Three Keys – Vanderbilt vs Western Kentucky

Football is back! That means it is time once again for us to go behind the storylines and discover the keys to Vanderbilt’s success in each game this year. With a Thursday night showdown against Western Kentucky just hours away we will find three areas to watch which will help determine the outcome of the game.

If these keys fall in the favor of the ‘Dores then Vandy will be looking good for victory. If the keys are not successful however, then it is going to be a long night for Derek Mason and company.

With all that being said here are the three keys for Vanderbilt to take down the Hilltoppers and start the season with a victory:

1) Slow down Brandon Doughty

You see Western Kentucky on the schedule and you figure that this is just a run of the mill C-USA team with a couple of quick running backs and most likely suspect special teams. What you do not expect is the Hilltoppers to walk into Nashville with the most feared quarterback in the entire country. Doughty’s stats from last year are beyond ridiculous. He threw for 4,830 yards, 49 (FOURTY-NINE) touchdowns and he passed four 486 OR MORE yards on four different occasions. If Doughty can take WKU to an unbeaten start to the season he will start featuring on Heisman lists. He is that good and it will be up to the defense to slow his production and give the Vanderbilt offense a shot.

2) Offensive improvement

It over simplifies things to say that the Vanderbilt offense needs to improve in 2015. While Doughty was lighting things up for Western Kentucky, the Vanderbilt quarterback carousel threw a total of 13 touchdown passes and never threw for more than 291 yards in a game. It might be asking a lot right out of the gate for Vandy to be firing away, but as good as the WKU offense is, the defense can be picked on. It is hard to quantify numbers here given that we don’t exactly know what the game plan is, but a quarterback showing up and throwing for around 250 yards and a couple of scores would make Vandy fans feel better about the squads chances this fall regardless of how the game plays out.

3) Big plays on defense

Mason has put everything on the line in anointing himself as the ‘Dores defensive coordinator. If fortune really does favor the brave then this move, made because Mason couldn’t find anyone he trusted more than himself, will pay off in spades. Mason is used to fast tempo, high scoring offenses from his days with Stanford in the Pac-12 and It was his defenses which routinely gave the might Oregon Ducks problems and seemed, for a stretch, to derail their BCS bids year after year. A hallmark of those Mason defenses was putting athletes in the right position to make plays on the ball and create turnovers. If the Vandy offense is a work in progress then the defense needs to step up right out of the gate. Vandy will need a couple of turnovers in this game to win. Top Stories