Vanderbilt meets Georgia on Saturday at Vanderbilt Stadium. 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
Georgia PASSING DEFENSE
REMARKS: Vandy ranks No. 74 nationally and 12th in the SEC in total offense (393 ypg). The Commodores are 67th nationally and 9th in the SEC in passing offense (217 ypg). Looking at team passing efficiency, Vanderbilt is 100th in the nation with a rating of 104.49. Last week against Western Kentucky
Vandy quarterback Johnny McCrary
struggled at times throwing two interceptions into the end zone from inside the 10-yard line. He appeared to wait too long to throw the pass giving defenders time to react and converge on the receiver. McCrary did lead the Commodores on a 2-minute drill drive late in the game in which he made some nice passes. A 2-yard pass to Trent Sherfield
was Vanderbilt's first touchdown of the 2015 season. Sherfield led Vanderbilt with four catches for 63 yards. Early in the fourth quarter his 31-yard catch in a third down situation was the team's biggest gain of the game. Running back Ralph Webb was Vanderbilt's second leading receiver with 3 catches. Kris Kentera
had a pair of catches but also dropped a touchdown pass. Steven Scheu, Darrius Sims
and DeAndre Woods
each had two catches. Vanderbilt blockers allowed only one sack during the game.
Georgia's passing defense is ranked 63rd nationally. The Bulldogs gave up 206 yards through in the air in their opener with Louisiana Monroe. ULM quarterback Garrett Smith completed 22 of 26 passes with a long of 24 yards. He had one pass picked off by Bulldog cornerback Aaron Davis. Safety Quincy Mauger
broke up another pass. Linebackers Tim Kimbrough
and Jordan Jenkins
each had one sack. Mauger and another linebacker, Leonard Floyd
, combined for another sack. Jenkins, Floyd and backup linebacker, Lorenzo Carter
, were named preseason coaches All-SEC picks.
VANDERBILT RUSHING OFFENSE
GEORGIA RUSHING DEFENSE
REMARKS: Vanderbilt's rushing attack is ranked No. 74 in the nation and 12th in the SEC. In the opener against Western Kentucky Vandy runners gained 176 yards on 42 carries (4.2 ypc). Sophomore running back Ralph Webb is the Commodores' leading rusher. He gained over 900 yards his freshman year. However, in the opener against WKU he was somewhat of a disappointment gaining just 70 yards on 18 carries (3.9 ypc). In the second half Vanderbilt tried several times running up the middle of the Hilltopper defense with little success. Johnny McCrary was a pleasant surprise running out of his quarterback position, gaining 66 yards on eight carries (8.2 ypc). Dallas Rivers
picked up 26 yards on 11 carries (2.4 ypc). Darrius Sims gained 15 yards on four attempts. Vanderbilt's offensive line is led by veterans Jake Bernstein
and Spencer Pulley
Georgia's rushing defense is ranked 17th nationally and third in the SEC. Georgia, like Vandy, runs a 3-4 defensive scheme. In their opener against ULM the Bulldogs allowed just 45 yards on 26 attempts (1.7 ypc). Starting running back DeVontae McNeal
had just six yards in seven carries (0.9 ypc). The ULM backup running back did a little better managing 11 yards in five attempts (2.2 ypc). The ULM quarterback Smith had the best day running the ball with 26 yards on 13 carries. Linebacker Quincy Mauger led the Bulldogs with 6 1/2 tackles. Leonard Floyd had six tackles.
GEORGIA PASSING OFFENSE
VANDERBILT PASSING DEFENSE
Last week against ULM Georgia passed for 192 yards while completing 10 of 14 attempts for three touchdowns. Grayson Lambert, a 6-foot-5 fifth year senior, started for the Bulldogs and was solid. Lambert completed 8 of 12 passes for 141 yards and two scores. Lambert had scoring passes of 15 and 28 yards. He also had a 48-yard completion in the second quarter. That catch and run pass was attempted from the UGA 6 out of the shotgun formation. Redshirt sophomore Brice Ramsey
also played completing 2 of 2 passes for 51 yards and a TD. Starting wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell
and backup receiver Terry Godwin
, a freshman, both led the Bulldogs in receiving with three catches each. Mitchell caught a 31-yard pass from Ramsey in the second quarter. Sony Michel
, a backup tailback, and tight end Jeb Blazevich
also made scoring receptions for the Bulldogs. Georgia has a veteran offensive line that is considered one of the strengths of the team. UGA blockers allowed just one sack versus ULM.
Vanderbilt's defenders, now being coordinated by head coach Derek Mason
, limited Western Kentucky to just 209 yards rushing on 22 attempts, over 160 yards less than the Heisman Trophy candidate's Brandon Doughty
2014 average. Mason, using similar schemes as what he employed to stifle Oregon
and other offenses when he was at Stanford
, kept pressure on Doughty while keeping Hilltopper wide receivers under wraps. Western finally was able to score late in the third quarter because of an uncalled hold. Safety Oren Burks
led Vanderbilt with two pass breakups. Defensive end Jonathan Wynn
and defensive back Tre Herndon
each came up with sacks.
GEORGIA RUSHING OFFENSE
VANDERBILT RUSHING DEFENSE
REMARKS: Georgia's rushing offense is one of the most fearsome in college football. Sophomore speedster Nick Chubb
is the top Dawg among the Georgia running back stable. He's fast, quick and can break tackles with the best of them. Last year Chubb gained 1,547 yards while averaging 7.1 yards per carry and scoring 14 touchdowns. Chubb is also a receiving threat as he made 18 catches for two TDs last season. Sophomore Sony Michel had 41 yards rushing on six carries (6.8 ypc). Two juniors, Keith Marshall
and Brandon Douglas, are listed as co-third string tailbacks for the Dawgs. Marshall had 10 carries for 73 yards and a pair of TDs last week. Douglas had three carries for 17 yards. As stated earlier, the UGA offensive line is veteran and solid.
Vanderbilt's Mason has a "stop the run first" defensive philosophy. In their opener, the Commodore defense held Western Kentucky to just 38 yards rushing on 22 attempts (1.7 ypc). Linebackers Darreon Herring
and Nigel Bowden
, both Georgians are two of the Commodore's top run stoppers. Herring, who has 168 career tackles, has great mobility and is also a good cover man. Bowden had 11 tackles at Missouri
last season. Vanderbilt has a physical, aggressive, defensive line. Jay Woods
, who mans the middle of the Commodore defensive line, is another Georgian. Local product Caleb Azubike
and 305-pound Adam Butler
, who have combined for 34 career tackles for losses, are two veterans on the D-line.
REMARKS: Vanderbilt's Tommy Openshaw
had five punts for a 44-yard average. His longest punt went 64 yards. One punt traveled over 60 yards and was downed on the WKU 2. Openshaw shanked one for 19 yards in the second half. Openshaw also kicks for Vandy. He missed his first attempt of the 2015 season when a bad snap/hold resulted in him missing a 28-yarder. He later made kicks from 49 and 26 yards. Vanderbilt suffered a turnover on a punt return when Tre Herndon didn't get away from a ball that wasn't being fielded. The ball bounced off him and WKU recovered. Trey Ellis
returned two punts for 10 yards. Darrius Sims had three kickoff returns for 61 yards, with a long of 22 yards. Sims returned two kickoffs for TDs last year against South Carolina
. Vanderbilt's kick/punt coverage teams were fairly sound except for the turnover.
Georgia punter Collin Barber
had four punts for a 43.8 yard average last week. His longest punt went for 50 yards. His shortest punt went 39 yards but was downed on the ULM 10. Georgia attempted no field goals during their game with ULM. Last year starting kicker Marshall Morgan
made 16-21 field goals with a long of 53 yards. On Saturday he made all seven of his point after attempts. Bulldog return man Reggie Davis
returned two punts for 28 yards with long of 21 yards. He also returned two kickoffs for 53 yards with a long of 33.
Georgia blocked two punts against ULM and scored touchdowns off both. On one of the blocks the Bulldogs sent just four players after the punter. Georgia kick/punt coverage units were solid.
Derek Mason is in his second season at Vanderbilt with a 3-10 (0-8 SEC) overall record. Prior to Vanderbilt Mason was a successful defensive coordinator at Stanford. In 2012 Mason was a finalist for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation's top assistant coach. Mason has some NFL coaching experience serving stints with the Vikings, Raiders, Giants and Rams.
Georgia's Mark Richt
(137-48, 80-37 SEC) is in his 15th year in Athens. He is 46-15 in opponent's stadiums. Richt teams have been to 14 straight bowls and Richt has a 50-14 out of conference record. Before coming to Georgia he was a successful offensive coordinator at Florida State
REMARKS: Georgia leads the series with Vanderbilt 54-19-2. Vanderbilt defeated the Bulldogs in Nashville in 2013, 31-27. For games in Nashville the Bulldogs lead 24-11-2. Vanderbilt is 113th nationally in turnover margin while UGA is 26th. Georgia is No. 1 nationally in red zone offense will Vanderbilt is 118th.
Georgia 28, Vanderbilt 10. I’m not saying Vanderbilt can't win this game, they can if they put a complete effort together. Vandy's defensive effort last week at least gives Vandy some hope of putting up a good fight. The offense was improved but is error prone. This early in the season the offense is still getting accustomed to new offensive coordinator And Ludwig's schemes. Vandy has a shot to win some SEC games down the road but this one, unfortunately, probably will not be one of them.