After an extremely long thunder delay, Vanderbilt was able to beat Hawaii, 35-28. What did this game and overall production mean for Vandy’s bowl hopes?
The Commodores started out in their first drive with an early TD score behind a run from Patrick Smith. They were able to capitalize on good field position due to the defense forcing a three-and-out on the first possession of the game.
This was a great sign for Vandy due to the fact that they lost last season’s starting running back, Ray Davis to a transfer. Vanderbilt decided to go for two but was unable to convert.
Vandy’s defense wasn’t able to play excellent like they did in their first possession as weak pressure allowed the Rainbow Warriors to score a TD and take the lead.
On the very next play, Jayden McGowan was able to take it to the house on a kick return. He was able to do this due to excellent speed and solid blocking. The Commodores would get the two-point conversion to make it a 7 point game.
Vandy’s defense continued the momentum by forcing Hawaii to a three-and-out. The offense would continue the pounding as they were able to get a TD behind AJ Swann.
Brayden Schager would be able to respond to Vanderbilt by getting the Rainbow Warriors’ offense across the field for a TD. From then on till the end of the half, the two teams would trade punts. Vandy would score two straight touchdowns in the second half to take a 21-point lead.
Hawaii would start to make a comeback late after Vandy’s offense had very short offensive drives and was unable to take care of business. Vanderbilt would be able to get away with a victory late due to an interception from De’Rickey Wright.
What can Vanderbilt fans take away from this victory?
The offense for the Commodores is very legit. It was against a rebuilding defense but the run game might not have been as bad as I thought it would be. Also, the passing game was on fire for the Commodores.
On the other hand, the defense for Vanderbilt really concerns me. Yes, Hawaii is probably a better team than it was last season but the Rainbow Warriors were allowed to score 28 points in this game. That is way too many points in a game where Vanderbilt won by 7.
The Commodores got really sloppy at the end of this game allowing the Rainbow Warriors back into this game. Going forward against better competition that cannot happen. If the Commodores want to go bowling this season, they can’t play sloppy.
Vandy can’t beat one SEC team if they play sloppy this season. They just don’t have enough talent to do that. Even though a lot of talent has left Wake Forest for varying reasons, Vanderbilt will not be able to beat them if they play sloppy at times (even if they don’t play sloppy they could lose this game).
Due to the fact that Wake Forest is in two weeks, it is possible that Vandy will still be sloppy when it comes to playing them. With that in mind, the Commodores would have to beat three SEC teams instead of two to go bowling this season.
Although Vandy was able to get the win and showcase their offense, they have things to improve and they most likely need to do it quickly.
Side Note: I really wanted to talk about Vandy’s unfinished football stadium, and the scoreboard looked really fun. The game looked more like a high school game than a game featuring an SEC school anyways.