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THREE KEYS REVIEWED: VANDERBILT VS. ALABAMA A&M

1. RUN BLOCKING IMPROVES - PASS

Against Middle Tennessee Vandy averaged just two yards per carry on 35 rushing attempts for 71 yards. That improved against Alabama A&M with the 'Dores gaining 174 total yards on 35 carries (5 yds/carry). Vandy did fail to gain one yard in a fourth-and-1 situation but those things happen, even against non-elite competition. Ralph Webb had 13 carries for 54 yards with a long run of nine yards. Khari Blasingame gained 55 yards on just six carries with a long run of 31 yards. Redshirt freshman Jamauri Wakefield led the Commodores in rushing with 64 yards on 15 totes, to average 4.3 yards per carry. Wakefield, who looks like he's the real deal, had a long run of 13 yards. Kyle Shurmur scored on a 1-yard run and Webb scored a TD on a 6-yard scamper in which he jumped over an opponent and into the end zone. All in all, it was an improvement. I think we'll see some new stuff in the running game against KSU this weekend. Vandy hasn't had to show all its stuff in the first two games but neither have the Wildcats.

2. BACKUP QUARTERBACK GETS SOME REPS - PASS

First off, Kyle Shurmur has been amazing in the first two games. Against A&M he was 15 for 18 for 202 yards, four TDs and no (again) interceptions. We'll take that anytime. Deuce Wallace was 3 of 7 for 19 yards. He was better than his stat line indicated. He should have had at least two more completions but receivers had passes bounce off their hands. It was good for Deuce to get out there in a live game. Mission accomplished. Shawn Stankavage got in for a couple series. He now has 100 percent completions for his career (1-of-1 for 6 yds). His momma will be proud as will Deuce's.

3. SPECIAL TEAMS IMPROVEMENT - PASs

Well, it wasn't a great improvement but Tommy Openshaw barely missed a 56-yard field goal. He had it dead center but it hit the crossbar and bounced the wrong way, of course. He'll be okay. Openshaw is still 10-of-10 for extra points which are important. Kalija Lipscomb had an 11-yard punt return. Openshaw handled kickoffs well with four touchbacks. Andrew Rector blocked a punt.

There are still some things for Vandy to clean up but the team is looking pretty good entering murderer's row. Vandy's kickoff against visiting Kansas State is at 6:30 pm CT.

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