Head to head: Army vs. Vanderbilt

Next up for Army is Vanderbilt. The Black Knights and Commodores will both be trying to get this records back to .500. ArmySports.com compares different critical team areas of Army and Vanderbilt and indicates which team has the edge.

ARMY
EDGE
AREA
Vanderbilt
EDGE
COMMENTS
 
Army rushing offense
vs.
Vanderbilt rushing defense
 
Army boasts the nation's seventh ranked offense and churns out about 231 yards per game. Slotback Patrick Mealy (61 ypg) and fullback Kingsley Ehie (51 ypg) lead the Cadet attack. Freshman quarterback Trent Steelman adds another 49 yards per game. Vanderbilt's rushing defense allows about 160 yards per game (No. 86) and is led by linebackers Chris Marve and Patrick Benoist who have a combined 99 tackles so far on the season.  
 
Army passing offense
vs.
Vanderbilt passing defense
 
This is a David vs. Goliath match-up. Vanderbilt has one of the best pass defenses in America (No. 3) and allows only about 132 yards per game. Cornerback Myron Lewis is projected to be one of the top picks at his position in the NFL draft. He has three picks in the last two games including one against Ole Miss quarterback John Snead. Vandy has eight combined interceptions in the first five games. The Commodores also have a knack for sacking opposing quarterbacks and average about 2.6 sacks a game, which is very good. Army is dead last in the FBS in passing averaging about 68 yards per game. The Black Knights top receivers are Ali Villanueva (a real "Goliath" at 6-foot-10) and Damion Hunter who each have 12 catches.  
EVEN  
Vanderbilt rushing offense
vs.
Army rushing defense
EVEN  
Vandy, led by freshmen running backs Warren Norman and Zac Stacy, has had up and down games running the ball. The Commodores had 433 yards rushing in their opener against hapless Western Carolina and two weeks later managed just 33 against Mississippi State. Despite the up-and-down performances Vanderbilt is rated 30th in the nation running the ball with an average of about 195 yards a game. Vandy also has also had veteran tailback Jared Hawkins back from injury the past couple of games. He's averaged 5.5 yards a carry for 115 total yards. Army linebackers Stephen Anderson and Steve Erzinger are the top Black Knight run stoppers. They have a combined 67 stops for the season.  
 
Vanderbilt passing offense
vs.
Army passing defense
 
This is similar to comparing the Army passing attack to the Vandy passing defense. Army has a sound passing defense while Vanderbilt's passing offense has been terrible at times and the Commodores actually do try to pass as opposed to Army who rarely passes and primarily depends on their ground game for yardage. Vanderbilt quarterback Larry Smith has completed just 46 percent of his passes for 702 yards, 2 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. His top targets are Udom Umoh and John Cole who each have 12 catches. Army safety Donovan Travis has 3 interceptions this season. Cornerback Mario Hill has broken up 4 passes and has one pick. Black Knight defensive linemen Josh McNary and Victor Ugenyi do a good job of putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. They have 7 combined sacks so far this season.  
EVEN
Special Teams
EVEN  
Army kicker Alex Carlton has made 7-of-10 field goals this season. He is 2-of-2 from 40-49 yards. Vandy's Ryan Fowler is 5-of-9 on field goals. His longest has been from 37 yards. Both kickers had lackluster games last week. Fowler missed both his field goal attempts and Carlton missed a field goal in the final seconds that would have given his team a win over Tulane. Brett Upson averages 41 yards per punt for Vandy. His longest punt went for 65 yards. Army's Jonathan Bulls averages 40 yards a punt and his longest punt has also been for 65 yards. Army averages 5.6 yards per punt return and allows opponents 8.5 yards per return. Vandy averages 5.9 yards per punt return and allows opponents 10.6 yards per return. Army averages 20.4 yards per kickoff return and allows opponents 23.1 yards per return. Vandy averages 22.9 yards per kickoff return and allows opponents 18.6 yards a return.  
EVEN  
Coaching
EVEN  
This game pits two outstanding coaches who are class acts against each other. Army's Rich Ellerson built Cal Poly into a FCS contender and he has Army on the right track. Vanderbilt's Bobby Johnson took Furman to the FCS national championship game and then guided Vanderbilt to its first bowl win in over 50 years.  
 
Intangibles
 
Vanderbilt seems to play better on the road than at home. They beat a ranked Ole Miss team last year on the road and in 2007 stunned a ranked South Carolina squad in Columbia. In 2006 it was Georgia and in 2005 Tennessee that felt the sting of a loss to the Commodores at home. Another consideration is that when comparing these two squads by using statistics you've also got to take into account the strength of the opposition. Army's toughest opponents have been Duke and Iowa State while Vanderbilt has battled LSU in Baton Rouge and Ole Miss. They also played a Mississippi State team that came 8 inches from beating LSU.  


PREDICTION: Vanderbilt 24, Army 14

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