|Height: 6-3 | Weight: 226 | College: Vanderbilt|
Cutler is a three-time team captain whose production had been limited due to poor protection provided him over the years in the pocket. He is a tough athlete who had to withstand more punishment than most college passers since moving into the starting lineup as a redshirt freshman. Many in the scouting industry feel that all Cutler needs is patient coaching to refine his mechanics and better tools to work with in order to unleash his vast talent.
Cutler was a standout three-sport athlete at Heritage Hills High School. He lettered three years as a two-way starter in football, serving as team captain as a senior. He led his team to a 15-0 record and its first state title in school history that year, completing 60 percent of his passes, completing 122 of 202 passes for 2,252 yards and 31 touchdowns. He rushed for 493 yards and 11 scores on 65 carries (7.6 avg). He also recorded 88 tackles and nine interceptions as a safety, in addition to returning six kicks, a fumble and an interception for touchdowns.
He holds almost all of his high school team's passing and total offense records. Cutler was named Coaches and Associated Press first team All-State and Indiana Offensive Player of the Year by Sand Publishing Group as a senior. He was also selected Conference and Region Player of the Year. He led his team to an 11-1 record as a junior, passing for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns to earn All-Area, All-Conference and All-State honors.
As a sophomore, Cutler threw for 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was a first-team All-State pick in basketball, averaging 20.0 and 21.0 points per game in his final two varsity years. He also was an honorable mention All-State shortstop on the baseball team, hitting over .400 as a junior and senior. Cutler was a member of the National Honor Society at Heritage Hills.
Cutler redshirted as a freshman at Vanderbilt in 2001. He took over the starting quarterback job in 2002, appearing in eleven games. He was suspended for the Middle Tennessee game (damaged campus property), but was able to gain 1,433 yards with ten touchdowns and nine interceptions on 103 of 212 passing (48.6 percent). He finished second on the team with 123 carries for 393 yards (3.2 avg) and nine touchdowns, and produced 1,826 total yards on the season. Only John Gromos (1483 in 1985) threw for more yards in a season among Commodore first-year quarterbacks.
Cutler was named offensive captain as a sophomore. He connected on 187 of 327 passes (57.2 percent) for a career-high 2,347 yards, 18 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. His 2,347 yards rank seventh on the school's single-season record list and was the most ever by a sophomore quarterback in Vanderbilt annals. He also finished third on the team with 299 yards and a score on 115 carries (2.6 avg). His 2,646 yards in total offense was the fourth-best season total in Commodore history, topped only by Kurt Page (3,034 in 1983), Eric Jones (2853 in 1988) and Whit Taylor (2679 in 1982). Cutler was sacked sixteen times that year, but also had an alarmingly high rate of fumbles (13).
In 2004, Cutler again served as team captain. He connected on 147 of 241 passes (61.0 percent) for 1,844 yards, ten touchdowns and a career-low five interceptions. He ranked third on the team with 109 carries for 349 yards (3.2 avg) and six scores. However, he was sacked 25 times for losses of 195 yards and fumbled the ball seven times.
In 2005, Cutler became the first Commodore since 1967 to earn Southeastern Conference Player of the Year honors. He was a first-team All-SEC pick as he completed 273 of 462 passes (59.1 percent) for 3,073 yards, 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He finished third on the team with 215 yards and a score on 106 carries (2.0 avg). Cutler ranked ninth in the nation in total offense (298.91 ypg) and fifth in passing, completing 24.82 passes per game.
Cutler started every game (45) he played in at Vanderbilt. He connected on 710 of 1,242 passes (57.2 percent) for 8,697 yards, 59 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. He rushed for 1,256 yards with seventeen scores on 453 carries (2.8 avg) and gained 9,953 yards in total offense. He finished as the holder of 21 school records, including career marks for yards passing, total offense, pass completions, attempts, touchdown passes and combined touchdowns.
Positives: Has added over ten pounds of bulk and muscle tone to his frame during the 2005 offseason Shows good mobility rolling out of the pocket and decent quickness driving back from center to his throwing point Does a good job of hitting his receivers in stride in the short area, especially on crossing patterns Tough player who absorbs a lot of punishment due to marginal protection, yet has missed only three-quarters of one game and one-quarter of another due to injuries Shows good touch and accuracy on underneath routes Has the balance and lateral agility to step up to avoid the pass rush Despite holding the ball low, he has the arm power and quick throwing motion to get the ball out with velocity on screens Can buy time in the backfield when flushed out due to his foot quickness Has a lively arm with a snappy release (but needs mechanical refinement).
Negatives: Might be a little gun-shy from all the punishment he has taken over the years Needs to do a better job of securing the ball before running, as he has fumbled 25 times the last two years Must do a better job at the pre-snap recognizing defensive schemes, as he does not always scan the field well Seems to lack confidence with his receivers, failing to anticipate when his targets will be breaking, resulting in a high amount of deflected passes Spends too much time eyeballing his primary target, rarely looking off to locate his secondary receivers (this causes a lot of interceptions (27) and pass deflections (149) over the last three years, including 74 pass break-ups in 2005) Must learn how to step into his throws to generate better accuracy (steps back on too many of his tosses) Uses poor judgment at times when flushed out of the pocket, either holding on to the ball too long resulting in a sack, or throwing the ball up for grabs causing costly interceptions Has good touch in the short area, but because he carries the ball so low, he does not get ideal trajectory to feather the ball over the head of the defender Lacks accuracy throwing on the run, especially when unleashing from the left hash Rotates his hips too much through his release and needs to throw off the front foot more.
Cutler is a tough athlete who plays with pain, having withstood a considerable amount of punishment behind a poor offensive line (64 sacks) the last three years. He is a mobile passer with enough lateral agility and short area quickness to step up and avoid pressure, but does not throw as well on the run as he does when standing in the pocket.
Cutler needs to carry the ball higher to generate more velocity behind his tosses when dropping back from center to his throwing point. He has a quick release and arm strength to make all of the passes, but must do a better job of stepping into his throws to take advantage of his arm strength.
He is smart enough to make calls and checks at the line of scrimmage, but might be a little gun shy due to the poor protection he receives, resulting in him bolting out of the pocket at the first sign of pressure. While he displayed more patience early in the 2005 season, as the year progressed he again reverted to his running style and that led to several costly fumbles in the second half of the year.
He throws a tight spiral and can hit his receivers coming out of their breaks on short routes. However, he needs mechanical refinement as he slingshots a lot of his deep passes and fails to set his feet properly to get full velocity. He will sacrifice himself by taking a sack when his receivers fail to get open, but he is prone to throwing into traffic and leaving the ball too exposed, resulting in a high amount of turnovers (25 fumbles and 27 interceptions during his last three years).
His toughness and dedication are evident in his work habits. He spends a lot of time in the film room preparing for his upcoming opponent and likes to lift in the weight room with his offensive linemen. He is a medium-stride runner who is capable of moving the chains running with the ball, but will not be one to gain big yardage into the second level. When forced to roll out, he shows better accuracy from the right hash than the left, but is better suited as a pocket passer than an option performer, despite his good foot speed and balance.
He excels with his short throws, doing a good job of connecting with his tight ends and slot receivers on crossing patterns and with his backs on dump-offs. When he sets his feet, he has a quick throwing motion, but when he throws off his back foot, he does not get enough air behind his deep tosses to get the ball over the head of the defender. His deep balls lack ideal trajectory, resulting in a high amount of interceptions and pass break-ups the last three seasons (27 interceptions and 149 pass deflections, including 74 pass break-ups in 2005).
Cutler shows good intelligence and needs minimal reps to retain plays, but his lack of confidence in his receivers has forced him to wait until the last possible second to throw the ball. He needs to do a better job on read progressions to locate his secondary targets, and has to develop better anticipation for his targets to get the ball to them before they break out of their routes.
Still, there is good potential in this athlete. Patient coaching is well advised, as he will need to take shorter steps in his pass drops, scan the field better to locate secondary targets, step into his throws rather than throw off his back foot and show better patience before bailing out of the pocket. He has enough mobility to gain yardage when needed with his feet, but must learn to throw from the pocket, as he tends to get his base too narrow to generate the velocity needed to air the ball out from the hashes.
He is still a work in progress and while he cut down on his interceptions in 2004, his yardage production also suffered. In 2005, he seemed to fire the ball into traffic too much, resulting in 74 of his passes getting deflected by the defense. If he can develop better poise in the pocket, increase his deep ball accuracy and carry the ball chest high rather than at the hip, he could be a productive pro player down the road. Considering several teams look at him as a first-round target, that tells you more than enough about the lack of quality talent at this position for the 2006 draft.
Has started every game (45) that he played in for the Commodores Holds the school career record with 710 completions of 1,242 passes, topping Greg Zolman (596 of 1156, 1998-2001) His 8,687 yards passing surpassed Zolman (7,981) on Vanderbilt's all-time record chart His 59 touchdown passes also topped Zolman (41) and Whit Taylor (41, 1979-82) for the Commodores' career record Completed 57.2 percent of his passes, breaking the previous school record of 56.7 percent by Kurt Page (1981-84) Became the third quarter-back in school history to rush for over 1,000 yards (1,256) in a career, joining Eric Jones (1211, 1986-88) and Marcus Wilson (1468, 1989-92) Only Wilson (24) ran for more touch-downs in a career (by a quarterback) that Cutler's 17 in school annals His average of 5.87 yards per offensive play is the third-best figure in school history behind Eric Jones (5.94 avg) and Bill Wade (6.07 avg. 1949-51) His 9,953 yards in total offense established a new school career record, topping the old mark of 7,607 yards by Zolman and ranks eighth on the SEC's career record chart Cutler became the first Commodore in 113 seasons to serve as team captain three times during his career. The only other athlete to accomplish that feat helped start the Vanderbilt program in 1890. Elliott H. Jones served as both head
coach and captain of the first three Commodore teams.
All-Southeastern Conference first-team selection by the Associated Press and the league's coaches Became the first Commodore since Bob Goodridge in 1967 to be named SEC Player of the Year by the league's coaches Finalist for the Davey O'Brien and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Awards Cutler entered his final season with Vanderbilt as the South-eastern Conference's most experienced quarterback and one of its most talented offensive players Served as team captain for the third-straight year Ranked ninth in the nation in total offense (298.91 ypg) and fifth with an average of 24.82 pass completions per game Completed 273 of 462 passes (59.1 percent) for a career-high 3,073 yards, 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions Joined Kurt Page (3,178 in 1983) as the only Commodores to throw for over 3,000 yards in a season His 273 completions on 462 attempts rank second on the school single-season record list behind Page (286-of-493 in 1983) and his 21 scores are topped only by Whit Taylor (22 in 1982) on Vanderbilt's annual record chart Ranked third on the team with 215 yards and a touchdown on 106 carries (2.0 avg) Led the SEC with 3,288 yards in total offense Had a career-high 74 of his pass attempts deflected by the defense Fumbled five times, but only one was recovered by the opposition.
|2005 Game Analysis|
Wake Forest Threw for 276 yards and a score on 25 of 36 attempts while running for 89 yards on ten tries for the Commodores Cutler opened the Dores' first offensive drive of the night by completing a 34-yard pass to Marlon White, the first of eight receivers the quarterback would use throughout the night, to set up Bryant Hahnfeldt's 34-yard field goal Early in the second quarter, Cutler connected with White in the end zone on a 20-yard jump-ball scoring catch to give the Commodores a 10-3 lead. The touchdown pass moved Culter within two of the school's touchdown pass record Trailing by three points in the fourth quarter, the Commodores put together a four-play, 49-yard drive, starting with a 28-yard pass from Cutler to Earl Bennett. Then, after Cutler connected with George Smith for a 7-yard gain, Jennings carried twice for the final 14 yards and a 24-20 lead
Freshman QB Chris Nickson took over for Cutler after the senior was thrown to the ground out of bounds midway through the third quarter. Cutler reentered the game two plays later to throw an 11-yard completion to tailback Cassen Jackson-Garrison for a first down, followed by a 30-yard completion to senior tight end Dustin Dunning for another first down. The series culminated with a 10-yard touchdown run by tailback Jeff Jennings, completing a 96-yard scoring drive After the game, Cutler said, "It was a huge team effort. Our offensive line did a tremendous job all night long. In the fourth quarter, I decided to stay in the pocket. We were confident all night long. We moved the ball well. We shot ourselves in the foot from time to time, but Earl Bennett came out as a true freshman and turned a five yard hitch into a 20 or 30 yard gain and that got us going."
Arkansas Connected on 23 of 45 passes for 278 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, but was also sacked three times Clinging to a 24-21 lead, Arkansas appeared to be in good shape following consecutive sacks of Cutler by Freddie Fairchild, and Fairchild again along with Desmond Sims, setting up a missed 43-yard field goal by Bryant Hahnfeldt with 2:46 remaining. The Razorbacks were unable to generate a first down and Vanderbilt got another chance with 2:22 left from its 24. A pass interference call set up Cutler's 6-yard touchdown pass to Marlon White with 26 seconds remaining and Vanderbilt knocked off Arkansas, 28-24 Cutler converted a fourth-and-10 earlier in the drive and Arkansas helped out with a defensive holding penalty on the second play of the possession, enabling the Commodores to move 76 yards in 10 plays in just 1:56. "We knew we had a shot," Cutler said. "Our line stepped up and our receivers made some great catches." "We finally settled down and Cutler made some unbelievable throws," head coach Bobby Johnson said. "He was really confident. He is the guy I want on my team in those situations. We've been close several times. This time we had senior leadership and we were making plays."
Mississippi With his 314-yard passing performance, Cutler (24 for 41, 372 yards in total offense, no interceptions) moved from fourth place to second place in Vanderbilt's all-time passing yards Cutler completed 9-of-10 pass attempts in the second quarter after completing only 3-of-9 in the first quarter He also ran 15 times for 58 yards His 372 all-purpose yards against the Rebels set a single-game career mark Vanderbilt gained 523 yards of total offense, including 314 yards passing and 209 yards on the ground Six different Commodores caught passes from Cutler "We thought our offense would play a lot better," Cutler stated. "We thought we would score more points. We're unsatisfied with our play, but I guess that's a good thing. In any case, we're going to celebrate this win."
Richmond Broke two records in the team's strongest start in nearly 50 years .The senior quarterback's 277 total-yard performance carried his career total to 7,956, placing him in lone ownership of the school record His 5-yard scoring pass to Erik Davis in the second quarter also moved him to first in career touchdown passes (42) Cutler added touchdown tosses of 5 yards to Jeff Jennings in the third quarter and 2 yards to George Smith in the fourth quarter The game marked Cutler's 38th start of his Commodore career, matching Greg Zolman (1998-2001) for the most ever by a Vanderbilt signal caller.
Middle Tennessee Followed with 26-of-44 throws for 245 yards, a touchdowns and an interception as the offense generated 513 yards Cutler found Erik Davis with a 16-yard scoring pass at the start of the fourth quarter Down by two points with 2:47 left in the game, Cutler had the ball inside the Dores' 1-yard line. Scarcely 90 seconds later, MTSU burnt their final timeout, trying to figure a way to stop Cutler, who had confidently marched the ball to the Blue Raiders' 44-yard line and showed no sign of stopping. After the timeout, MTSU was charged with 12 men on the field and Vanderbilt was within striking distance. After a first down pass completion, Cutler hurried his offense to the line and spiked the ball to stop the clock with three seconds left, but Bryant Handfeldt's 36-yard field-goal attempt was blocked to end the game, handing the Commodores a 17-15 loss
Vanderbilt backup quarterback Chris Nickson saw first-quarter action, but surprisingly came in as a wide receiver. He caught his first career pass (10 yards) from Cutler during the Commodores' opening drive. On the next possession, Nickson found himself under center as Cutler lined up as a wide receiver on the first two snaps. The two continued to appear in the same offensive scheme several times throughout the night In the second quarter, Cutler threw his third interception of the season, giving the Blue Raiders first-and-goal on the Commodore's two-yard line. The turnover would cost the Dores as left-handed quarterback Clint Marks scored a touchdown on a draw play.
Louisiana State Cutler, a senior from Santa Claus, Indiana, acted like Santa Claus for the Tigers, handing LSU good field position on two interceptions and a fumble Cutler hit on 11-of-32 attempts for 113 yards on the night and rushed for negative-20 yards Backup QB Chris Nickson finished the game under center after Cutler was shaken up Trailing 7-0 with 5:33 left in the initial quarter, Vanderbilt allowed its first safety since the Georgia game last year when LSU defensive end Chase Pittman sacked Cutler Cutler in the end zone. Asked about his injury after the game, Cutler said, "I'm feeling alright. I have some bruises, but it's football."
Georgia Completed 15-of-28 pass attempts for 160 yards and one touchdown, but a persistent Bulldog defense limited the senior's overall effectiveness, sacking him four times for losses of 33 and intercepting him once Cutler connected with Marlon White midway through the third quarter on a 14-yard scoring pass into the end zone, capping off a seven-play 58-yard drive that lasted 2:27.
South Carolina Bounced back with the first of four consecutive 300-yard passing performances Gained 339 yards with a score on 27 of 49 passes, but was sacked twice, intercepted once and fumbled once Cutler guided Vanderbilt on its first offensive touch-down drive to open the second half, leading an 8-play, 72-yard drive capped by tailback Cassen Jackson-Garrison's 2-yard plunge. Cutler hit three receptions for 48 yards on the drive, including a 25-yard connection with WR Erik Davis that put the ball on the USC 2-yard line The South Carolina Gamecocks took the lead late in the fourth quarter then turned away a dramatic Commodore comeback in the final seconds of the game to win 35-28 Cutler began the fourth quarter with a 41-yard touchdown pass to Earl Bennett Then, with nine seconds left in the game and facing a fourth-and-10 on the Gamecock 30-yard line, head Coach Bobby Johnson spent his final timeout. It probably came as no surprise to the 76,427 in attendance that Johnson called a passing play, particularly since Cutler had thrown for a then career-high 339 yards over the course of the game. However, given some of the fourth-quarter come-from-behind heroics Cutler had orchestrated this season, it likely surprised many that the pass to receiver Bryant Anderson skidded across the end zone incomplete to end the threat, and effectively the game In the 35-28 loss, Cutler added another all-time Commodore passing record to his collection, becoming the team career leader in pass completions. Cutler ended the game with 27 completions, giving him 616 completions for his career. He topped former record holder Greg Zolman, who completed 596 passes from 1998 to 2001. Cutler earned the record with a 9-yard pass to receiver Earl Bennett in the second quarter. Cutler also moved up the all-time SEC passing charts. He overtook former Auburn QB Jason Campbell and former Arkansas QB Clint Stoerner in passing yardage.
Florida Cutler had another career night, completing 28 of 42 pass attempts (both career highs) for 361 yards and four touchdowns. However, he also threw two interceptions ? the last of which ended the game in overtime, and fumbled once Cutler guided an impressive opening drive, leading the Commodores on a 6-play, 70-yard touchdown. On the drive, Cutler was three of three for 56 yards. He capped the drive with a 14-yard pass in the end zone to receiver Earl Bennett A pair of fumbles ? one of an offensive snap and another following a Cutler-to-Bennett completion ? hurt the Commodores in the third quarter. The turnovers directly led to Gator touchdown runs by Chad Jackson and Chris Leak, giving Florida a 28-14 margin with 3:51 left in the quarter Once again in a season riddled with late-game heroics, the Commodores were in a fourth-quarter quandary. And, once again, Cutler gave Vanderbilt faithful reason to believe. Down by 21 points, Cutler rattled off a quick 68 yards, finding a diving Erik Davis in the end zone on the fifth play of the drive for a 14-yard touchdown While many Gator fans had already filed out of The Swamp, those who stayed saw Cutler do what he's done all season: Orchestrate masterful drives ? in this case 10 plays and 61 yards to score a touchdown, a 2-yard pass to George Smith He then brought his team back, as he connected with Bennett on a game-tying 6-yard touchdown strike with 0:54 remaining, forcing the game into overtime. However, a 15-yard penalty for excessive celebration following the play moved what would have been a routine extra-point attempt to tie the game, became a dramatic 35-yard kick. Bryant Hahnfeldt nailed it to tie the game (35-35) The Gators got the ball first to start the second round and scored a touchdown. It was the first time for the Florida Gators to play beyond the first round of overtime. But they didn't have to do so for long. Cutler threw an interception on the Commodores' first play of the second round to end the game Cutler became the all-time Commodore leader in passing yardage during a sensational performance. In the overtime, his 9-yard connection with Steven Bright gave Cutler the team mark. He concluded the game with 7,986 career passing yards, five more yards than the previous team record held by Greg Zolman (1998-2001).
Kentucky After topping his previous career-high totals for passing yardage in a game during hisd last two contests, Cutler accomplished that feat for a third time with 39 of 69 passes for 395 yards and five touchdowns, but fumbled twice, with one being recovered by the defense His 395 yards rank third in school history on the game-record list behind Greg Zolman (441 vs. Kentucky, 2001) and Whit Taylor (464 vs. Tennessee, 1981) His 66 pass attempts broke the old Commodore game-record of 62 by John Gromos (vs. Alabama in 1989) and his 39 completions surpassed the previous school game-record of 33 by Kurt Page vs. Georgia in 1983 His five scoring tosses also matched Bill Wade's (vs. Auburn in 1950) Vanderbilt game-record Cutler threw three touchdown passes to freshman receiver Earl Bennett in the final 11 minutes of the game to bring his team within five points (5, 13, 7), but the ensuing onsides kick, the second in as many games for the Commodores, failed, effectively ending the game Earlier in the game, Bennett was the recipient of Cutler touchdown throws of 13 yards in the second quarter and 2 yards in the third quarter.
Tennessee Cutler, who put together arguably the greatest season ever by a Commodore signal caller, was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for 315 yards and three touchdowns against the Volunteers, as he connected on 27 of 39 attempts to guide Vanderbilt to a 28-24 decision, ending a 22-year drought of victories for the Commodores vs. the Volunteers Cutler's first scoring strike was good for 5 yards to Marlon White in the first quarter The duo hooked up again in the second quarter on a 6-yard touchdown pass Earl Bennett then caught a 5-yard scoring toss from Cutler with 1:11 to go for the deciding points "You see grown men crying and you realize how long it's been since we've won," Cutler said. "It tells us how much it means to this program."
Cutler ended his career at Vanderbilt making history, becoming the first Commodores QB to beat Tennessee since Whit Taylor in 1982.
Two-time captain who started every game for the Commodores Team's Offensive Back MVP Award winner Completed 147 of 241 passes for 1,844 yards, ten touchdowns and only five interceptions His 61.0 pass completion percentage was the second-best season average in school history, topped only by Watson Brown (62.2 percent in 1969 The only other player to complete 60 percent of his passes in a season for the Commodores was Eric Jones (60.7) in 1987 Among starting quarterbacks, only Mike Healy (one in 1990), Russ Morris (four in 1959), Bob Berry (one in 1948) and Jamie Wade (three in 1946) had less interceptions in a season at Vanderbilt Ranked third on the team with 349 yards and six scores on 109 carries (3.2 avg) His 349 yards and six touchdowns both ranked second in the Southeastern Conference among quarterbacks Gained 2,193 yards in total offense, the tenth-best season total in school history Was sacked 25 times for losses of 195 yards Fumbled the ball seven times, with the opposition recovering four of those miscues Accounted for 85 of the team's 209 first downs via passes and added 22 more rushing, including eight on third-down plays and one more on fourth down.
|2004 Game Analysis|
South Carolina Opened the season with 270 yards on 24 of 38 passes with a pair of interceptions and rushed eight times for 22 yards, finishing with 292 of the team's 306 yards in total offense Was sacked twice for minus 16 yards and turned the ball over once on a fumble Had a third quarter pass intercepted by free safety Jamaica Jackson that was returned 98 yards for a touchdown Cutler connected with wide receiver Brandon Smith seven times for a team-high 88 yards His 38 pass attempts tied a career high set last season against Florida (11/8) His 270 yards passing were the most since last year's South Carolina game when he threw for 319 yards "South Carolina's defense didn't surprise us," Cutler said after the game. "The fact that we had a lot of three-and-outs surprised us. We need to convert those chances into points. Overall, we made some big plays. We are not making any excuses. The next step is to look at the game film and keep practicing."
Mississippi Connected on 9 of 17 passes for 131 yards, a touchdown and one interception Rushed 22 times for 60 yards and a score, but was sacked six times for minus 44 yards Also fumbled once Converted five of thirteen third-down plays and accounted for eleven of the team's 18 first downs, including four on the ground (two came on third-down plays) Patrick Johnson's conversion of a 37-yard field goal at 11:58 of the first quarter was the first time the Commodores scored on their opening offensive possession since Cutler connected with Erik Davis on a 19-yard scoring pass at Florida (Nov. 8, 2003). Cutler scored on a six-yard run on the final play of the first quarter and Patrick Johnson added the PAT to tie the game at 10-10 The Commodores took a 16-10 halftime lead when Cutler hit Erik Davis for a 15-yard touchdown pass with 9:26 left in the second quarter. Vanderbilt tried to go for two on the ensuing PAT, however, Steven Bright's run failed off a fake PAT attempt, but the Commodores still lost in overtime, 26-23 "We felt it was going our way the entire game," Cutler said after. "We had the momentum and we were moving the ball well. The defense was playing well. It was the same old story. We have got to find a way to win in the fourth quarter."
Navy Followed with 15 of 20 attempts (75 percent) for 176 yards and a pair of touchdowns Ran for 47 yards and a score on 12 tries Sacked twice for losses of 11 yards and fumbled two times, with the defense recovering one of those miscues Cutler ran for a 1-yard score on a fourth-down play in the second quarter He also had touchdown passes of 8 yards to Brandon Smith and 21 yards to Marlon White With his second scoring strike of the day, Cutler tied Bill Wade (1949-51) for fifth all-time with 31 career touchdown passes Cutler surpassed 5,000 yards of total offense for his career, raising his career total to 5,148. Mississippi State Held to 91 yards on 10 of 127 passes, but did throw one touchdown Carried ten times for 49 yards and a score Was sacked once for minus 12 yards The Commodores got on the board early and held the lead for most of the game In the second quarter, receiver Erik Davis hauled in a 13-yard touchdown pass that capped a nine-play, 69-yard touchdown drive with 12:45 left in the first half He also scored on a 26-yard run (it was the second longest rushing touchdown of Cutler's career, behind only a 61-yarder against Furman in 2002).
Rutgers Named Player of the Game as he hit on 14 of 18 passes (77.8 percent) for 260 yards and a touchdown, adding another score and 56 yards on 13 carries Accounted for 12 of the team's 19 first downs via the pass and had three more rushing Fumbled once and was sacked four times for minus 29 yards Tossed a 35-yard touchdown to Erik Davis in the third quarter, capping off a seven-play, 80-yard scoring drive, giving the Commodores a 27-3 lead at the 11:16 mark of the third period After two quick scores by Rutgers to cut Vanderbilt's lead to 27-16, Cutler led the Commodores on a four-play, 82-yard scoring drive to build a 34-16 advantage. Highlighting the drive was a 71-yard pass from Cutler to wide receiver Brandon Smith. The pass play was career long for both Cutler and Smith. The drive concluded with a two-yard scoring run by Cutler The Commodores had a chance to win back the lead in the final minute of the game when what appeared to be a 66-yard completed pass to Marlon White was negated when Cutler was flagged for passing the ball after moving beyond the line of scrimmage. The ball would have been downed at the 9-yard line. Following the penalty, Cutler was sacked to force a turnover on downs.
Georgia Held to 133 yards on 12 of 22 passes with no touchdowns Was sacked three times for minus 33 yards as the offense could manage only thirteen first downs The relentless Bulldog defense kept Cutler and the Commodore attack at bay virtually all day, as Vanderbilt managed only 53 yards on the ground. Conversely, the Georgia offense had 527 yards total offense, with two rushers gaining more than 100 yards.
Eastern Kentucky Completed 15 of 21 tosses for 156 yards and a touchdown, adding 73 yards and a score on seven rushing attempts Was sacked once for a 10-yard loss, but converted 7 of 13 third-down plays Cutler entered today's game second in the SEC in pass completion percentage (63.3), third in the SEC in total offense (210.7 yards per game) and 25th in the nation in efficiency. He had not thrown an interception since late in the second game of the season Threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Smith in the first quarter and ran 55 yards for another score in the second quarter Cutler extended his string to 102 consecutive pass attempts without an interception The Commodores took an early 6-0 advantage at the 8:56 mark when Cutler connected with Brandon Smith on a 4-yard touchdown pass Cutler helped Vanderbilt grab a 13-7 advantage when he rushed 55-yards on an option keeper with 10:44 remaining in the second quarter. The 55-yard rush is the season best for Cutler and the team. (6 plays, 80 yards, 3:07) "All season long we have been in tight games against tough competition, gotten unfavorable calls and not played well when we we've had to, Cutler remarked after the game. "Today the competition was a level down, but they are a good team. They worked hard and had a good game plan. We made plays when we had to. Marlon White had a great game. Offensively, we wanted to put up more points but we'll take it. On the 55-yard scoring run, we had them set up for the veer and had it played perfectly. Marlon had a good block, cracked the safety. I was off to the races. I didn't have to do much."
Louisiana State Hit on 10 of 20 throws for 111 yards and gained 34 yards with a touch-down on ten carries before leaving the game in the third quarter with a neck injury in a 24-7 loss The Tigers scored a field goal on their first possession, and never relinquished the lead The Commodores got on the board with just over a minute to play in the first half when Cutler ran for a 1-yard touchdown. The 13-play, 83-yard drive was the Dores' longest of the season. Starting at their own 17-yard line, Vanderbilt marched on their longest drive of the season, going 83 yards on 13 plays, consuming 5:04 of the clock. The drive was keyed by a pair of first-down receptions by New Orleans native Brandon Smith, a 24-yard completion to junior receiver Erik Davis and a 14-yarder to Marlon White. Freshman tail-back Cassen Jackson-Garrison made a critical recovery of a fumble at the LSU 1-yard line just prior to Cutler's touchdown rush Cutler's total career yardage surpassed 6,000, moving him into fourth place all-time at Vanderbilt for total offense and fourth place for passing yards. The junior from Santa Claus, Ind., has gone more than five games without an interception Backup QB Steven Bright took over in the third quarter after Cutler left the game following a tackle in the backfield.
Florida Attempted three passes without a completion and rushed twice for 12 yards, but Cutler left the game in the first quarter with an injury to his right ankle and stayed on the sidelines wearing headphones for the remainder of the game.
Kentucky Returned to action with 16 of 32 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown Ran eight times for 25 yards, but gave up 23 yards on a pair of sacks Accounted for 12 of the team's 21 first downs, but could convert only two of thirteen third-down plays Cutler came out throwing, connecting on four of his first five attempts for 55 yards. He connected with five different receivers for his first five completions Cutler continued to pass his way into the Vanderbilt record book. With an 8-yard pass to running back Cassen Jackson-Garrison in the second quarter, Cutler moved into third place for total offense all-time at Vanderbilt He later launched an impressive seven-play, 71-yard drive that culminated with a one-yard rushing touchdown by freshman running back Jeff Jennings Vanderbilt racked up a season-high 265 yards in first-half total offense. It was also the first time the Dores held their opponent to zero points in the first half Tailback Kwane Doster started the second half with a 54-yard kickoff return. The drive culminated with Cutler's 13-yard pass to Chris Young for a touchdown. It was Cutler's 35th career touchdown pass, tying him for third all-time in career touchdown passes at Vanderbilt The Commodores took over at their own 24-yard line following the kickoff with 1:34 left on the clock. With 40 seconds to go and fourth and 25, Cutler's Hail Mary pass was incomplete. They would get the ball back one more time with time for one play. Throwing under pressure from his own end zone, Cutler's pass fell short near midfield Vanderbilt reached the 50 on its next possession, but an intentional grounding penalty on Cutler cost the Commodores 15 yards. Three incompletions later, the Wildcats took over with 36 seconds left Vanderbilt had one final chance, from deep in its own territory with 5 seconds left, but Cutler's long pass sailed incomplete and Kentucky went home 14-13 victors.
Tennessee Saved his best passing performance for the season finale, connecting on 22 of 33 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns Carried seven times for 2 yards, giving him 316 yards in total offense Was intercepted twice, turned the ball over two more times on fumbles and was sacked two times for minus 8 yards Converted five of eleven third-down plays and one more on fourth down Vanderbilt got on the board in the first quarter when Cutler connected with Marlon White for an 11-yard touchdown, marking the first time the Commodores scored against the Volunteers since 2000. Until that play, Tennessee had scored 124 unanswered points against the Black and Gold. Cutler's touchdown pass was the 36th in his career, earning him sole possession in Vanderbilt's record book of third all-time. At the end of the day, Cutler was three touchdowns shy of tying Greg Zolman and Whit Taylor's team-leading record of 41 career touchdown passes Cutler fumbled deep in Big Orange territory on its second possession of the second quarter and turn the ball over, which would result in another Tennessee touchdown But the Dores fought back. On the first play from scrimmage, down 28-6, Culter connected with Brandon Smith for an 80-yard touchdown. The pass was a career-long for both Cutler and Smith, and the eighth longest in school history. The two-point conversion was successful, making the score 28-14 On the next possession, scrambling to his left with three Volunteers on his heels, Cutler threw his first interception in 177 attempts. The turnover led to an eventual Volunteer touchdown But, with less than seven minutes left on the clock, Vanderbilt took over at their own 13-yard line. Receiver Marlon White ? who also had a career day with 118 yards ? caught a tipped pass that was intended for Smith and ran it for a 62-yard gain. On the same possession, Cutler would throw a three-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dustin Dunning.
Named the team's Offensive Back co-MVP Award winner Started every game for the Commodores, as he set nearly all VU sophomore passing marks, including completions (187), attempts (327), yards (2,347) and touchdowns (18) His total offense output (2,646 yards) is fourth best in VU history, topped only by Kirk Page (3034 in 1983), Eric Jones (2853 in 1988) and Whit Taylor (2679 in 1982) His 2,347 yards passing broke the old sophomore single-season record of 2,059 yards by Greg Zolman in 1999 It also ranks seventh on the school's overall single-season record chart behind Page (3178 in 1983 and 2405 in 1984), Jones (2548 in 1988), Zolman (2512 in 2001 and 2441 in 2000) and Taylor (2481 in 1982) Only Taylor (22 in 1982) threw for more touchdowns in a season than Cutler's 18 His 57.2 pass completion percentage was the highest by a Commodore in a season since Mike Healy completed 57.7 percent of his passes in 1990 Third on the team with 115 carries for 299 yards (2.6 avg) and a score Was intercepted thirteen times, sacked 16 times for losses of 120 yards and fumbled thirteen times, with six of those miscues being recovered by the defense Accounted for 113 first downs passing Named team Player of the Game vs.
Navy, South Carolina and Kentucky Selected Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Week for his performance vs. Kentucky.
|2003 Game Analysis|
Mississippi Began the season with 20 of 32 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns, but had one interception, was sacked once for a 7-yard loss and fumbled three times, with Ole Miss recovering one of those miscues Found tight end Curtis Brancheau with a 1-yard scoring lob to close a 61-yard, 10-play drive in the second quarter Entering the fourth quarter, Vanderbilt was sitting on the two yard line with the score tied at 14. After a rush by tailback Norval McKenzie for no gain, Cutler hit Brandon Smith in the corner of the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown to put the Commodores up 21-14 with 14:20 to go in the game, but UM would rally for ten fourth quarter points and a 24-21 victory.
Tennessee-Chattanooga Completed 8 of 15 passes for 186 yards and a score, adding another touchdown on the ground Turned the ball over once on a fumble as the offense totaled 539 yards Cutler also recovered the team's second consecutive fumble at the one-yard line and ran the ball in for the first score of the game from 1-yard out to cap a 9-play, 76-yard drive Erik Davis received a 23-yard scoring pass from Cutler, which completed a quick seven second scoring drive. Junior cornerback Lorenzo Parker instigated the drive with a recovered Chattanooga fumble on the previous play Cutler also matched the longest pass of his career (at that time) in the first quarter with a 59-yard strike to junior receiver Brandon Smith. The play also was the longest reception of Smith's career.
Auburn Spent most of the game being harassed by the Tigers defense, as Cutler was sacked three times for minus 23 yards and fumbled three times, with Auburn recovering one miscue Finished with 121 yards and a touchdown on 10 of 20 passes and 14 yards on nine runs Cutler's thirty nine-yard touchdown pass to receiver Erik Davis in the third quarter was one of few bright spots for the Commodores as Vanderbilt fell to the Auburn Tigers 45-7 His touchdown pass three minutes into the third quarter provided the only offense for the Commodores.
Texas Christian Followed with 17 of 36 passes for 250 yards and a touchdown, but also threw a pair of interceptions Rushed 12 times for 21 yards, but was also sacked twice for minus 18 yards Vanderbilt needed just three plays to go 65 yards for a 14-7 lead when Cutler threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Smith in the second quarter. Smith, who wrestled the ball away from a defender for an 18-yard gain on the first play, streaked past two Frogs and was wide open when he caught the TD pass in stride at the goal line.
Georgia Tech Gained 185 yards with an interception on 14 of 27 attempts and carried 15 times for 61 yards Cutler Cutler posted impressive numbers in Vanderbilt's final two offensive drives of regulation He rushed for 29 yards, two first downs and was 2-for-2 passing for 45 yards in the Commodore drive that was capped by a 32-yard field goal to go ahead 17-10 Cutler also keyed the VU drive that put the Commodores in field goal range with five second remaining in regulation. Cutler was 2-for-3 with passes for 16 and 21 yards that set up a 44-yard field goal attempt that was blocked by Georgia Tech.
Mississippi State Connected on 22 of 35 tosses for 295 yards, two touchdowns and an interception Fumbled three times, with MSU recovering twice and was sacked two times for minus 18 yards in a 30-21 loss Capped an 80-yard, 7-play drive in the second quarter with a 33-yard scoring toss to Chris Young Cutler got Vanderbilt off to a good start in the second half. He completed two passes to Brandon Smith for 16 and 11 yards to set up Norval McKenzie's 2-yard touchdown run to cut Mississippi State's lead to 17-14. That was as close as the Commodores would come Trailing 27-14 with 9:07 remaining, Cutler threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Erik Davis After a field goal put Mississippi State ahead 30-21, Vanderbilt drove down to the Bulldogs' 37. Cutler threw two passes to receivers in the end zone -- both were dropped -- including a pass to Davis that hit him in the hands. The ball was knocked out by Mississippi State's Kevin Dockery and Cutler fumbled two plays later on a run up the middle, ending the scoring threat.
Navy Amassed 227 yards with a touchdown on 18 of 30 throws and converted five of ten third-down plays Was sacked once for a 10-yard loss and also fumbled once Despite Cutler's passing effort that included a late-game 10-yard touchdown pass to Erik Davis in the fourth quarter to conclude a 65-yard, 7-play drive, the Commodores fell to Navy 37-27 in their Homecoming game.
Georgia Hit on 10 of 17 passes for 86 yards and a touchdown, but also threw an interception in a 27-8 loss The Commodores pulled to 20-8 with a 25-yard touchdown toss from Cutler to Matthew Tant with 1:06 left, and they tried an onside kick. But Sean Jones picked it up on the hop and ran 39 yards to the 2, setting up Georgia's game-clinching 2-yard touchdown run by Ronnie Powell.
South Carolina Threw for a career-high 319 yards on 27 of 35 attempts (77.1 percent) with three touchdowns and one interception Carried eight times for 13 yards, finishing with 332 yards in total offense Was sacked twice for 13 yards, turning the ball over once on a fumble as Vanderbilt collected 456 yards in a 35-24 loss Converted seven of thirteen third-down plays and accounted for 18 of the team's 25 first downs, including sixteen passing The loss was Vanderbilt's 22nd in a row vs. Southeastern Conference teams
Mistakes doomed the Commodores, who actually out-gained the Gamecocks 456-379 South Carolina twice cashed in on Vanderbilt turnovers deep in its territory. The first was an interception of Cutler's pass by Moe Thompson that gave the Gamecocks the ball on Vanderbilt's 7, setting up Cory Boyd's 3-yard touchdown run that gave South Carolina a 14-0 lead Thompson also recovered a late fumble by Cutler to end the Commodores' final threat The Commodores finally started clicking once the game was out of hand. A 15-yard scoring pass from Cutler to fullback Matthew Tant ended an 82-yard drive and a 6-yard pass from Cutler to tight end Dustin Dunning ended a 95-yard drive, the Commodores' longest this season. It cut South Carolina's lead to 28-17 with 9:33 left in the game On the 82-yard drive, Cutler completed five consecutive passes, including throws of 9 and 21 yards to Erik Davis and a 19-yarder to Curtis Brancheau On Vanderbilt's next possession, Cutler led the Commodores on a 95-yard touchdown drive, VU's longest since a 97-yarder against South Carolina in 2001 After a Cutler TD pass to Dunning with 1:49 left, the Commodores converted their first on-sides kickoff attempt, with Dominique Morris recovering Abtin Iranmanesh's effort.
Florida Behind Cutler's 189 yards passing (18 of 38 passes) and 36 more running (7 carries), Vanderbilt controlled the ball for 36:26. But the Gators made enough big plays on defense to keep the Commodores from pulling any closer than 11 in the second half Cutler threw a pair of touchdowns, but was also picked off a career-high four times The Gators also sacked him twice for minus 13 yards He did convert two fourth-down plays and eight of twenty third-down plays, but it was not enough in a 35-17 loss He had scoring tosses of 19 yards to Erik Davis in the first quarter and 2 yards to Matthew Tant in the fourth Cutler's fourth interception was returned 52 yards for a touchdown by corner-back Kiewan Ratliff with 0:56 left to play.
Kentucky After one of the worst performances of his career vs. Florida, Cutler bounced back with 14 of 17 passes (82.4 percent) for 175 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in a 28-17 victory He ran for a career-high 129 yards on eleven carries, finishing the day with 304 yards in total defense That victory helped Vanderbilt snap the nation's longest conference losing streak at 23 Vanderbilt's last Southeastern Conference win came vs. Kentucky, 24-20 in 2000, and it was the Commodores' first SEC home win since 1998, when they beat South Carolina 17-14 Cutler expanded the lead as he led Vanderbilt on touchdown drives on the first two possessions of the third quarter. The first was a 43-yard scoring pass to Marlon White, who was wide open after splitting Kentucky's secondary to make it 21-3 Cutler led Vanderbilt right back down the field, starting with a 51-yard run and ending four plays later when he found Erik Davis in double coverage for a 10-yard touch-down pass that put Vandy up 28-10 The Commodores took the lead for good when Cutler found Davis who eluded a pair of tacklers and stretched across the goal for a 24-yard touchdown Earlier, Vanderbilt used a personal-foul penalty on a punt return for excellent field position, and Cutler found Matthew Tant for a 17-yard touchdown pass Cutler moved into sole possession of second place for single-season touchdown passes with 18. Former Commodore Whit Taylor owns the school mark of 22 set in 1982 Cutler's 129 yards rushing were the most by a Commodore this season. His 51-yard rush vs. the Wildcats was also a season long by a Commodore.
Tennessee The jubilation from the Kentucky victory was short-lived, as Vanderbilt fell
48-0 in the season finale Cutler would hit on only 9 of 25 passes for a season-low 66 yards and a pair of interceptions He added 27 yards on ten carries, but was also sacked once Vanderbilt crossed midfield for the first time in the fourth quarter and set up its best chance to avoid a shutout. Tennessee's Gibril Wilson knocked down two of Cutler's passes, and Antwan Stewart intercepted Cutler's pass in front of the end zone and returned it 38 yards to end the threat.
Freshman All-American third-team selection by The Sporting News Freshman All-Southeastern Conference choice by the league's coaches and the Associated Press
Started eleven games, sitting out the Middle Tennessee contest (suspended for damaging a campus emergency phone) Posted one of finest seasons ever by a Commodore fresh-man quarterback Completed 103 of 212 passes (48.6 percent) fort 1,433 yards, ten touchdowns and nine interceptions Only John Gromos (1483 in 1985) threw for more yards as a freshman in school history Also was team's second-leading rusher with 393 yards and nine scores on 123 carries (3.2 avg), the most rushing yards and rushing touchdowns by Vanderbilt quarterback since Ronnie Gordon's 577-yard/13-TD total in 1994 His 1,826 yards in total offense set a school freshman single-season record.
|2002 Game Analysis|
Georgia Tech Made his collegiate debut with 10 of 23 passes for 73 yards and two interceptions, adding 24 yards on nine carries.
Furman Rushed six times for 107 yards and touchdowns of 1, 12 and 61 yards Hit on 11 of 14 passes (78.6 percent) for 215 yards, an interception and scores of 43 and 59 yards to Dan Stricker.
Mississippi Produced 241 total yards in a tough 45-38 loss Connected on 11 of 21 throws for 207 yards and two touchdowns Rushed 19 times for 34 yards and a 1-yard score Had touchdown passes of 7 yards to Dan Stricker and 49 yards to M.J. Garrett.
South Carolina Had scoring strikes of 3 yards to Dan Stricker and 14 yards to M.J. Garrett as Cutler gained 105 yards on 10 of 19 passes with an interception.
Georgia Carried 13 times for 63 yards and a 1-yard score Also hit on 10 of 20 tosses for 158 yards.
Connecticut Followed with 15 rushes for 54 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a 7-yarder with 1:14 left that gave Vanderbilt a 28-24 decision Completed 11 of 18 passes for 171 yards and a 6-yard score to M.J. Garrett.
Alabama Only completed 7 of 18 passes for 116 yards and an interception, but also had a 10-yard scoring strike to Dan Stricker.
Florida Held to 94 yards with two interceptions on 10 of 26 throws and carried 16 times for 81 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown.
Kentucky Ran for a score and connected on 11 of 26 throws for 176 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Redshirted as a freshman.
2002: Missed most of the season finale vs. Tennessee (11/23) with a hip pointer.
2004: Sat out the fourth quarter vs. Mississippi State (10/02) with a neck sprain Suffered a right ankle sprain in the first quarter vs. Florida, missing the rest of the game (11/06).
2005: Left the game in the third quarter vs. Wake Forest (9/01) when he was thrown to the ground on a running play, but returned to the game two plays later Missed the final seven minutes of the Louisiana State game (10/08) when he was hit after the play by LSU's Tim Washington and had to be helped off the field (head).
Campus: 4.81 in the 40-yard dash 400-pound bench press Bench pressed 225 pounds 27 times 480-pound squat 295-pound power clean 315-pound hang clean 32-inch vertical jump 31 -inch arm length 9 3/8-inch hands Right-handed 26/36 Wonderlic score.
Attended Heritage Hills (Lincoln City, In.) High School, playing football for head coach Bob Clayton Standout three-sport athlete who lettered three years as a two-way starter in football, serving as the team captain as a senior Led his team to a 15-0 record and its first state title in school history that year, completing 60 percent of his passes, going 122 of 202 for 2,252 yards and 31 touchdowns Rushed for 493 yards and 11 scores on 65 carries (7.6 avg) Also recorded 88 tackles and nine interceptions as a safety, in addition to returning six kicks, a fumble and an interception for touchdowns Holds almost all of team's passing and total offense records Named Coaches and Associated Press first team All-State and Indiana Offensive Player of the Year by SandL Publishing Group as a senior Also selected Conference and Region Player of the Year Led his team to an 11-1 record as a junior, passing for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns to earn All-Conference, All-Area and All-State honors As a sophomore, Cutler threw for 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns First-team All-State pick in basketball, averaging 20.0 and 21.0 points per game in his final two varsity years Was an honorable mention All-State shortstop on the baseball team, hitting over .400 as a junior and senior Member of National Honor Society at Heritage Hills.
Human and Organizational Development (leadership track major Comes from Santa Claus, a small south Indiana town where Christmas season is a big happening and was raised in the Christmas Village subdivision. The town is also home of the popular Holiday World Amusement Park) Family participates in the spectacular holiday light show that draws viewers from surrounding states Works with mentally challenged children through Vanderbilt's "Best Buddies" program Son of Jack and Sandy Cutler Born 4/29/83 Resides in Santa Claus, Indiana.