Vandy Opponent Preview: Austin Peay

After arguably the most difficult game on the schedule against Georgia in week two, the ‘Dores stay at home in week three to take on Austin Peay of the FCS. On paper this is the easiest game the ‘Dores will play all year, but as we all know by now there are no givens in college football.

2014 Record: 1-11 (1-7 Ohio Valley Conference)

Series Record: The series between two schools which are just 50 miles apart is pretty much brand new, with Vanderbilt winning the only meeting back in 2013.

Last Meeting: In the final year of the James Franklin era at Vanderbilt, the ‘Dores took Austin Peay apart in a game which wasn’t nearly as close as the 38-3 score line would suggest. Vanderbilt scored all 38 points in the first half before resting their starters the rest of the way and leaning on a defense which allowed just 139 yards of total offense for the game.

Head Coach: Kirby Cannon is entering his third season as the Governors head coach, having posted a 1-23 (.042) win/loss record in Austin Peay career. Cannon has to be considered a strange hire for Austin Peay as in his previous head coaching stint with the Missouri S&T Miners he was an unimpressive 35-86 overall.

Spring News: Peace and quiet was the name of the game for the Governors this spring. In 2014 stadium upgrades and construction left the coaching staff in the unenviable position of having to shout above the noise to get their points across, never quite knowing what information was being missed or not sinking in. This year the lack of construction has led to a more tranquil environment where much more emphasis was put on teaching and less on hitting.

Projected Strengths: The shining light for Austin Peay in 2014 was a freshman running back who took the OVC by storm. Otis Gerron rushed for 596 yards on 112 carries, good for a tidy 5.3 yards per carry, before a concussion ended his season early. Gerron is fully recovered from that concussion and looks set to come back and carry on right where he left off this fall. Gerron is also a threat out of the backfield, catching three passes for 49 yards against Murray State last fall.

Projected Weaknesses: If the spring is anything to go by then Austin Peay is going to have all kinds of problems throwing the ball this fall. In the spring game the quarterbacks combined to go 14-for-25, for just 80 yards through the air. Trey Taylor looks set to be the starting quarterback and the transfer from Central Arkansas brings something to the table as a dual threat. If he puts the ball in the air however his career completion percentage is well below 50 percent.

Prediction: This is the one game on the Vandy schedule which is a slam dunk victory. The sheer gap in talent will provide the ‘Dores with enough to get past an Austin Peay team which is overmatched at this level. If this game is close either on the scoreboard or in the statistics, then Derek Mason is not progressing this Commodores team at all.

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