By Russell Lorentz, from Vandy Insider
Vanderbilt Game Preview:
Vanderbilt (3-2), (0-2 SEC) vs. No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs (5-0), (2-0 SEC)
Line: Georgia -16.5
When: Saturday, Oct. 7th, 2017, 11 a.m., ESPN (Homecoming)
Site: Vanderbilt Stadium – Nashville, TN
Vanderbilt is entering the tail end of the meat of the 2017 schedule, facing its fourth ranked team in as many weeks. The Commodores look to rattle off their second straight win against the Bulldogs after a 17-16 victory in Athens last season.
Kirby Smart hinted that Quarterback Jacob Eason may see his first meaningful action since the opening week, alongside current starter, Freshman Jake Fromm. Derek Mason, however, has his full attention on Fromm being the signal caller after a encouraging performance against Tennessee. Eason is nursing a sprained knee suffered in a Week 1 win over Appalachian State.
Georgia is rolling, after clicking on all cylinders, throttling Tennessee in Knoxville 41-0. Derek Mason credits Head Coach Kirby Smart in just his second season, as he has brought what Mason called the “Alabama Mentality” to the state of Georgia.
Keys to victory:
- Stopping the Run: Georgia features a three-pronged running attack as Sony Michel, Nick Chubb, and D’Andre Swift headline the arsenal. Vandy surrendered nearly 700 rush yards the previous two games, as the ‘Dores look to stress stopping the run on Saturday, a recent weakness for a reliable Vandy defense.
- Opening Holes in the Run Game: Vanderbilt has struggled at the point of attack at times this season, making running between the tackles a tough task for both Ralph Webb and Khari Blasingame. Look for differences in scheme as Vanderbilt looks to use perimeter runs and fly sweeps to stretch the Georgia Bulldogs’ defense.
- Get Playmakers the Ball: Vanderbilt as a multitude of offensive weapons. Look for Andy Ludwig to take the pressure off the run game by using a pass first offense. As many a 10 Commodores have recorded a reception. Vanderbilt took plenty of shots downfield to the likes of Trent Sherfield, Donaven Tennyson, and Caleb Scott last Saturday against Florida.
- Getting off the Field: Vanderbilt has struggled mightily to get off the field on third downs the past two games, as both Florida and Alabama dominated time of possession for the majority of the game, to an average of 39.5 minutes to 20.5.
- Creating Turnovers: The Vanderbilt defense hasn’t forced a turnover in its past two games after creating a plethora in their first three contests, including a win over Kansas State. With Georgia depending on a heavy dose of ground game offensively, Vanderbilt’s defense must create extra possessions for Kyle Shurmur and the offense.