Head-to-head: Vanderbilt vs. Alabama

Vanderbilt gets back in action this weekend when they visit No. 2 Alabama. Look inside for a head-to-head comparison of the Crimson Tide and Commodores.

Vanderbilt rushing offense
Alabama rushing defense
Vanderbilt averages 134 yards (77th FBS) rushing per game. The Commodores rushing attack is led by Zac Stacy who has 280 yards rushing on the season. He had his best game against Ole Miss when he gained 169 yards. The following week at South Carolina he managed just 18 yards in seven carries. Freshman running back Jerron Seymour has 159 yards in 35 carries this season. He has scored two touchdowns.

Alabama is currently ranked No. 1 nationally in rushing defense, giving up less than 40 yards per game on the ground. On Saturday at Florida the Tide defense limited the Gator offense to just a measly 17 yards on the ground. Junior linebacker Dont'a Hightower leads the Tide in tackles with 29. DB Mark Barron has 24.  
Vanderbilt passing offense
Alabama passing defense
Vanderbilt is averaging just 125 yards (116th FBS) a game passing. Fifth year senior Larry Smith leads the Commodore attack. He has completed 50-of-87 passes for 412 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. Smith's top target is sophomore Jonathan Krause who has 15 receptions for 80 yards, nine of his receptions came against South Carolina. Vanderbilt is expected to regain the services of veteran tight end Brandon Barden. Barden was injured in the UConn game and has missed the past two games. He has 94 career receptions. Redshirt freshman Chris Boyd has seven catches for 105 yards and three touchdowns. Vanderbilt is allowing an average of 4 sacks per game (116th in FBS). The status of John Cole is uncertain.

Alabama is ranked fifth nationally in passing defense giving up just 152 yards per game. Defensive lineman Nick Gentry has 2 1/2 sacks for 21 lost yards. Five different Tide players have at least one interception. Head coach Nick Saban coaches the Bama secondary. Alabama allowed 207 yards passing to Florida last week.  
Alabama rushing offense
Vanderbilt rushing defense
Vanderbilt is allowing just 98 yards (25th FBS) rushing per game to opponents, on average. Middle linebacker Chris Marve has 32 tackles including 19 for solos. Outside linebacker Chase Garnham has 23. Recently Vanderbilt held South Carolina's star running back, Marcus Lattimore, to less than 80 yards rushing.

Alabama ranks No. 13 nationally in rushing offense. The Crimson Tide posted 226 yards rushing at Florida on Saturday. Tailback Trent Richardson ran for 181 yards and two scores in the easy Bama victory. Richardson gets blocking from a wall of future professionals.  
Alabama passing offense
Vanderbilt passing defense
Even with one less game played (4) than many teams, Vanderbilt has 14 interceptions, the most of any team nationally. The Commodores are ranked No. 4 nationally in pass efficiency defense. After the win over South Carolina cornerback Casey Hayward was tied for the national lead in interceptions with four. Junior Trey Wilson has three picks and Javon Marshall two. Two of Wilson's returns have been for touchdowns.

Alabama ranks No. 80 nationally in passing offense. Quarterback A.J. McCarron has completed 75-of-120 attempts for 919 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Senior wide receiver Marquis Maze has 22 catches for 1 score. Alabama is 51st nationally in sacks allowed (8).
Special Teams
Alabama's Jeremy Shelley is 8-of-12 on field goals with a long of 37 yards. Vandy's Carey Spear has connected on 3-of-3 field goal attempts with a long of 33 yards. Cody Mandell is averaging 38.5 yards per punt for the Crimson Tide with a long of 49 yards. Vanderbilt's Richard Kent averages 43 yards per punt and has a long boot of 67 yards. Kent did have one punt blocked for a touchdown against Connecticut. Alabama's Marquis Maze averages 36.4 yards a kickoff return, his longest return being 70 yards. The Commodores' Eric Samuels averages 22.7 yards per kickoff return with a long of 35 yards. Maize is a weapon for the Tide and also averages 15.2 yards per punt return. He returned one punt 83 yards for a touchdown. Vandy's Krause has a 6.7 yard average (long of 18) returning punts for the Commodores. John Cole returned punts earlier in the season but was hurt against Ole Miss. His status for Alabama is uncertain. Bama's kickoff coverage team allows 18.4 yards per return while Vanderbilt's allows 19.1 yards. Bama's punt return coverage unit is allowing 6.7 yards per return while Vandy's version is giving up just 5.2 yards a return.  
Nick Saban is one of the best in the business and has led both Alabama and LSU to national titles. He has a career record of 134-53-1 (43-11 at Alabama). Vanderbilt's James Franklin has brought energy and enthusiasm to the program. He is 3-1 in his first season at Vanderbilt.  
Alabama is coming off back-to-back wins over ranked teams and may be deflated. Vanderbilt has had an extra week to prepare and rest/heal up for the Tide. The Commodores have won once in 16 tries at Denny Bryant Stadium.  

PREDICTION: Alabama 31, Vanderbilt 6.

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