Vanderbilt Game Preview

Vanderbilt travels to GT for the first time since 2002. Today we preview Vandy's offense and defense.




Vanderbilt sails into Bobby Dodd Stadium this Saturday for their first road game of the season. The two schools will play at GT for the first time since 2002. The last time the two schools played Jon Dwyer rushed for a career high 186 yards and scored three touchdowns in a 56-31 GT win. GT accumulated 597 yards of total offense in the game. Vandy enters the game with a 1-1 record. Vandy will try to play a physical game against a GT team that relies on speed.


Offensively Vandy loves to run the ball until their opponent shows that they can stop the run. They are averaging 200 yards a game rushing the ball. The name to remember is Ralph Webb. The junior back is averaging close to 25 carries a game and has already rushed for 308 yards in 2 games. Redshirt sophomore Khari Blasingame is Webb’s backup. He has scored 3 touchdowns in the first two games.  


Sophomore Quarterback Kyle Shurmur runs the Vandy offense. He started 5 games as a true freshman. Shurmur has completed 23 of 50 passes in the first two games for 186 yards and 1 touchdown. Shurmur spreads the ball around with Trent Sheffield only having 4 receptions as the leading receiver. Sheffield set a school record last year against Austin Peay with 240 receiving yards.


Vanderbilt’s offensive line is big and experienced with all 5 linemen tipping the scales at over 300 pounds. All 5 lineman started games last season. Senior left tackle Will Holden was the only member of the group to start all 12 games last season. Atlanta-Carver grad Delando Crooks is scheduled to start at left guard.   


Defensively, Vandy has played the run well but has given up 293.0 passing yards a game. Vandy will rely on their offense to win the time of possession and keep their defense off the field. Their opponents in the first two games converted 46% of their third downs. Vandy will be the first 3-4 defense that GT has faced this season.


The linebacker position is the strength of the Vandy defense. Redshirt junior inside linebacker Zach Cunningham is the leader of the Vandy defense. Cunningham has 22 tackles through 2 games and has a streak of 6 games with a least 10 tackles.Cunningham is joined on the inside by Macon and one time GT target Nigel Bowden. Redshirt junior Landon Stokes returns as a starter on the outside.


The defensive line is anchored in the middle by 295 pound senior Adam Butler who started 8 games last season for Vandy. Junior defensive ends Nifae Lealao and Jonathan Wynn each started 4 games last season.


Senior corner Torren McGaster returns as the leader in the secondary. McGaster started all 12 games last season and led the team in pass break-ups with 13. Junior corner Tre Herndon also started all 12 games last season. The free and strong safeties are new starters in the secondary for Vandy. Top Stories