Mackenzi Adams said it took a little time for him to get into the flow of the game.
Still, Vanderbilt’s backup quarterback wasted no time putting points on the board Saturday in the Commodores’ 56-31 loss to Georgia Tech at Vanderbilt Stadium.
Adams came on for starter Larry Smith, who was injured on a long run early in VU’s second offensive series. Adams completed an 11-yard pass on his first snap and guided the offense the final 41 yards on a seven-play, 88-yard touchdown drive, which gave the Commodores a 14-7 lead.
“It took me a little bit to get used to the speed of the game,” Adams said. “I was a little rusty but was able to jump in there.”
The fifth-year senior had appeared in just three games and attempted 15 passes this season. In this game, he completed 12 of 22 for 152 yards with no interceptions or touchdowns.
It was the most passes he’d thrown in a game since Nov. 22, 2008 against Tennessee.
“Mackenzi came in and did a good job just like we knew he would if he was ever needed,” coach Bobby Johnson said. “He was prepared and was ready to go.”
Smith led an eight-play, 71-yard touchdown drive on his only full possession and completed his only two pass attempts (for 27 yards) before he was injured.
His status for the remainder of the season was not immediately clear.
I just know the hamstring was bad enough that he couldn’t play,” Johnson said. “The first report I got was ‘a bad hamstring pull,’ but then I heard later on it might not be so (bad).”
Udom Umoh produced Vanderbilt’s fourth pass play of more than 40 yards this season – with a little help from Georgia Tech,
His 42-yard reception, which led to a third-period field goal, came on a throw that was deflected by Georgia Tech linebacker Brad Jefferson. The pass wasn’t even intended for Umoh.
“Sometimes, I guess, it’s better to be lucky than good,” Adams said. “I had John Cole coming across on a deep dig route, and he was very open. They had a linebacker who dropped pretty deep and he jumped up and got a hand on it.
“… We got lucky and we were rolling there for a while.”
Udom’s 54-yard reception against Rice is the Commodores’ longest.
“When you tip a ball like that and another receiver catches it, (you think) maybe it’s not your night,” Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said.
• Senior wide receiver Alex Washington had a season-high three receptions for 24 yards. He had catches two in three previous contests.
• The 35-yard run on which Smith was injured was the longest of his career.
• Vanderbilt forced Georgia Tech to punt three times in the first half.
The Yellow Jackets averaged 2.9 punts per contest coming into the game. They did not punt in the second half.
• Defensive tackle Greg Billinger recorded his first career forced fumble and linebacker John Stokes got his first career fumble recovery on the same play, when the VU defense forced a turnover at its own 3-yard line early in the second half.