Vanderbilt 45, Arkansas 31
What Happened: The Vanderbilt offense got out to a good start, and it didn’t stop, with Ke’Shawn Vaughn cranking out three rushing touchdowns and Jared Pinkney catching two second quarter scoring passes.
Arkansas was able to keep up and stay within range into the fourth quarter – with an 11-yard Tyson Morris touchdown catch pulling the Hogs within seven in the fourth, but the Commodores went on two scoring marches to put the game away in the final five minutes.
What Mattered: Vanderbilt QB Kyle Shurmur didn’t have to carry the offense. Vaughn ran 26 times for 172 yards and three scores, and the team cranked up 250 yards and four scores. But Shurmur was good, too, hitting 13-of-19 passes for 192 yards and two scores.
– The Arkansas passing game was fine, but Ty Storey threw two picks to go along with his 240 yards and two touchdowns. It was a balanced attack, and it moved fine, but the defense couldn’t help with any stops in big moments, especially in the fourth.
– Vandy controlled the clock – keeping the ball for well over 35 minutes – and was a +2 in the turnover battle. That was enough to keep the Hogs from getting into a groove. The ground game made that happen.
Thoughts: Wow did Vanderbilt and head coach Derek Mason need this. After losing three straight and five of the last six, this at least keeps the hopes of going bowling alive. At 4-5, the Commodores need two more wins with at Missouri, Ole Miss, and Tennessee to close. It’s not dreaming the impossible.
– Oh come on, Arkansas. You lost because of the Vanderbilt running game?! This was the chance to finally get on a little bit of a roll after beating Tulsa, and now, that might be it with LSU, at Mississippi State, at Missouri to close.