HEAD TO HEAD: VANDY VS. CHARLESTON SOUTHERN

Vanderbilt meets Charleston Southern on Saturday in Nashville. VandyMania.com's Don Yates compares the two teams in several critical areas. He also makes a prediction on the game's final score.

VANDERBILT PASSING OFFENSE
VS.
CHARLESTON SOUTHERN PASSING DEFENSE
EDGE: VANDERBILT
REMARKS: The Commodore passing attack is 122nd nationally in team passing efficiency (88.97 rating). Vandy is also 112th in passing yards per game (155). True freshman Wade Freebeck is expected to start for Vanderbilt. He has completed 29-of-65 passes for 356 yards and one touchdown while throwing five interceptions. Senior Stephen Rivers (25-for-63, 334 yds, 3 INTs) could see action if Freebeck falters. Tight end Steven Scheu (18 rec., 263 yds.) is the Commodore's top receiver. Latevius Rayford (14 catches) and C.J. Duncan (13 catches) are the two other top receivers. Vandy's blockers have given up 12 sacks this season.

CSU is ranked second in the Big South and 29th nationally (FCS) in pass efficiency defense (110 rating) and first in the conference in passing yards allowed per game (145). Cornerback Troy McGowen leads Charleston Southern with two interceptions.

VANDERBILT RUSHING OFFENSE
VS.
CHARLESTON SOUTHERN RUSHING DEFENSE
EDGE: VANDERBILT
REMARKS: Vanderbilt is 107th nationally in rushing offense (111.3 YPG). Ralph Webb is the Commodore's top running back with 107 carries for 504 yards (4.7 YPC) and two TDs. Webb was banged up at Georgia but is expected to play against CSU. Jerron Seymour has 23 carries for 121 yards (5.3 YPC). Seymour was 'Dores top back in 2013 when he ran for 716 yards and 14 touchdowns. Vanderbilt's offensive line is a veteran group led by senior center Joe Townsend, however, last week at Georgia several underclassmen replaced regular starters for extended periods.

The Buccaneers are second in the Big South and 37th nationally (FCS) in rushing defense (147 YPG). Linebacker Aaron Brown is CSU's top tackler with 42. Defensive back Demaris Brown has 31 stops. Last week against Charlotte Brown finished with 10 stops.

CHARLESTON SOUTHERN PASSING OFFENSE
VS.
VANDERBILT PASSING DEFENSE
EDGE: VANDERBILT
REMARKS: Charleston Southern runs a triple option offense similar to the service academies. CSU is fifth in its conference in passing offense (196 YPG) but first in the league in yards per completion (14.4). Quarterback Austin Brown has attempted 87 passes completing 56 (64.4%) for 859 yards eight TDs and one interception. Nathan Perera leads the Buccaneers in receptions with 11. Colton Korn has 10 catches.

Opposing quarterbacks have completed 128-of-195 passes for 1,472 yards and 11 TDs against Vandy. The Commodores have intercepted only two passes but those came over the past two games. Vanderbilt has 10 combined sacks of opposing QBs in 2014. Caleb Azubike leads in that category with four.

CHARLESTON SOUTHERN RUSHING OFFENSE
VS.
VANDERBILT RUSHING DEFENSE
EDGE: VANDERBILT
REMARKS: The Bucs are first in their league and 21st nationally (FCS) in rushing offense (215 YPG). Christian Reyes (5-10, 218) is the top ground gainer for CSU, gaining 350 yards on 77 carries. Ben Robinson (38 for 198) and Austin Brown (38 for 183) also get significant carries. Mike Holloway (15 for 153) averages over 10 yards a carry.

Vanderbilt is allowing opponents an average of 175 yards per game (4.2 YPC) good for 81st nationally. Last week at Georgia Vandy allowed a season high 243 yards on 32 carries (7.6 YPC). Middle linebacker Nigel Bowden leads the Commodores in tackles with 44 including 21 solos. The Commodores are ninth in the nation in fumbles recovered with seven.

SPECIAL TEAMS
EDGE: VANDERBILT
REMARKS: Colby Cooke averages 43 yards per punt with a long of 63 yards. He's had a dozen punts downed inside opponent's 20s. Tommy Openshaw has connected on four and six field goals with a long of 34 yards. Darrius Sims averages over 30 yards per kickoff return and returned two for touchdowns three weeks ago against South Carolina. Vanderbit is tied for 14th nationally in blocked kicks with two.

David Kennedy has made just two of five field goal attempts. Truett Burns averages 34 yards per punt with a long of 48. CSU's Darius Hammond has returned two punts for touchdowns this season; he's one of only three players in the FCS that have done that this season.

COACHING
EDGE: EVEN
REMARKS: Vanderbilt's Derek Mason is in his first season as a head coach and has led the 'Dores to an 1-5 record. He won his first college game against UMass earlier in the season. In 2012 Mason was a finalist for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation's top assistant coach, after directing a defense that ranks among the best in the nation and finest in Stanford history. Mason has some NFL coaching experience serving stints with the Vikings, Raiders, Giants and Rams.

Jamey Chadwell (15-3), a Tennessee native, is in his second season as head coach at Charleston Southern. In his first season his team set a school season record for wins (10). Chadwell earned many honors including Big South Coach of the Year, the AFCA Region II Coach of the Year, and was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award, which is awarded to the top FCS coach

INTANGIBLES
EDGE: EVEN
REMARKS: It's homecoming for Vanderbilt but severe thunderstorms are projected for this weekend. The athletic department should consider an earlier start time to avoid the same fiasco they had with the Temple game. Vanderbilt has never lost a game to a team that was an FCS member at the time the game was played. Vandy is 95th in redzone offense and 60th in redzone defense. CSU is 15th nationally (FCS) in redzone offense and 93rd in redzone defense.

PREDICTION: Vanderbilt 45, Charleston Southern 17.

VandyMania.com Top Stories