We at the Cup have taken a pretty bold editorial stance regarding this weekend’s game.
Vanderbilt is bad.
There’s really no sugarcoating it. Sure, the Commodores have played potentially the toughest schedule so far in the country, but man have they been bad.
Derek Mason’s squad typically features a pathetic offense but a stout defense. This year’s team is bad on both sides of the ball.
117th in passing success rate
Just over a dozen teams rank below the Dores when it comes to throwing the football. Senior Riley Neal is 74-of-119 for 858 yards and a 4-2 touchdown-interception ratio. Neal also likes to keep the ball, and he’s just as unsuccessful on the ground as he is in the air, at 3.2 yards per carry.
32nd in Rushing SP+
Led almost exclusively by KeShawn Vaughn, Vandy’s rushing attack is actually pretty solid. Vaughn averages 7.9 highlight yards a carry, and has four of Vandy’s nine total touchdowns on the season. Keyon Brooks is the only other back with more than four carries on the season, with just 10 for 68 yards.
130th in passing down success rate
Literally last. Vanderbilt is bad passing on any down, but when it’s an obvious passing situation they are the worst in the entire country. Neal is successful in gaining a first down on just 18.2% of the time in passing situations. Ole Miss isn’t great here, at 89th nationally, but they still get first downs 29.0% of the time.
118th in third-and-long rate
Luckily for Ole Miss, Vandy gets themselves into third-and-long with incredible frequency. Nearly 60% of the time, the Commodores are behind the chains and force themselves into passing situations.
116th in stuff rate
This one speaks for itself. The Vandy offensive line is abysmal when it comes to run blocking, with 24.1% of all runs getting stopped for a loss or no gain.
73rd in sack rate
Pass protection is likely the strength of this Vandy offense. The unit is just outside of the top half nationally keeping Neal upright, but when 47th percentile is the highlight of your offense, things are bad
Neal’s completion percentage whenever throwing the ball down the field 20 or more yards. 2-for-14 for just 95 yards and three interceptions. Rebel QBs are 9-for-26 for 263 yards, two touchdowns, and just one interception.
The offense is great, but it’s not notably bad.
129th in rushing success rate
These are going to all be bad. 129 out of 130 nationally in stopping teams on the ground is terrible and foreboding of an 0-8 conference season. Teams are successful on 55.5% of all runs against Vanderbilt.
116th in passing success rate
Not much better. Teams are successful 48.6% of the time through the air against Vandy. When 116th nationally is the better side of your defense, you’ve got problems.
126th in passing efficiency
When teams are successful (and we’ve discovered they often are), the big plays are really big. When you can’t stop teams from completing passes and you can’t keep them in front of you when they do, this is the outcome.
130th in big-play rate
This goes hand-in-hand with the above stat, but it’s worse when you see it spelled out. Teams gain 20 or more yards on 14.8% of all plays against this Vandy defense. I don’t know what happened to Derek Mason, but this is rock bottom.
125th nationally inside 10 success rate
Teams succeed at gaining the necessary yardage (50% of the yards to go on first, 75% on second down, or 100% on third or fourth) 68.4% of the time inside the 10. If you can get down here, the Vandy defense will just about escort you into the endzone.
The 6’0, 190-pound freshman leads the Vanderbilt defense with 22.5 tackles. That’s a good number until you see he plays safety. A player from the secondary leading the team in tackles simply means he is getting too many chances. Combine those tackles with no tackles for loss, no run stuffs, and just one pass broken up and you see just how little pressure they put on opposing offenses.