his Commodore team moving in the right direction towards a bowl bid, but will the defensive woes prove to be too much? Derek Mason’s Commodores have two weeks to right the ship, or the win against Kansas State will seem like forever ago.
The Commodores will celebrate the careers of many that turned the tables for Derek Mason and experienced bowl success under James Franklin.
The Commodores will recognize 20 seniors on Saturday, including: Ralph Webb, Jay Woods, Nifae Lealeo, Caleb Scott, Trent Sherfield, C.J Duncan, Ryan White, Emmanuel Smith, Oren Burks, and Tre’ Herndon.
Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. as the Commodores take on Missouri on West End.