It probably did not matter who played quarterback.
Running back Zac Stacy went 86 yards for a touchdown on Vanderbilt’s first offensive play and the Commodores ran for 410 yards and five touchdowns as a team in Saturday’s 58-0 rout of Presbyterian at Vanderbilt Stadium.
Stacy’s run was the longest in school history and helped ensure that quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels had an easy time of things in his first start for Vanderbilt (1-2).
“Being able to run the ball takes the pressure off any quarterback,” coach James Franklin said. “When you can run the ball for 410 yards, that helps. … If you’re going to be able to run the ball, that’s going to help us all year long.”
The Commodores started the week last in the Southeastern Conference in rushing offense with 163 yards and a 2.3 yards-per-carry average in losses to bowl subdivision opponents South Carolina and Northwestern.
They had 158 yards on 10 carries in the first quarter against Presbyterian (1-2), a championship subdivision program six years removed from Division II competition. When all was said and done Stacy had 174 yards on eight attempts, freshman Brian Kimbrow had 137 yards on 14 rushes and four different players scored rushing touchdowns, including Warren Norman, who last got to the end zone Oct. 9, 2010.
“It was just one of those things where [Saturday], we took the initiative on our part as an offense to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to win the game,” Stacy said. “We did a great job of executing, not only in the running game but we opened up the passing game a little bit.”
A two-year starter at Wyoming who sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules, Carta-Samuels was 13-for-20 passing for 195 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions in place of Jordan Rodgers.
John Townsley replaced Carta-Samuels with the game out of reach (58-0) in the fourth quarter and ran nothing but run plays. Rodgers’ only on-field action was as the holder on field goals and extra-points.
“I thought the quarterback played efficient,” Franklin said. “… We spread the ball around to four different receivers. So overall very good.”
Just not as good as the run game.