Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Three Keys: Vanderbilt vs. Texas A&M

The Vanderbilt Commodores host the Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday at Vanderbilt Stadium. Look inside for your three keys to a Vandy win over the Aggies.

Vandy still has a shot to get a bowl bid if they can take care of business in their next two games.  First, first they must handle the talented Texas A&M Aggies.  Here are your three keys to a Vandy win over the Aggies.

Key No. 1 - Ralph Webb runs wild

Ralph Webb has been a work horse of late for the Commodores.  He needs only 76 more yards to reach 1,000 yards rushing. However, against the Aggies he should more than double that total.  The Aggies just aren't that good at stopping the run.  A&M is currently 113th nationally and 14th in the SEC in rushing defense giving up 210 yards a game on average. If Vandy is to be successful against the Aggies they need for Webb to have a 150-200 yard kind of day.

Key No. 2 - Fewer mistakes on both sides of ball

It was huge that Vanderbilt won the game against Kentucky; the final score was the most important stat.  However, on both sides of the ball there were areas for improvement.  Vandy's defense and special teams gave up several long gains that nearly cost the 'Dores the game. There were also two fumbles lost that could have led to the pendulum swinging towards the struggling Cats. Texas A&M is a much better football team than UK.  If Vandy is to pull off a win on Senior Day they'll need to play cleaner, mistake free football while still coming up big with turnovers on defense while putting some points on the board offensively.

Key No. 3 - VU defensive line terrorizes A&M

Vanderbilt’s Black Death Defense is one of the top units nationally.  A big reason for that is the solid play that the unit has received from its defensive line.   You may not see them represented in the stats as much as the linebackers and others, but football games are won in the trenches.  Defensive lineman can disrupt opposing offenses by funneling ball carriers into awaiting tackers or forcing errant or batted down passes.   Vandy needs for players like Caleb Azubike, Adam Butler, Jay Woods and their backups to have special days against A&M by moving the pile while coming up with big plays on the line.  Vanderbilt’s outside linebackers play into this too. They often become linemen when the defense switches to a 4-3 set.  

All in all, this is a game Vanderbilt can win if they play a complete game.  A win and Vandy stays on course for a possible bowl bid.   A loss and the team must win at UT and hope for a 5-7 bowl slot to open.  


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