Three Keys: Vanderbilt vs. Western Kentucky

The Vanderbilt Commodores hope to even their record at 2-2 when the Commodores visit Western Kentucky on Saturday.  Here are your three keys to a Vandy victory in Bowling Green. 


What we are going to see on Saturday is a lot of the same stuff we saw against Middle Tennessee. The Commodore were able to fend off the Blue Raiders by forcing mistakes and taking advantage of those mistakes.  Mike White is just as dangerous of Brent Stockstill.  The Commodore defense has to get some pressure on him to force bad passes and mistakes by White. White averages over 300 yards passing a game.  He will get his but the defense can't allow him to go wild.  Sacks, quarterback hurries, interceptions are all some things that can help slow him down. 


Vanderbilt has some good runners in Ralph Webb, Khari Blasingame and others but the 'Dores have got to establish the running game better than they did at Georgia Tech. There needs to be a few runs of 15 yards or more to help sustain drives. Vandy struggled in third down conversions at Tech but if the offense can make more medium to longer gains, third down conversions won't be as important. If all you are getting is 2-5 yards gains on drives, they are eventually going to stop you. The Commodore passing game plays into this too.  Kyle Shurmur must make some early completions to keep the defense honest and open things up for Webb and company.


Three yards and a cloud of dust is a formula for losing Vanderbilt football games. The conventional "tough guy" approach is not working. Throw on first down sometimes and even throw on every down occasionally.  Same thing with running. Ninety-five percent of the time the average fan in the stands can tell what Vanderbilt is going to do on offense on the upcoming play. Let's catch the Hilltoppers off guard and surprise people with some shock and awe. You only get to play this football game once. If there a minute left in the half and VU gets the ball and is not winning by 30 points or more, every effort should be made to score before the half. No more wasted possessions.  

Vanderbilt leads the all-time series with Western Kentucky 3-1.  Last year Vandy fell 14-12 in Nashville as a missed field goal and failed two-point conversion handed the victory to the Hilltoppers. Vanderbilt won the first meeting between the two schools back in 1931, 52-6.  WKU was then known as “Western Kentucky State Teachers College.”  The Commodores then prevailed in 1932 (26-0) and 1938 (12-0). All those game took place in Nashville. Vanderbilt will be the first SEC opponent that Western Kentucky has ever hosted in Bowling Green. The Hilltoppers did host Kentucky in Nashville at Nissan Stadium in 2013, WKU won that game 35-26.   

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