Head-to-head: Vanderbilt vs. Wake Forest

Vanderbilt visits Wake Forest for the second season in a row on Saturday. VandyMania.com's D.T. Yates compares the two team in several critical areas. We also make a prediction on the game's final score.

Vanderbilt Passing Offense
Wake Forest Passing Defense
Edge: Vanderbilt
Quarterback Jordan Rodgers is tied for ninth in the NCAA and fourth in the conference with only four interceptions in 271 pass attempts. Rodgers has thrown for 2,202 yards passing yards and 11 scores while completing 58.3 percent of pass attempts. Jordan Matthews is currently second in the SEC averaging 7 receptions per game. The redshirt junior leads the team with 77 receptions for 1,118 yards and 6 scores. Chris Boyd has made some spectacular catches and leads Vandy receivers averaging 16.8 yards per reception. Vandy redshirt freshman tight ends Kris Kentera and Steven Scheu have steadily continued to get more involved in offense. Kentera leads the pair with 10 catches for 98 yards receiving and a pair of scores. The 'Dores have are 76th in the country averaging 221.55 passing yards per game.

Cornerback Kevin Johnson is first in the ACC averaging 1.64 passes defended per game. The redshirt sophomore currently leads the team with three interceptions and 15 pass break-ups. A.J. Marshall returned an interception 39 yards for a score in the opener against Liberty. The junior free safety is third on the team with 69 tackles and two interceptions. Senior Chibuikem Okoro is tied for third in the nation with 30 career pass break-ups. The strong safety has tallied 44 tackles, an interception, and five pass break-ups in 11 games. Wake Forest opponents are gaining 270.2 passing yards per game against the Deacons' which ranks 101st in the country.

Vanderbilt Rushing Offense
Wake Forest Rushing Defense
Edge: Vanderbilt
Senior tailback Zac Stacy is currently the highest active player in the SEC with 2,856 yards rushing gained. Stacy holds the Vanderbilt records for career rushing touchdowns (27), total touchdowns (27), single-season rushing yards (1,193), and single season rushing touchdowns (14). True freshman Brian Kimbrow has helped contribute to a rushing game that ranks 56th in the country averaging 167.45 rushing yards per game. Kimbrow leads the running backs averaging 7 yards per carry, while adding 411 yards rushing, and three scores. After switching between running back and wide receiver, Wesley Tate has been outstanding. The redshirt junior adds 335 yards rushing and is second on the team with 6 touchdowns. Offensive tackle Wesley Johnson has started 36 consecutive games at three different positions for the 'Dores. Vanderbilt has had to mix things up on the offensive line with Johnson moving from left tackle--where he started the first nine weeks of the season--to right tackle.

Outside linebacker Justin Jackson has been the most consistent player on defense, leading Wake Forest with 80 tackles, including 8½ for a loss, with 4 sacks. Linebacker Joey Ehrmann leads the team with 9½ tackles for a loss, including 2½ sacks. In the middle, Mike Olson has been another constant force in the defense adding 74 tackles, including 3½ for a loss, and an interception. Weakside linebacker Riley Haynes has started every game this season, tallying 60 tackles, including 3½ for a loss, with an interception. Wake Forest is currently ranked 71st in the country with opponents racking up 162.7 rushing yards per game.

Wake Forest Rushing Offense
Vanderbilt Rushing Defense
Edge: Even
Wake Forest has a pair of tailbacks in junior Josh Harris and redshirt freshman Deandre Martin that see significant time on the field. Harris leads the Deacs' with 137 carries for 608 rushing yards with five touchdowns. Martin trails with 104 carries for 412 rushing yards and five scores. Wake Forest's 111th ranked rushing offense has felt growing pains on an inexperienced offensive line with 24 sacks given up this season. The Demon Deacons are averaging just 98.36 rushing yards per game. The Deacs' came into the season with senior center Garrick Williams as the only returning starter. At tackle, junior Steven Chase had the second most experience entering the season, with 496 career snaps but has battled injuries since August. Right tackle Colin Summers has the second-most experience of listed players on the depth chart.

Junior Chase Garnham led Vanderbilt with 10 tackles in the win over UT. The middle linebacker has improved through the season with 11½ tackles for a loss, and 5½ sacks. Junior Karl Butler has been a major force at outside linebacker with 47 tackles, including 10½ for a loss. Butler tallied a season high 7 tackles in the win over Mizzou and added 5 last week against the Vols. Rob Lohr tipped a pass that was intercepted by defensive end Johnell Thomas last week. The senior defensive tackle leads the defense with 36 consecutive starts.

Wake Forest Passing Offense
Vanderbilt Passing Defense
Edge: Vanderbilt
Junior signal caller Tanner Price leads the Deacs' completing 211 for 374 pass attempts for 2,118 yards passing with 12 touchdowns. The mobile quarterback had season highs in completions (39) and pass attempts (57) in a win over Boston College with 293 yards passing and three scores. Price's favorite target is junior flanker Michael Campanaro who currently leads the ACC averaging 7.9 receptions per game. The slot receiver tops the receiving corps with 71 receptions for 665 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns. Terence Davis is the second-leading receiver on the Deacs' with 39 catches for 512 yards receiving. Davis had an excellent October filling in for an injured Campanaro, with a career-high day of 7 receptions for 130 yards receiving against Maryland. Tommy Bohanon is one of Price's favorite targets with 22 receptions for 203 yards receiving. The senior fullback is second on the team with five touchdown receptions. The Demon Deacons currently rank 93rd in the country, averaging 202.2 yards passing per game.

Strong safety Javon Marshall is second on the team with 72 tackles, including a team-high 51 solo tackles. Junior safety Kenny Ladler leads the team with 73 tackles, including 3½ for a loss, with an interception. Andre Hal earned SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Tennessee. Hal had two interceptions returned 30 yards or more deep into UT territory. The junior cornerback ranks second in the SEC with 13 passes defended. Trey Wilson is tied with Hal for first on the team with two interceptions. The senior cornerback returned both for scores and adds nine passes defended. The Commodore secondary is ranked 10th in the country allowing 174.9 passing yards per game and just six passing touchdowns.

Special Teams
Edge: Vanderbilt
Richard Kent is having an excellent season averaging 44.8 yards per punt, ranking third in the SEC. The senior has pinned opponents inside their 20-yard line in 19 of 53 punts. Junior kicker Carey Spear is enjoying an outstanding year hitting 17 of 20 field goal attempts with a long field goal of 48 yards. Junior receiver Jonathan Krause has returned 22 punts for 171 yards, including a 40-yard return for a score against UMass. Jordan Matthews leads the team averaging 8.8 yards per punt return. Freshman Brian Kimbrow has returned the majority of kickoffs for the 'Dores averaging 20.6 yards per return.

Redshirt freshman Chad Hedlund is 3 for 3 from field goal range, with each coming in the Deacs' 16-10 victory over Virginia. Wake Forest has not attempted a field goal in the last four games. Alexander Kinal set school records that you never want to see your team break. The redshirt freshman punted 10 times and set a new school single-season record with 90 punts. It also tied the ACC record set in 1991 by Maryland's Dan DeArmas. Kinal is fifth in the ACC averaging 40.5 yards per punt, and has pinned opponents inside their 20-yard line 26 times. Lovell Jackson had a 60-yard punt return against Virginia that set up the Deacs' only touchdown. Josh Harris and the Demon Deacons rank 12th in the ACC in kickoff returns averaging 16.7 yards per return. Senior outside linebacker Justin Jackson blocked a PAT attempt against Army.

Edge: Vanderbilt
The 'Dores are currently riding a five game winning streak, including four consecutive wins against SEC opponents. Vanderbilt will need to overcome the emotional high after a 41-18 victory against Tennessee. The Demon Deacons are still looking for their bowl qualifying win. Vanderbilt has won its last four games by a margin of 106 points, including dominating wins over SEC East opponents Kentucky and Tennessee. The Commodore defense is allowing just 18 points per game, ranking fifth in the conference.

Wake Forest is 2-3 in its last five games with three losses to Notre Dame, NC State, and Clemson coming by 29 points or more. After starting 4-2 in 2011, Wake Forest finished the final seven games--including a 23-17 loss to Mississippi State in the Music City Bowl--with a 2-5 record. The Deacs' have been outscored by opponents 201-327 but are excellent once in the red zone scoring 91 percent of trips inside the 20. While playing in Winston-Salem, N.C., Wake Forest is 4-2 this season with losses to Clemson and Duke.

Edge: Even
Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin has the team playing, believing, and performing at a higher level than ever before. Under Franklin the 'Dores have won five SEC games for only the second time since 1935. Franklin is already coming up as a household name after leading the 'Dores to their second straight bowl game. Franklin has significantly improved recruiting by selling Vanderbilt as a place to get an excellent education, in a great city, in the best conference. Another key ingredient in the recruiting pitch is a chance to build something from the ground up. The results have been remarkable as the 'Dores finished with an outstanding class in 2011 and are primed to finish even better in 2012.

Head Coach Jim Grobe has a 3-2 record against the 'Dores and has an overall record of 73-73 in his 12th year at Wake Forest. Grobe spent the six seasons prior at Ohio University and has an even 106-106-1 record in his 17th year as a head coach. Wake Forest has seen an amazing turnaround from a team that won just 38 games in the 1990's. The Deacons' finished with a 4-7 record in 2005. The following year, Grobe led them to an ACC Championship and a trip to the Orange Bowl, posting 11 wins for the first time in school history.

Grobe wasn't done and took them back to the postseason in 2007, with a 24-10 win over Connecticut in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. In 2008 Wake Forest ended the season with an 8-5 record, including a win over Navy in the EagleBank Bowl. The Demon Deacons' 33 wins from 2006-09 are the most wins in the history of the school in a four-year span.

PREDICTION: Vanderbilt 40, Wake Forest 17

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