Auburn-Vanderbilt grades: 2 QBs, 1 win for Tigers

The highest-graded players and biggest takeaways from Auburn's win over Vanderbilt.

| 8 months ago
(Michael Chang/Getty Images)

(Michael Chang/Getty Images)

Auburn-Vanderbilt grades: 2 QBs, 1 win for Tigers

Auburn Tigers 23, Vanderbilt Commodores 16

Here are the top-graded players and biggest storylines from Auburn’s 23-16 win over Vanderbilt:


Quarterback grade: John Franklin III, 66.1; Sean White, 65.9

Dual-QB system does just enough to win

Auburn had its two quarterbacks split time throughout the game, with White doing most of the passing and Franklin helming the big rushing attack. White was effective in his limited role, completing all but three of his passes. He didn’t need to push the ball downfield often but he did complete 3-of-4 for 55 yards and his lone touchdown on passes more than 10 yards downfield. Franklin threw just four passes on the day.


Top offensive grades:

T Robert Leff, 80.8
HB Kamryn Pettway, 78.1
G Braden Smith, 70.1
T Darius James, 67.9
HB Kerryon Johnson, 67.7

Strong rushing attack paces Tigers offense and leads them to victory

It was a fantastic rushing attack that really propelled the Tigers to victory in this game. Lead HB Kamryn Pettway led the way with 169 yards on the ground with just 23 carries. QB John Franklin also chipped in with 60 yards on seven carries. It all started with the offensive line though. Of the Tigers’ 254 rushing yards, only 98 of them came after contact (38.5 percent), which shows just how big the holes opened by this line were.

Top defensive grades:

CB Carlton Davis, 85.2
LB Darrell Williams, 84.3
S Tray Matthews, 82.3
DI Montravius Adams, 82.2
LB T.J. Neal, 80.8

Pass defense gives up completions but doesn’t break

Just looking at the numbers, a 24-of-33 line doesn’t seem like it would be a strong day in coverage. But the Tigers’ defense allowed just 221 yards (6.7 YPA). They constantly forced checkdowns and limited any yards after catch, surrendering an average of just 3.6 yards after the catch per completion. They were led by corner Carlton Davis, who was targeted five times and allowed just two catches for 22 yards and a pass defended. On top of him, star edge rusher Carl Lawson had a sack, a hit and three hurries.

Vanderbilt Commodores

Quarterback grade: Kyle Shurmur, 62.3

Unspectacular day for Shurmur fails to carry team to upset

Shurmur didn’t look too bad in this one, aside from a few dangerous passes. But the Auburn defense forced him to check down nearly every time he looked to throw. He attempted four passes beyond 20 yards downfield and hit on just one of them for 29 yards. In particular he missed on a few passes his final drive, including his game-ending interception.


Top offensive grades:

WR C.J. Duncan, 81.7
WR Caleb Scott, 75.8
TE Jared Pinkney, 66.5
HB Ralph Webb, 74.6
QB Kyle Shurmur, 62.3

Run game can’t get a footing

The best weapon for the Commodores was their jet sweeps/end-around receiver runs, as they couldn’t get any kind of running game established. Taking away those receiver runs, they gained just 83 yards on 24 carries (3.5 yards per carry). It was no fault of the backs though, as they got next to no blocking help. Only one offensive lineman finished the game with a run blocking grade above 50.0 (T Will Holden).

Top defensive grades:

S Arnold Tarpley, 80.2
S Ladarius Wiley, 79.5
CB Torren McGaster, 77.6
DI Adam Butler, 74.1
ED Johnathan Wynn, 73.9

Handful of bright spots in an otherwise average defensive performance

There were a few standouts for this Commodores defense, but none that did enough to really propel them to success. ED Johnathan Wynn had four solo run stops, which led to a team-high 82.8 run defense grade. CB Torren McGaster also looked great, seeing just four targets in coverage while allowing only two of them to be caught for a mere 12 yards, only three of them after the catch. It was a brutal day for the Commodore pass rush however, as they had just three hurries in 20 dropbacks.

| Analyst

Bryson has been an analyst at Pro Football Focus since 2014, and has also been a contributor to 120 Sports.

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