Vanderbilt sophomore QB Kyle Shurmur orchestrated his first comeback win as a college starter with the 31-30 overtime win at Western Kentucky.
What came out of the win might be more important down the road. Trust in the offense. Shurmur has been inconsistent passing the ball since taking over as the starter midway through his freshman season. Most games, he barely flirts with a 50-percent completion rate. However, Saturday in Bowling Green, he hit three straight passes for 58 yards to start the 75-yard touchdown drive that tied the game as time expired.
Shurmur told the media on Tuesday, trust was key in his offense’s growth.
“A lot of those plays like Jared’s (Pinkney) play over the middle, Kalija’s (Lipscomb) play, Trent’s (Sherfield) play, is just trusting those guys to make plays. We have playmakers on the field, and giving them a chance is the biggest thing. I think we grew up this past week.”
The offense growing up might have come at the perfect time. Shurmur had his best performance as a Commodore by far, going 8-12 passing for 155 yards and a TD in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Mason: QB Kyle Shurmur just has to be himself. The young guy never got rattled. When we needed him to play big, he played big #AnchorDown
— Vandy Insider (@vandyinsider) September 27, 2016
A loss to Western Kentucky could have been detrimental to head coach Derek Mason’s future. Shurmur executed an overtime scoring drive and the Dores went on to improve to a 2-2 record.
Trust development continues
Florida comes to Nashville this week, and the Gators will be irritated by their second half collapse to Tennessee.
Shurmur will be challenged against Florida. If Vanderbilt wants to pick up an SEC win, they’ll have to beat some talented Florida defensive backs. Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson headline a group that is loaded with NFL talent.
“I have confidence in our receivers,” Shurmur said. “It’s about trust. You saw last week, once we started to trust each other a lot, we grew. Good things happen. We recognize they’re good players but it’s about us, not about them.”
Wide receiver C.J. Duncan can see good things ahead for the Vanderbilt passing game.
“This offense has the potential to be explosive in the run game and the pass game, so we’re just going to continue to work and trusting this guy next to me (Shurmur),” Duncan said. “He’s a great leader and showed that he can make the plays down the stretch.”
The Vanderbilt offense already touts the SEC’s leading rusher, Ralph Webb with 472 yards. Vandy could have some SEC teams on upset alert if Shurmur can continue to develop trust with his outside weapons.
In the SEC East, almost anything can happen.