Arguably the best player in Vandy Football history walked off Vanderbilt Stadium turf for the final time on Saturday night as Vanderbilt (4-7, 0-7 SEC) suffered a 45-17 loss at the hand of Missouri (6-5, 3-4 SEC).
No school in the SEC wanted Ralph Webb, a 2-star running back recruit from Gainesville, Florida, but now everyone knows his name.
Saturday marked the final home game for Vanderbilt great Webb, along with 19 additional seniors. Webb moved into ninth on the SEC’s all-time rushing list against the Tigers, he needs just 41 yards to move up to seventh on the list.
Coming into the season, Vandy had the expectations of reaching consecutive bowl games, and quite possibly exceeding the 6-6 mark set just a season ago. But a mid-September game against No. 1 Alabama turned the tide for the duration of the Commodores season.
The Commodores never regained their defensive prowess for the remainder of the year, after the 59-0 beatdown from Alabama. However, the ‘Dores have one final test against in-state rival Tennessee inside Neyland Stadium in Knoxville. The Volunteers will also miss postseason play, and look to avoid a winless SEC season for the first time in school history. Vanderbilt aims to win 4 of the last 6 in the series.
The Commodore defense had everything to play for in the final two games of the season, and looked to reverse the negative trend defensively. However, Saturday the Commodore defense cemented its status, surrendering 40-plus points to every SEC opponent, except Florida, thus far this season.
Missouri failed to put the Commodores away until a drive in the third quarter that sealed the ‘Dores fate. The Tiger drive came as a result of an incompletion to Caleb Scott that would have cut the Missouri lead to a two possession game on fourth down.
Moments later, Drew Lock rifled a pass over Oren Burks for a 45-yard momentum shifting touchdown, and showed Vandy’s one glaring weakness all season, the linebacker core. Burks, the former safety starred in the “Star” position, but was moved to linebacker by Derek Mason prior to the start of the season to fulfill the loss of Zach Cunningham.
The touchdown summed up the Commodores night, and the last eight games of the Commodore season after starting 3-0 with a win against a nationally ranked Kansas State squad.
Meanwhile, receiver Trent Sherfield moved into ninth all-time at Vandy with 130 receptions after hauling in four passes last week against Missouri. Additionally, he moved into eighth all-time in receiving yards as a Commodore with 1,788 yards.
Kyle Shurmur has put together a stand out junior season throwing 22 touchdowns to match Whit Taylor’s school record in 1982.
Pair Sherfield’s production with breakout star Kalija Lipscomb and things line up for the ‘Dores to have a nice season offensively.
Vandy plays for in-state bragging rights in Knoxville Saturday afternoon (3 p.m., SEC Network) from Neyland Stadium.