Vanderbilt got a boost from running back Zac Stacy on Saturday as the Commodores beat Presbyterian handily 58-0. Stacy rushed for 174 yards on the day, taking the first offensive snap from scrimmage 86 yards to the endzone.
But Stacy wasn’t the story of Vanderbilt’s first win. It was the starting of transfer quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels.
In the place of Jordan Rodgers, who had gotten the nod nine consecutive games, Carta-Samuels stepped in nicely and completed thirteen of twenty passes, for 195 yards and a touchdown. It seems that head coach James Franklin isn’t ready to carve Saturday’s decision in stone yet, though.
"Like we try to do every week, we will decide on Thursday based on who has practiced well this week,” Franklin said.
Similar to Rodgers, Carta-Samuels has the ability to scramble, get out of trouble and run with the ball. But running, I believe, was one of the reasons Rodgers was relieved of his duties.
In Franklin’s offense, a running quarterback can’t use his legs as a crutch, and Rodgers inefficiency to move the ball down field, through the air, ended up working against him. As a result, he would not hesitate to tuck it and run, instead of standing in the pocket and throwing to his deeper recievers.
In the first two games, Rodgers carried the ball twenty-eight times, which was second most on the team. With the speed of SEC defenses, Vanderbilt won’t be able to rely on scrambles to move the chains.
Carta-Samuels transferred from Wyoming and sat out the 2011 season. While with the Cowboys in 2010, Carta-Samuels started eleven games, threw for 1,702 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions. Though not outstanding numbers, he has room to grow. I expect Franklin to give Carta-Samuels another shot, but this week it will be done against a tenacious Georgia Bulldog team between the hedges.
“I think Austyn conducted the game well, but we'll see,” Franklin said. “Doing it against Presbyterian is one thing, doing it against Georgia is another.”
Kickoff is set for 6:45pm CT on Saturday in Athens and can be seen on ESPN 2.
Photo courtesy of The Tennessean