By Russell Lorentz, Vandy Insider
Vanderbilt Game Preview
Vanderbilt Commodores (4-5, 0-5 SEC) vs. Kentucky Wildcats (6-3, 3-3 SEC)
Line: Vanderbilt -3
When: Saturday, November 11th, 2017, 3 p.m., SEC Network
Site: Vanderbilt Stadium – Nashville, TN
Vanderbilt looks to pick up its first conference win on Saturday inside Vanderbilt Stadium as the Kentucky Wildcats travel to Nashville.
Last year, Kentucky cringed to a 20-13 win in Lexington. This year, arguably the best air and ground combo within the SEC East come to town as Stephen Johnson and Benny Snell look to cause problems for a Commodore defense that regained some edge last week in a win against the Hilltoppers. The Vandy defense held the WKU rushing attack to a woeful -6 yards rushing, paired with a season-best six sacks.
The ‘Dores are hoping to carry that momentum into Saturday’s afternoon tilt with the Wildcats as the Commodores look to spark another late season surge into postseason play.
Keys to the Game:
1. Contain Benny Snell: On Saturday, Snell will touch the ball as many times as necessary. Snell will line up both in the backfield and in the Wildcat formation as Kentucky’s most gifted playmaker. Snell amassed over 100-yards in 3 of his last 4 contest with a season-high 180 yards in a win on Oct. 28 against Tennessee.
If Snell gets going, the Commodore defense will be in a bind, because Quarterback Stephen Johnson becomes that much more dangerous with both his arm and legs. Johnson and Snell provide a tandem that proves to be as lethal as any when clicking. Vanderbilt’s defense must seize momentum in the opening series of the ball game.
2. Special Teams: Punter Sam Loy contributed very well in the win over WKU last Saturday, flipping the field for the Commdore defense, he’ll need a repeat performance Saturday against a more vaunted opponent.
3. Defensive Turnover: Vanderbilt must create an extra possession for its offense, in what is expected to be a close contest. Ryan White forced the first Commodore turnover since Sept. 16 against Kansas State in the win over WKU.