Head-to-head: Vanderbilt vs. Wake Forest

Vanderbilt hopes to pick up its sixth win of the season on Saturday at Wake Forest. VandyMania.com compares different critical team areas of both Vanderbilt and Wake Forest and indicates which team has the edge. We also predict the final score.

Vanderbilt
EDGE
AREA
Wake Forest
EDGE
COMMENTS
EVEN
Vanderbilt rushing offense
vs.
Wake Forest rushing defense
EVEN
This matchup pits the No. 63 (155 ypg.) Vanderbilt rushing offense against the No. 59 (150 ypg.) Wake Forest rushing defense. In its last three games Vandy has averaged 124 yards per game. Zac Stacy has rushed for 952 yards this season for the 'Dores. Commodore quarterback Jordan Rodgers has run for 297 and four TD's. Last week the Demon Deacon defense gave up 229 yards on the ground to the Maryland rushing attack. Senior Cyhl Quarles leads the Deacs in tackles with 87. Vanderbilt will be without sophomore center Logan Stewart who suffered a season ending injury against Tennessee.
EVEN
Vanderbilt passing offense
vs.
Wake Forest passing defense
EVEN
Vanderbilt ranks No. 100 (174 ypg.) in passing offense while Wake Forest is No. 80 (240 ypg.) in passing defense. Red shirt junior Jordan Rodgers was 17 of 32 for 193 yards, a TD and 3 INT's last week against Tennessee. Since Rodgers replaced Larry Smith at midseason the Commodores have steadily improved. In his last three outings Rodgers is 48-82 with 5 TD's and 4 INT's. Commodore receiver Jordan Matthews has been the favorite target of Rodgers with 643 yards receiving and 4 TD's. In the last four games Matthews has 21 catches for 526 yards and three TD's. Vanderbilt's offensive line is 87th nationally in sacks allowed (2.36 pg.) after ranking 109th in week 3. Wake Forest ranks 114th nationally in sacks made (0.91 pg.). Free safety Josh Bush leads Wake Forest with six interceptions and five passes broken up.
Wake Forest rushing offense
vs.
Vanderbilt rushing defense
 
The No. 99 (116 ypg.) Wake Forest rushing attack will face the No. 22 (120 ypg.) Vanderbilt rushing defense. After giving up 101 yards on the ground and a touchdown to a Tennessee rushing offense that is fourth from the bottom in the country, the 'Dores will try to shut down Wake Forest running back Brandon Pendergrass. Pendergrass has 676 yards and eight TD's this year for the Deacons. In the last three games Vanderbilt has given up (110 ypg.) on the ground. Led by Pendergrass who had 125 yards and a TD, Wake Forest rushed for 194 yards last week against Maryland. The Deacons have averaged (150 ypg.) in the last three games. Middle linebacker Chris Marve leads the Commodores with 79 tackles including 6 for losses. Sean Richardson has 52 tackles for the Commodores and sophomore Kenny Ladler has 49.
EVEN
Wake Forest passing offense
vs.
Vanderbilt passing defense
EVEN
The Demon Deacon's passing offense ranks No. 33rd (262 ypg.) nationally while the Commodore pass defense stands at No. 38th (203 ypg.) nationally. The Commodores are fourth in the country in interceptions with 17, four of which were returned for TD's. Last week against Tennessee Archibald Barnes had two interceptions and returned one 100 yards for a TD. Casey Hayward is No. 8 nationally with five interceptions. Wake Forest's signal caller Tanner Price has thrown for 2646 and 19 TD's this season. Last week against Maryland Price was 20 of 32 for 320 yards and three touchdowns. The Deacons top receiving threat is junior Chris Givens. For the fourth time Givens won the ACC Receiver of the Week award for his touchdown and 191 yards against Maryland. Tennessee is 93rd (2.55 pg) in sacks allowed while Vanderbilt is 41st (2.09 pg.) in sacks made.
 
Special Teams
Vanderbilt has had trouble finding the right foot for the job when it comes to field goals. In the 21-27 OT loss to Tennessee Ryan Fowler was 0-2 missing from 44 and 34 yards. Vanderbilt is 113th in the country this year making only 44.5 percent of their field goals. Wake Forest is 27th nationally making 80 percent of their field goals. Junior kicker Jimmy Newman is 8-8 from 20-29 yards and 2-4 from 40-49 yards with a long of 46 yards. Wake Forest punter Alex Wulfeck averages 39.2 yards per punt with a long of 59 yards. Vandy punter Richard Kent averages 42 yards per punt with a long of 67 yards and has pinned 16 punts inside the 20-yard line. Vanderbilt coverage units are allowing 4.45 and 18.27 yards for punt and kickoffs returns respectively while the Deacons are allowing 6.05 and 21.14 yards.
EVEN
Coaching
EVEN
Vandy's James Franklin is 5-6 in his first season at Vanderbilt. Franklin has the Commodores with more victories than the last two seasons combined and had them playing to the last minute against Georgia, Arkansas and Florida. Jim Grobe has defied all preseason expectations clenching a bowl with a game yet to go for the Demon Deacons with a formidable passing offense.
Intangibles
 
Wake Forest is coming off a bowl clenching after their 31-10 victory over Maryland. It is a home game for the Demon Deacons but they have proven to be hit or miss throughout the season with surprising losses to North Carolina and Syracuse. Surprisingly the Commodores have taken care of everyone they were expected to and fought to the wire with top SEC teams like SEC East leader Georgia. The Commodores will be hungry for a bowl.

PREDICTION: Vanderbilt 24, Wake Forest 21

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