84 days till the Vanderbilt Commodores convert a first down

There are 84 days till the beginning of the college football season, and on today’s countdown we focus on moving the chains.

Some offenses can gash you for huge chunks of yardage, while others move the ball 10 yards at a time. In 2016, the Vanderbilt Commodores did neither.

And that leads us to no. 84 on the Southbound and Down College Football Countdown.

Vanderbilt was 84th in college football in first downs in 2016.

The Commodores converted 253 first downs last season, which was good for 84th in the country, and 11th in the SEC. Vanderbilt averaged 23.0 points per game last season. That was 113th in the nation, and 13th in the SEC. Only South Carolina was worse at 20.8 points per game.

The Commodores failed to score 20 points in eight of their 13 games in 2016. They went 1-7 in those games, with the one win coming Between the Hedges over Georgia, 17-16.

Vanderbilt actually had a pretty respectable running game in 2016. They were ranked among our top five backfields in the SEC for 2017. Ralph Webb, who is one of the SEC’s most underrated players, led the Commodores in rushing with 1,283 yards and 13 touchdowns. Khari Blasingame also ran for 449 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.

But the passing game was virtually non-existent. Kyle Shurmur threw 9 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while averaging 185.3 passing yards per game.

The Commodores ranked 11th in the SEC in both rushing yards per game and passing yards per game, and they were 12th in the SEC in total offense.

Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason has the Commodores playing excellent on the defensive side of the ball. If they can improve on the offensive side, the Commodores should be bowling again in 2017.