Five Over-Under's that will Impact the Bowl

The Commodores are in full preparation mode for their third bowl game in as many years where they will take on Houston on January 4th. I don't know whether you can call Vandy bowl regulars just yet, but James Franklin is continuing to build the program. The keys for the BBVA Compass Bowl will come later this week, but here are a few over-under's which will help dictate the flow of the game.

1) Over-Under ten catches for Jordan Matthews

There is no doubt that Matthews will be the best player on the field come January 4th. Teams have tried everything this year to slow Matthews and make other Commodores beat them, often with little to no effect. Expect to see Matthews being doubled on every play, but also expect him to see at least fifteen targets from Patton Robinette. The last three games of the season saw Matthews have 12, 13, and 11 catches, with Vanderbilt winning all three games. His production will be massive.

2) Over-Under one touchdown for Jordan Matthews

Weirdly enough as Matthews' workload increased down the stretch this season his touchdown numbers disappeared. He doesn't have a touchdown since the first weekend of October against Missouri and has been held out of the end zone for six straight games now. It is hard to fathom how a guy who has as many receptions (107) and as many 100 yard games (8) as Matthews does in 2013 has so few touchdowns (5). He also doesn't have single game this season with two touchdowns, but against a Houston team who can score the ball and who have suspect cornerbacks, he needs to be put in position to make a touchdown catch or two.

3) Over-Under one red zone stop

The Vandy defense has been excellent in general this season, but their red zone play has been horrible. Vandy gives up points on over 90 percent of opposition drives which travel inside their 20 yard line, which is the highest (in a bad way) such mark in the SEC. Yes, it is hard to stop a team scoring when they get that far into your territory, but a turnover or a sack which pushes the Cougars out of field goal range would be huge in terms of both score and momentum.

4) Over-Under a zero turnover margin

Houston is number one in the country in turnover margin with a mark of plus-25 on the season. On a per game basis that means the Cougars average over two more takeaways to giveaways than their opponent. Houston is so good in this category that they have not lost the turnover battle all season, though the gap was noticeably smaller in their four losses than in their blowout wins. Vanderbilt will have to be very protective with the ball against a defense which actively hunts mistakes.

5) Over-Under 100 yards rushing for Houston

The Cougars are a pass first team, but for them to be successful they also have to find a way to move the chains with their ground game. In the four losses Houston suffered in 2013 they were only able to rush for more than 100 yards one time, whereas in their eight wins they rushed for 95 yards or more on seven occasions. The balance the run gives them allows both the quick screen game and the deep passing routes to develop. Without it they will find it much more difficult to move the ball on Vanderbilt.

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