Through this season’s first two games Vanderbilt’s offense has looked as if it is stuck in second gear … until the second quarter, that is.
“Our second quarters have been phenomenal, but our first quarters have been slow,” quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels said following Saturday’s 38-3 victory over Austin Peay. “So [that’s] definitely going to be a focal point moving forward.”
The Commodores (1-1) have nine drives that either started or finished in the second quarter. Eight ended with touchdowns. The ninth was a missed field goal against the Governors.
They trailed Ole Miss 10-0 after 15 minutes but led 21-10 at halftime. Against Austin Peay, they turned a troubling 3-0 edge after one quarter to a 38-0 halftime advantage that allowed them to keep many of their top players on the bench for all of the final two quarters.
Of the starting offense’s 318 total yards in the first half against Austin Peay, 231 came in the second quarter.
“I think it was really just execution,” coach James Franklin said. “… We really didn’t do anything a whole lot different. We just started executing a little bit more.”
The dynamic actually is nothing new. However, the degree to which it has played out thus far is.
The second quarter was Vanderbilt’s best last season. Its 132 points were nearly twice as many as it scored in the first quarter (67) but barely more than what it got in the third (124). All told, the second quarter accounted for 33.8 percent of last season’s 390 points.
Currently, the Commodores’ 56 second-quarter points easily are the most in the SEC and account for more than three-quarters of their season total.
Team, Total Points, Second Quarter, Percentage
Alabama-x 35 14 40.0
Arkansas 65 16 24.6
Auburn 69 24 34.8
Florida 40 20 25.0
Georgia 76 21 27.6
Kentucky 67 21 31.3
LSU 93 24 25.8
Ole Miss 70 14 20.0
Miss. State 54 23 42.6
Missouri 96 24 25.0
S. Carolina 57 24 42.1
Tennessee 97 28 28.9
Texas A&M 117 37 31.6
Vanderbilt 73 56 76.7
(x-one game played)
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