From Vanderbilt Athletics
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Highlighted by an effective and efficient passing game, the Vanderbilt football team produced an entertaining spring game on Friday night, with the Gold team taking a 42-31 victory over the Black squad.
Five Vanderbilt quarterbacks saw action in the contest, and they combined to complete 17-of-25 attempts for 221 yards and no interceptions. Kyle Shurmur led the charge, completing 7-of-9 passes for 96 yards.
Head coach Derek Mason said he was pleased with the Commodores’ overall performance, and said the game was a good step forward for his team.
“We came out here and competed,” Mason said. “I liked what I saw from my offense. Our quarterbacks managed the game, they threw well, they hit their targets, and we were able to sustain some run game. It was good football. I liked what I saw.”
Nine different Commodores caught at least one pass during the night. C.J. Duncan, returning from an injury, finished with two catches for 50 yards, including a 32-yard gain, and Reese Wilson had three receptions for 37 yards. Darrius Sims and Trent Sherfield both finished with two catches for 22 yards each.
Duncan said he was excited to once again be making contributions after being sidelined last season.
“It’s been a long time coming since last year, but it’s a blessing to be back on the field,” he said. “I try to take each day and each rep like it’s my last. So, I definitely think about (the injury) each and every day. (I am) working hard every day to be the best receiver that I can.”
Place-kicker Tommy Openshaw also had a solid night, connecting on field goals from 51, 44 and 24 yards during the live-scrimmage action.
Shurmur said it was a productive night, but still sees room for improvement.
“I hit a few throws,” he said, “but a few of them I wish I had back. Every detail matters when you play here — so just (doing) the little things would help a lot.”
The Vanderbilt defense also had plenty of big moments, with Charles Wright and Nifae Lealaorecording a pair of sacks each. Ja’karri Thomas, Joejuan Williams and LaDarius Wiley also were active throughout the night, as the threesome combined for 16 solo tackles — Williams and Thomas with six each and Wiley with four.
Mason said he was encouraged by what he saw from his team, and is looking forward to what’s ahead for the Commodores, who open the season on Sept. 1 against South Carolina.
“(Tonight was) just a springboard to summer,” said Mason. “We’ve got a lot of work to do this summer, we’ll grind it out, we’ll bring these guys back, and we’ll get them ready to go in the fall. We will start our quest to South Carolina.”
PASSING – Kyle Shurmur 7-9-96-0; Shawn Stankavage 4-7-58-0, Wade Freebeck 3-5-39-0,Deuce Wallace 2-2-19-0; John Webb, 1-2-9-0.
RUSHING – Jaire George 5-27-0, Khari Blasingame 5-19-1, Josh Crawford 8-16-0, Jalen Banks3-12-0, Trent Sherfield 1-3-0, Dallas Rivers 1-2-0, Deuce Wallace 3-(-5)-0, Wade Freebeck 4-(-13)-1; Kyle Shurmur 4-(-24)-0.
RECEIVING – Reese Wilson 3-37, C.J. Duncan 2-50, Ronald Monroe 2-37, Winston Guillory 2-30,Trent Sherfield 2-22,Darrius Sims 2-22, Khari Blasingame 2-17, Jalen Banks 1-6, Dallas Rivers 1-1
TACKLES – Joejuan Williams 6-0-6, Ja’karri Thomas 6-0-6, LaDarius Wiley 4-0-4, Josh Smith 0-4-4, Torey Agee 2-1-3, Nifae Lealao 3-0-3, Charles Wright 2-1-3, Jordan Griffin 2-0-2, Tre Herndon 2-0-2, Bryce Lewis 2-0-2, Adam Butler 1-1-2, Caleb Peart 1-1-2, Jonathan Wynn 1-1-2,Oren Burks 1-0-1, Nigel Bowden 1-0-1, Zach Cunningham 1-0-1, Taurean Ferguson 1-0-1, Jay Hockaday 1-0-1, Torren McGaster 1-0-1, Emmanuel Smith 1-0-1, Andrew Rector 1-0-1, Donovan Sheffield 1-0-1,
QB SACKS – Lealao 2, Wright 2, Cunningham 1, Griffin 1, Hockaday 1, Thomas 1.
FORCED FUMBLES – Thomas 1.
FUMBLE RECOVERIES – E. Smith 1.
QB HURRIES – J. Smith 2, Agee 1.