Vanderbilt has never won bowl games in consecutive seasons, but they are well on their way to doing just that with a big halftime lead in the BBVA Compass Bowl. Vanderbilt owns a 24-0 lead over Houston and has held the Cougars to just 23 offensive yards.
Jordan Matthews caught a pass on the left side of the field to Patton Roinette and sprinted down field with a blocker ahead of him for a 50-yard touchdown just five minutes in to the game. Later in the half Robinette ran in from eight yards out for his second touchdown of the quarter to give Vanderbilt a 14-0 lead while the Houston offense was forced to punt on eight out of nine offensive possessions in the half. The only time Houston did not punt the football away the drive ended with a lost fumble. In the second quarter Matthews added another 50-yard touchdown reception and has 143 receiving yards on five catches.
Vanderbilt kicker Carey Spear kicked a 24-yard field goal in the second quarter to extend the lead to 17-0. With the kick, Spear became Vanderbilt’s single-season scoring record holder with 93 points. Jack Jenkins had held the record since 1941.
It is hard to say what Houston needs to do in the second half to even make a game of this one. Nothing has worked on either side of the football.
About an hour or so before the game kicked off it was confirmed Texas A&M would have starting quarterback Johnny Manziel ready to go, and boy was he ever ready to go. Manziel has thrown three touchdowns and has been very accurate with his throws as Texas A&M leads Vanderbilt 28-17 at the half in College Station.
Manziel had to be treated by the Texas A&M medical staff briefly last week but eventually return to give the Aggies a shot at getting the last strike against Auburn in a back-and-forth game. The one drive that ended up really costing Texas A&M last week may have been the one drive Manziel missed, but this weekend is a much different outlook. Texas A&M has been in from control against Vanderbilt, fresh off a home win over Georgia last week.
Manziel tossed three touchdowns to three different receivers in the first quarter, with Mike Evans and a 43-yard scoring play serving as the top highlight of the quarter. Texas A&M extended the lead to 28-0 on a Trey Williams touchdown run early in the second quarter and then Vanderbilt started to find some offense.
A short field goal by Carey Spear got Vandy on the board and minutes later Patton Robinette tossed a 30-yard strike to Jonathan Krause for a touchdown. Vanderbilt then added a late touchdown before halftime when Jerron Seymour worked his way in to the end zone from four yards out.
Texas A&M’s defense has been a problem all season, and Vanderbilt appears to have found something to work with on offense. Vanderbilt has all of the momentum right now but did they dig a hole too deep to climb out of? It is unlikely Manziel is silent in the second half, so Vanderbilt could still have their work cut out for them.
Steve Spurrier is back to some of his old tricks this evening in Columbia. In the first half of South Carolina’s SEC match-up with Vanderbilt, the Gamecocks have had their offense running with two quarterbacks splitting playing time. So far, regardless of the quarterback taking the field, the offense has been moving well and the Gamecocks are leading 28-10 at the half.
Connor Shaw started the game off well, completing eight of 11 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown, but Steve Spurrier made the decision to go with his plan of getting Dylan Thompson some work as well. On Thompson’s first possession, he moved South carolina right down field and held an option to run in for a short touchdown to put South Carolina up 21-0 in the first quarter. Both quarterbacks have been very effective against Vanderbilt thus far. South carolina has 381 yards of offense an has held Vanderbilt to just 95 yards.
The defense has also been dominant in this one for South Carolina. Vanderbilt has just been overmatched in this one. Part of that may be coming from South Carolina needing a real good rebound this week after a frustrating loss at Georgia last week. Vanderbilt has mostly been unable to do anything on offense in the first half on either side of the football. There was one play that went their way though late in the half.
Steven Clarke recorded his first career interception late in the first half and returned it 69 yards to set up Vanderbilt’s offense on the door step of a touchdown, which was picked up a play later when Jerron Seymour walked in up the middle for the score. Vanderbilt ended the half with a 54-yard field goal off the leg of Carey Spear. Will that be something that can spark a complete turnaround? That may be a bit optimistic for the Commodores, but every comeback has to start somewhere.
Wondering about Jadeveon Clowney? He has one tackle in the game, but as we have seen this season Vanderbilt is trying to move away from him when they can help it.