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Music City Bowl 2012: Grading N.C. State and Vanderbilt's Performances

Brett MixonContributor ISeptember 19, 2016

Music City Bowl 2012: Grading N.C. State and Vanderbilt's Performances

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    Vanderbilt notched its ninth win in a season for the first time since 1915 on Monday when the Commodores defeated N.C. State by 38-24 score in the Music City Bowl at LP Field in Nashville.

    Vanderbilt's 10th-ranked passing defense gave N.C. State senior QB Mike Glennon trouble all afternoon. He threw three interceptions during the game, and the Wolfpack turned the ball over a total of five times. 

    Despite a 424-255 yardage advantage in favor of the Wolfpack, the game felt as though Vanderbilt dominated from start to finish. 

    Vanderbilt's Zac Stacy found the end zone one time and had a strong game on the ground for the Commodores. 

    The Commodores ended the season 9-5 and the Wolfpack finished the 2012 campaign with a 7-6 record. N.C. State will now hand complete control of the football program over to new head coach Dave Doren, who came from Northern Illinois. 

    To put a bow on 2012 and the Music City Bowl, let's grade the performances by the Commodores and the Wolfpack. 


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    Mike Glennon, N.C. State: D

    Glennon made a couple of NFL-caliber throws but also made some critical mistakes. He forced some throws that resulted in three interceptions. He was inaccurate for much of the game, especially when Vanderbilt got pressure on him. 

    The senior did not do anything to help his draft stock. According to CBS sports, Glennon is the sixth-best QB prospect for the 2013 NFL draft, and Mel Kiper Jr. had previously gone as far as saying he guessed Glennon would be the first quarterback drafted. 

    Glennon ended the day going 35-of-53 for 383 yards and three interceptions. 

    Jordan Rodgers, Vanderbilt: B

    Rodgers wasn’t needed much in the first half because a lot of Vanderbilt's offensive success came on the ground and via the Wildcat formation.

    Rodgers was successful on the short and intermediate throws but did not attempt many downfield passes and could not complete most of the ones he threw. His longest passing play of the day came on the second quarter TD pass to Jordan Matthews. It was good for only 18 yards. 

    He showed off his wheels on a fourth quarter TD run for 15 yards that put a cap on the Commodores' scoring for the day. He also showed his toughness when he stood in the pocket and took a hard hit underneath the facemask just a couple plays before the TD run. 

Running Back

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    N.C. State overall grade: C

    The Wolfpack did not find a lot of success on the ground in Nashville on New Year's eve. Eighty-two yards were gained and 41 yards were lost on the ground on Monday, resulting in the Wolfpack netting only 41 yards. N.C. State only averaged 1.6 yards per carry in the game. 

    One of N.C. State's five turnovers came from RB Shadrach Thornton when he fumbled in .

    RB Tony Creecy was the leading rusher for the Wolfpack. He gained 43 yards on nine carries. He found the end zone one time on a one yard run in the second quarter. 

    Vanderbilt overall grade: A

    RBs Zac Stacy and Wesley Tate found a lot of success on the ground against N.C. State. 117 yards of the 225 total yards for Vanderbilt came on the ground. 

    A lot of the rushing success came out of the Wildcat formation. Stacy and Tate both scored a TD out of the formation. 

    Stacy's touchdown run.…

    — VandyFootball (@VandyFootball) December 31, 2012

Wide Receiver

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    N.C. State overall grade: C

    N.C. State WRs did not do Glennon any favors on New Year's eve. Despite having 383 total receiving yards, the Wolfpack WRs had a lot of dropped passes and missed opportunities throughout the game. 

    WR Tobais Palmer was the leading receiver for N.C. State. He had eight catches for 111 yards. WR Rashard Smith had the only TD reception late in the game. 

    Vanderbilt overall grade: B

    The Commodores WRs did not have the gaudy numbers that Wolfpack WRs had, but what they lacked in quantity, they made up for in quality. 

    The Commodores' first TD came via a beautiful catch by WR Chris Boyd. In the corner of the end zone, he made a one-handed grab and managed to get a foot down before going out of bounds. 

    Jordan Matthews also had a nice TD run on a WR screen where he made a couple Wolfpack defenders miss. Matthews was the leading WR for the 'Dores. He had seven receptions that went for 61 yards. 

Tight End

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    N.C. State overall grade: B

    Even though N.C. State used a lot of two tight end formations, Glennon found TEs Asa Watson and Anthony Talbert only a total of five times on Monday.

    After one of those catches, Watson had the ball knocked loose by Vanderbilt LB Darreon Herring. 

    Watson ended the day with two catches for 21 yards. Talbert finished with three catches for 29 yards. 

    Vanderbilt overall grade: C

    Freshman TE Steven Scheu did not make a significant impact in Monday's game. He ended the day with two catches for seven yards. 

Offensive Line

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    N.C. State overall grade: D

    The N.C. State offensive line lost the battle at the line of scrimmage. The Wolfpack only managed to get 41 yards rushing. Glennon was sacked three times and hurried four times. 

    The offensive line also gave up four tackles for loss on the day. 

    Vanderbilt overall grade: B

    Vanderbilt used a lot of pulling guards against N.C. State and it was successful in running the ball throughout the game. 

    The offensive line was able to achieve a consistent push, evidenced by the 117 yards of rushing that the Commodores had. 

    Rodgers was only sacked one time. 

Defensive Line

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    N.C. State overall grade: B

    For most of the first half, Vanderbilt was able to run at will against the defensive front of N.C. State. There was improvement in the second half, as the defensive line began to find a little penetration.

    The defensive line for NC State recorded nine tackles for loss on Monday and one sack of Rodgers. 

    Vanderbilt overall grade: A

    The Vanderbilt defensive line was more physical than N.C. States offensive line throughout the game. DEs Johnell Thomas and Kyle Woestmann both played a superb game. 

    Thomas had four tackles and a forced fumble. Woestmann had three tackles, two for a loss. He also had two sacks and a forced fumble. 

    The defensive front for Vanderbilt recorded three sacks and was a big reason that N.C. State was held to only 41 yards rushing. 


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    N.C. State overall grade: D

    The Wolfpack LBs, along with the entire defense, had trouble stopping the Wildcat formation of Vanderbilt throughout the game. Even when they knew what was coming, the LBs had a hard time stopping RB Zac Stacy in the Wildcat. 

    When they found themselves in good position to make a play, there were many instances where a tackle could not be completed. 

    Brandon Pittman led the LB corps with eight tackles and assisted in a tackle for loss. 

    Vanderbilt overall grade: B

    Glennon became very familiar with the Vanderbilt LBs throughout the Music City Bowl. The Commodores were not shy about bringing pressure from the middle of its defense. 

    LB Darreon Herring forced a fumble after he did not give up on a play that was already behind him. LB Chase Garnham led the group with seven tackles, including one for a loss. He also recorded a sack of Glennon. 


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    N.C. State overall grade: B

    N.C. State's best area of play on the defensive side of the ball came in the secondary. It gave up only 108 passing yards and limited Vanderbilt to only 6.8 yards per completion. 

    DB Earl Wolff had a stellar performance in the Music City Bowl. He finished with a team-leading nine tackles along with a pass break-up. He also made some history. 

    Wolff finished the day with nine tackles. He becomes the first Wolfpack DB to go over 400 in career, he has the fifth-most in school history

    — NC State Football (@PackFootball) December 31, 2012

    Missed tackles is what caused the Wolfpack secondary to miss out on getting an "A" grade. 

    Vanderbilt overall grade: A

    Vanderbilt’s strength on defense is its secondary and it played superbly against Glennon. It ended the day with three interceptions. Trey Wilson picked him off in the end zone on the Wolfpack’s first drive of the second half. The secondary ended up with three interceptions. That number is nearly half of the amount of interceptions it had all year coming into the game (8). 

    Photo: Trey Wilson's interception…

    — VandyFootball (@VandyFootball) December 31, 2012

    The secondary gave up plenty of yards to Glennon. To be exact, it gave up 383 yards. Still, it prevented big plays from the N.C. State WRs. The secondary gave up only 10.9 yards per completion.

    Vanderbilt played physically throughout the game and was solid in making tackles. 

Special Teams

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    N.C. State overall grade: B

    Tobias Palmer had trouble fielding kickoffs that resulted in bad field position on Vanderbilt’s first couple of kickoffs. Palmer made up for it in a big way with a 94-yard kickoff return for a TD late in the second quarter. 

    Palmer is the first Pack player since Greg Golden in the 2001 Visit Florida Tangerine Bowl to return a kickoff for a score in a bowl game.

    — NC State Football (@PackFootball) December 31, 2012

    Palmer had 173 kickoff return yards for the entire game. 

    K Niklas Sade was 1-of-2 on field goal attempts. He missed from 44 yards and was successful in his attempt from 24 yards.

    P Will Baumann had three punts averaging 30.3 yards per attempt. 

    Vanderbilt overall grade: B

    Vanderbilt performed well in special teams department as well. KR Brian Kimbrow had a 52-yard return in the second quarter. 

    In the punting game, Richard Kent averaged 46.2 yards per kick and pinned N.C. State inside of its own 20-yard line three times. 

    K Carey Spear was 1-of-2 in field goals. He connected successfully from 30 yards and missed from 44 yards. 


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    N.C. State overall grade: C

    It couldn't have been an easy situation for Dana Bible, who was filling in for Tom O'Brien. O'Brien was fired after the regular season. 

    Still, there were plenty of mental mistakes and fundamental mistakes made by the Wolfpack. Coaches are supposed to use the bowl practices to work on those things. 

    As far as the game plan, Bible did not have the defense prepared to stop the Wildcat formation from Vanderbilt. It is not like the Wildcat formation from Vanderbilt was a new wrinkle in the Commodores' offense. 

    Vanderbilt overall grade: A

    James Franklin was his usual, emotional self during the Music City Bowl. He was very aggressive. That was evidenced by him going for it on 4th-and-1 on his own 34-yard line. 

    There's a reason that players love playing for Franklin. It's because he is their biggest cheerleader when something good happens. He is also their biggest constructive critic when there is a mistake. His passion for coaching the Commodores is always obvious. If he has anything to do with it, nine wins will become the norm for this Vanderbilt team. 

    Franklin: We aren't going anywhere and people better get used to it. This is a brand new Vanderbilt.

    — VandyFootball (@VandyFootball) December 31, 2012

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