Thursday, August 28, 2008

Live Blog: Vanderbilt at Miami (Ohio)

Good evening ladies and gentlemen,

We're finally back for another season of college football and man, does it feel great. I'll be here providing commentary throughout the contest so be sure to hit that refresh button. Feel free to leave questions and comments below.

6:40: It's amazing what a healthy Chris Nickson can do. He just ran for a big gain on third down to keep the drive going.

6:41: And just like that, Jeff Jennings fumbles. Not how you want to start to the season.

6:44: It's now Miami (OH) 3, Vanderbilt 0 after the Redhawks took advantage of the Commodores' turnover.

6:47: Unsurprisingly, Miami (OH) is kicking away from D.J. Moore. Can't say I blame them.

Huge third-down catch by Justin Wheeler, who managed to withstand a big hit.

6:51: Two big plays in a row for Nickson. First, he rolled out and found tight end Brandon Barden for a nine-yard gain and then hooked up with Sean Walker for a big gain.

Touchdown Vanderbilt! Nickson found Walker in the back of the end zone on third-and-goal from the five-yard line. It's now 7-3 Vanderbilt. It's early, but you can't help but be impressed with Nickson, who has looked calm and confident and showed nice touch on a number of throws. Also, George Smith wasn't kidding when he said that Sean Walker poised for a big year.

6:58: After recording six interceptions a year ago, D.J. Moore came up with his first pick of 2008, giving the Commodores great field position.

7:02: Vanderbilt went three-and-out, but Bryant Hahnfeldt nailed a 42-yard field goal to put the Commodores ahead 10-3 midway through the first quarter.

7:08: Like always, third downs are going to be critical in tonight's contest. Miami (OH) just converted on third-and-four to keep its drive going.

7:11: How can you not love D.J. Moore, arguably the most versatile player in college football? After coming up with a sack on a third down, he just returned a punt 91 yards down to the one-yard line.

He now has one interception, one sack, one forced fumbled and a 91-yard punt in less than one quarter. Not too bad.

7:17: It's now 17-3 Vanderbilt after Chris Nickson leaped over the pile from one-yard out, although after looking at the replay, it looks like the Commodores might have gotten a break. Regardless, Vanderbilt has to be pleased with its first-quarter performance.

7:24: A few first-quarter stats

Nickson: 6-for-9, 73 yards, 1 TD
VU: 4-for-5 on a third down
Sean Walker: 2 catches, 53 yards, 1 TD
VU rushing: 11 yards on 10 carries

7:25: Vanderbilt's secondary is living up to the hype tonight. Cornerback Myron Lewis came up with an interception a the first play of the second quarter. Lewis may not get as much hype as Mr. Moore, but he might be just as talented.

Vanderbilt's drive stalled as the offensive line failed to give Nickson any time to throw on third-and-four. However, it was encouraging to see tailback Gaston Miller rush for 17 yards on four carries. He adds a new dimension to the Commodores' running game.

7:37: We've got ourselves a ball game. The elusive Eugene Harris just caught a 30-yard touchdown to cut Vanderbilt's lead in half. It's now 17-10 Vanderbilt with 6:58 remaining in the first half.

I'll say it again: When healthy, Chris Nickson has to chance to be a special player. He just took off for 59yards on a designed quarterback draw. Let's see if the Commodores can convert inside the red zone.

7:47: Nickson just put the Commodores ahead 24-10 after scoring from 14 yards out. Nickson made a beautiful read on the QB draw, taking it to the outside after setting up his blocks. The redshirt senior has now rushed for 79 yards on 10 carries and two scores and completed six of 10 passes for 73 yards and a touchdown.

7:58: Safety Ryan Hamilton just dropped a sure interception, but Vanderbilt forced Miami (OH) to punt nonetheless. With 2:21 remaining in the half, let's see if Vanderbilt can get on the board again.

Nickson just took off for a big gain on the third down as the Commodores seek to score before the half.

8:08: Hahnfeldt just kicked a 32-yard field goal to give Vanderbilt a 27-10 lead with 14 seconds remaining in the first half. Nickson has now rushed for 121 yards on 12 carries.

Great 30 minutes for the Commodores. Here are a few key half-time stats:

Total yards: VU (218), MU (181)
Passing yards: VU (73), MU (113)
Rushing yards: VU (145), MU (68)
Penalties: VU (1-for-15), MU (4-for-35)
Turnovers: VU (1), MU (2)
Third-down conversion: VU (6-for-9), MU (2-for-6)

Key Players
Chris Nickson: 6-for-12, 73 yards, 1 TD; 12 carries for 121 yards, 2 TDs
D.J. Moore: 1 INT, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 91-yard punt return

9:00: Not much to report on this half. Nathan Parseghianjust kicked a 30-yard field goal to cut Vanderbilt's lead to 14 with a little over six minutes remaining in the third quarter.

9:05: Here's my one complaint with Chris Nickson tonight: when he leaves the pocket, he has chosen to hold onto the football and take a loss instead of simply throwing it out of bounds.

9:07: Jamie Graham just got...JACKED UP! I love the fact that he just bounced right back up.

Props to Andrew Barge, a contributor here on The Sports VU, for representing Vanderbilt well on the sidelines in an interview with ESPNU. Well done, Bargo!

9:40: Jared Hawkins just scored from four yards out to give Vanderbilt a 34-13 lead with 5:40 remaining in the fourth quarter, effectively putting the game out of reach. Encouraging to see the Commodores close out a game in a style.

9:57: Josh Allen just came down with a sweet interception in the end zone to preserve Vanderbilt's 34-13 victory. And that wraps it up from here. Check back tomorrow morning for extended coverage from the guys here at The Sports VU. Have a great night, everyone. Be safe.


Anonymous said...

Why do we shell up with leads? Is this talked about at school, ie this game ut last year, etc...

Anonymous said...

We shelled up with the lead b/c Cain didn't want to show S. Car. our entire offensive package.