Dores keep knocking down walls
Nov. 18, 2012
Defense Dominates Tennessee's Vaunted Offense
Defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and the Vanderbilt defense did it again.
Vanderbilt's defensive unit has continually gotten better all season long, and Saturday was another indication of just how impressive the defense has been this season.
Tyler Bray and the Tennessee offense had scored at least 35 points in all but two games all season. Vanderbilt added a third game to that list Saturday with a dominant defensive performance.
"I thought our defense played really well against one of the most explosive offenses in the conference," Franklin remarked.
Vanderbilt limited Tennessee to 18 points and only 10 were scored by the Vols' offense. The Commodores kept Tennessee off balance all evening with an array of blitzes and coverages that had the Vols confused.
"To be honest with you, we didn't do anything different than we always do," Franklin said of the team's defensive strategy. "We always have a few little wrinkles in there, different pressures that we do, but we do that every single week. We played our defense. I thought Bob (Shoop) called a really good game. I thought we executed it well."
The Commodores forced three interceptions and limited Bray to just 103 yards passing on 29 attempts. Justin Worley completed 8-of-11 passes for just 51 yards. It was the lowest passing yardage total for Bray in his career as a starter. He hadn't thrown for fewer yards since the third game of his freshman year in 2010 when he came off the bench against Alabama.
"We have a lot of faith in our pass defense," linebacker Chase Garnham said. "We do bring some pressure, so I'm not surprised at all (by the result)."
All week Vanderbilt talked about Tennessee's offense and the fact that it had surrendered just five sacks all season. Vanderbilt got two sacks on Saturday and consistently got pressure on Tennessee.
In the last five games now, Vanderbilt has allowed a total of 28 points in the second half. That is an average of just 5.6 points per game after halftime. Vanderbilt allowed just 47 yards in the second half against Tennessee
Overall, it was the eighth time this season, Vanderbilt has allowed fewer total yards, first downs and rushing yards in the second half than the first half.
Tate Executes Jump Pass
Vanderbilt has reached into its bag of tricks many times before, and Saturday the Commodores dug a little deeper. Faced with a 2nd-and-goal at the three-yard line, Wesley Tate lined up in the Wildcat. He received the snap, took a few steps forward and leaped high in the air, releasing the ball over the defensive line and into the hands of tight end Kris Kentera, who was all alone in the back of the end zone.
"We were getting knocked back at the tight end and fullback position, really across the line, and that's why one of the adjustments we made was the little pop pass that we threw," Franklin said. "We were having a hard enough time moving them and they were loading the box and Wes (Tate) did a great job of selling it and then dumpling it over the top. We just used how aggressive they were being against them."
The Commodores also tried a halfback pass from Zac Stacy to Jordan Rodgers in the end zone, but it was unsuccessful. Stacy's pass was a little short, but Rodgers said after the game that he should have had it.
"I should have scored on the throwback, but ... w'ere going to be aggressive."
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