Vanderbilt (2-2, 0-2) is looking more and more like the Commodore-mats of old with each passing week. It took a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter to secure a 24-7 Week 4 victory over Massachusetts. After a slow start, Vanderbilt gained 167 of its 406 total yards in the fourth quarter, eventually wearing down the winless Minutemen.
Most sportsbooks had Vanderbilt as a 30-plus point favorite last week. So, struggling against the likes of UMass is not the most comforting development for a team that’s already 0-2 in SEC play.
UMass entered the game allowing an average of nearly 523 yards against its first three opponents. But the Minutemen held Vanderbilt to 181 yards in the first half and just 58 in the third quarter while keeping the game close.
At least the Commodores finished strong, driving 80 and 89 yards to score the two game-clinching fourth-quarter touchdowns. But you have to wonder if maybe this team is a little down at this point in the season, having lost both its league games so far.
What to look for in Week 5: A much better performance against an inferior opponent. Vanderbilt hosts UAB, which offers the Commodores another opportunity to gain some confidence before getting into the thick of the conference schedule. Another lackluster performance could signal bad things to come, as three of the next four games for Vandy come against ranked opponents.