Head-to-head: Vanderbilt vs. Presbyterian

The Vanderbilt Commodores have endured a nightmarish start to the 2012 season. Vandy hopes to start a new season with solid, winning performance against Presbyterian on Saturday. VandyMania.com compares different critical team areas of Vanderbilt and Presbyterian and indicates which team has the edge. We also predict the final score.

Vanderbilt passing offense
Presbyterian passing defense
Vandy advantage
Vandy's Jordan Matthews leads the 'Dores receiving corps with 14 catches for 222 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. Quarterback Jordan Rodgers is 30 of 56 passing with 2 touchdowns and an interception. Commodore receiver Chris Boyd is second on the team with 7 receptions for 85 yards. Last week in their opening drive at Northwestern, Rodgers marched the 'Dores and converted on fourth-and-9, for their only touchdown of the day.

Through Week 2 the Presbyterian secondary has yet to intercept an opposing quarterback. In their loss against Georgia Tech, the Blue Hose gave up 243 passing yards and 2 touchdowns. Vandy fans may also get their first game time glimpse of Wyoming transfer Austyn Carta-Samuels who has yet to have a pass attempt this season.

Vanderbilt rushing offense
Presbyterian rushing defense
Vandy advantage
Things got ugly fast in the Blue Hose's 59-3 loss to Georgia Tech. Presbyterian gave up 469 rushing yards and six different Yellow Jackets scoring rushing touchdowns. Vanderbilt comes into the game ranked 110th in the country, averaging 81.5 rushing yards per game.

The Commodore offensive line has had issues in protection, allowing 8 sacks in two games. Vandy players are averaging a paltry 2.3 yards per rush attempt. This should be a good week to shore up those issues before a big game at Georgia and may also be the day freshman running back Brian Kimbrow scores his first touchdown as a Commodore. Through Week 2, the Commodore offense has a pass-run ratio of 56-70. Vandy could finally get its chance to run wild against a Blue Hose team that opponents average 324 rushing yards per game against.

Presbyterian rushing offense
Vanderbilt rushing defense
Vandy advantage
Running back Lance Byrd leads the Blue Hose rushing game with a 6.1 yards per rush average but the senior has yet to find the end zone. Demarcus Rouse ran for three rushing touchdowns in the second half against Brevard--the sophomore running back averages a stout 10.4 yards per rush in 14 attempts. Fullback Shawn Armstrong also ran for a touchdown in Week 1 against Brevard.

The Commodore rushing defense is ranked 92nd in the country allowing opponents 4.3 yards per rushing attempt. Linebacker Chase Garnham leads the 'Dores with 16 tackles, a tackle for loss, and a sack. Junior linebacker Karl Butler has 10 tackles including 3½ for a loss, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery on the year. Junior defensive end Walker May leads the defensive line with 7 tackles, two for a loss, and a sack.

Presbyterian passing offense
Vanderbilt passing defense
Vandy advantage
Presbyterian signal caller Tamyn Garrick has completed 22 of 44 passes for 203 yards with a score and an interception. Arthur Williams leads the Blue Hose with 81 receiving yards on 7 catches and the lone Presbyterian receiving touchdown. Michael Ruff is the second leading receiver with 5 receptions for 37 yards. Jeremiah McKie and Anderico Bailey add four catches each for the Blue Hose receiving corps.

Vanderbilt's secondary is currently ranked fourth in the nation in passing defense, holding opponents to 100 passing yards per game. In the first half at Northwestern, Wildcat signal callers were held to just 3 completions for 10 yards. At the end of the night Northwestern quarterbacks were 17 of 31 pass attempts and just 4.3 yards per completion.

The Vandy secondary is led by Kenny Ladler who has 16 tackles including one for a loss, a sack, and two pass deflections. Javon Marshall is second among the secondary with 15 tackles and a forced fumble.

Special Teams
Vandy advantage
Presbyterian receiver Michael Ruff returned The Opening kickoff of the season 92 yards for a touchdown. Safety Cedric Byrd and tight end Joel Ruiz also return kicks for a Blue Hose return team that averages 27.1 yards per kick return. Against the Yellow Jackets placekicker Aaron Mayes had a field goal blocked, and is 2 of 3 in field goals, with a long of 42 yards.

Andre Hal has five kick returns for the 'Dores, averaging 25.2 yards per return with a long return of 52 yards against South Carolina. Freshman running back Brian Kimbrow averages 25.3 yards per kick return in 3 attempts.

Carey Spear is 4 of 5 in field goal attempts with a long of 44 against South Carolina. The junior placekicker's lone miss was a 51-yarder against the Gamecocks.

Richard Kent's 67-yard punt against Northwestern ties for 9th best in the country and matched a career high.

Vandy advantage
After Week 3, Coach Franklin and the 'Dores have a tough road ahead with games at Georgia and Missouri before welcoming Florida, Auburn, and Massachusetts. Expect for the 'Dores to throw out some new gimmicks for Georgia to have to prepare for. If Vandy can somehow scratch out two wins in the upcoming four SEC games, things will certainly look brighter for the 2012 season.

Blue Hose coach Harold Nichols is in his fourth season as head coach of his alma mater with a win-loss record of 7-28. Presbyterian has steadily climbed, winning two more games each year since Nichols' 0-11 year in 2009.

Vandy advantage
The 'Dores return home after a disappointing loss at Northwestern. Presbyterian is coming off a 59-3 beat down at the hands of Georgia Tech. Anything can happen but this is an undersized, demoralized Blue Hose team against a Vandy team eager to get its first win. We should get to see more of true freshmen Kimbrow, defensive end Caleb Azubike, and linebacker Darreon Herring. The Commodores will get to comfortably flex some muscle and tune up issues on the line before a trip to Athens to face the Bulldogs. Expectations may have been set too high for a Vanderbilt offense that has scored just 13 points in each of its first two games.

PREDICTION: Vanderbilt 45, Presbyterian 7.

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