Shurmur powers Vanderbilt in 42-0 shutout of Alabama A&M
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The way Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason sees it, quarterback Kyle Shurmur’s feet are turning his arm into quite a weapon.
Shurmur completed 15-of-18 passes for 202 yards and four touchdowns on Saturday, leading the Commodores to a 42-0 smashing of Alabama A&M. Vanderbilt improved to 2-0 for the first time under the fourth-year head coach.
In his first two games this season, Shurmur has completed 35-of-44 passes for 498 yards and seven touchdowns. He also ran for a score against Alabama A&M (0-2).
“I think for (Shurmur), it’s just his footwork and his ability to deliver the ball,” Mason said. “He’s moving his feet in the direction of where he needs to throw. That’s where the accuracy comes from.
“He’s coming from a better platform. He’s not leaning. He’s stepping into throws.”
Shurmur set a school record with an 83.3 percent completion rate against the Bulldogs, breaking the previous mark of 81.1 percent set by Hank Lesesne against Georgia in 1961. This season has been a continuation of the last four games of last year for Shurmur, who threw for 1,162 yards combined in those contests.
“We’re really trying hard as quarterbacks to take pride in our footwork,” Shurmur said. “Everything comes from the ground up. In terms of the run game as well, we have to be on the right tracks and give the running backs the best alleys, so they can make plays as well. It’s really important to have good footwork.”
Vanderbilt’s defense was every bit as impressive as Shurmur and the offense. The Commodores piled up three sacks, posted two interceptions, held the Bulldogs to just 103 total yards and recorded their first shutout since beating Kentucky 40-0 in 2012.
Vandy’s special teams chipped in with one blocked punt and another deflected punt, pleasing the sparse home crowd of 25,802.
“This is a three-phase game,” Shurmur said. “I think the defense did a great job. The shutout is awesome. Special teams, they made a bunch of plays in terms of field position. It felt like we had a short field on offense a bunch. I thought we did a lot of good things on offense.”
ALABAMA A&M: The FBS Bulldogs will look forward to facing a team more in their weight class next week after getting thumped by a BCS squad. Alabama A&M didn’t help its offensive cause against Vanderbilt by throwing a pair of second-half interceptions.
VANDERBILT: The Commodores look primed for the meat of their schedule, which includes four ranked teams - Kansas St., Alabama, Florida and Georgia over the next four weeks. Vanderbilt has outscored its two opponents 70-6.
“We have some tough games, but you have to like it that way,” Mason said. “Now you have to prepare for some good football teams to come in and see how good you really are.”
MULTIPLE TOUCHDOWN CATCHES: Vanderbilt tight end Jared Pinkney recorded a pair of touchdown receptions, catching a 10-yard pass in the second quarter and a 23-yarder in the third. Meanwhile, wide receiver Kalija Lipscomb hauled in a 45-yard scoring pass, giving him three touchdown catches in two games.
MOVING UP THE CHARTS: Vanderbilt running back Ralph Webb carried 13 times for 54 yards and a touchdown. Webb moved into 18th place on the SEC’s career rushing list with 3,445 yards, moving past Alabama’s Bobby Humphrey (3,420 yards).
OFFENSIVELY CHALLENGED: Alabama A&M has scored a total of seven points in its first two contests. Quarterback Damion May led the Bulldogs against Vanderbilt with six carries for 27 yards. But Alabama A&M’s rushing attack overall produced just 59 yards on 32 carries.
YOUNG GUNS: Vanderbilt quarterback Deuce Wallace played in his first game, completing three-of-seven passes for 19 yards. Commodores running back Jamauri Wakefield got the first carries of his career, finishing with 15 rushes for 64 yards.
“He made some big cuts to show you what his career will be like here at Vanderbilt,” Mason said of Wakefield.
ALABAMA A&M: The Bulldogs will play their third straight non-conference road game when they travel to Mobile, Ala., for a contest against South Alabama. Jaguars are 0-2, having suffered losses to Ole Miss and Oklahoma St.
VANDERBILT: The Commodores play the second of three straight home games when they take on 19th-ranked Kansas St. at 6:30 p.m. The Wildcats are 2-0, having posted 55 points in each of their two wins - against Central Arkansas and Charlotte.