This is the 67th game in the series. Georgia leads the series 47 to 17 with two ties. Since 1952, when the teams began to play every year except 1953, 1966, and 1967, Vandy has won just seven of the 51 games, and since 1962, Vandy has won just three of 42 games against Georgia.
Saturday, 14-October-2006—11:30 AM CDT
Radio: WGFX 104.5 FM & Eight Affiliates + Sirius
Georgia games are
broadcast over one of the strongest radio stations in the nation. Atlanta's WSB-AM 750 is a 50,000 watt,
clear channel station that reaches out for 150 miles in all directions during
the daylight hours.
TV: Lincoln Financial Game of the Week
(Channel 30/ Comcast Channel 14 in Nashville)
Weather Forecast: Sunny with temperatures rising from 40 degrees at
sunrise to the low 60's by kickoff to the low 70's by the end of the game. Low humidity and a gentle westerly
breeze should make near ideal football playing
From Nashville to Sanford Stadium in
Athens, Georgia, is a little more than 300
miles and takes a little more than five hours to drive. Remember, you will lose an hour driving
there from Nashville, so if you leave the Music City Friday at 10 AM CDT, you
will arrive in Athens past 4 PM EDT.
Of course, if you leave at that time, you will bog down in Atlanta and sit in traffic
one hour to 90 minutes longer than you planned. (unless you bypass Atlanta as shown
1. The Direct
Route Thru Atlanta
(307 miles, 5 hours to 6 ½ hours depending on traffic in Atlanta)
Take I-24 East to Chattanooga. After ascending Missionary Ridge, be on the lookout for I-75 South. Take the right fork when I-24 ends at
I-75, following the signs for Atlanta.
Continue on I-75 South into Georgia (2 miles from where I-24
ends). Dalton is an excellent
stopping point for cheap gas and stocking up your cooler. There is a Kroger Supermarket with gas
just off the interstate at exit 333 (Walnut Ave.) in a shopping center
surrounded by eateries.
As you drive into the Atlanta Metro area, watch signs for I-285. Take Exit 259B, a ramp to the right,
onto I-285 following signage for Greenville. This is the East bypass of Atlanta, but it is
anything but a bypass. Traffic will
be heavy on I-285 on Friday afternoon.
Sometimes, it can reach the same degree of congestion that you might see
on the Kennedy Expressway in Chicago.
Follow I-285 to exit 33B, and leave I-285 for I-85 following signage for
Greenville. Watch for road construction on I-85 in
the area near the Gwinnett Place Mall.
Continue on I-85 to State
Leave I-85 for SR-316 following signs for Lawrenceville &
SR-316 will also become US Hwy. 29 and US Hwy. 78. Continue straight on US 29/78.
Take the ramp to the right to leave SR-316 and stay on US 29/78. Follow US 29/78. US Highway 129 will join this route. At exit 6, leave US 29/129 for
Route 15A/Milledge Ave. & Whitehall Rd. Turn left onto S. Milledge
Follow Milledge about a mile and a half to S. Lumpkin St. Turn right on S. Lumpkin and follow it
onto the University of Georgia campus. Sanford Stadium will be on your right by
turning right on Cedar
St. and then left on Sanford
2. Bypassing Atlanta and all the headaches (305 miles just
under 7 hours)
Follow I-24 to Chattanooga and I-75 South
into Georgia just like the above
route. Leave I-75 at the Exit 336
cloverleaf (US41/US 76 Dalton) and turn right onto US41/76 toward Dalton (The Carpet Capital
of the World). Continue on the
North Dalton Bypass US 41/76. Follow US Hwy 76 (turning to stay on US
76 on the south side of Dalton) thru Chatsworth to US Highway 411. Turn
right on US 411/US 76, and head south to Fairmount, Georgia. Take a sharp left at State Highway
Stay on Hwy 53 through Jasper, Dawsonville, Lumpkin, and into Gainesville (watch for
Hwy. 53 signs, as you will have turns in some small towns). Hwy 53 enters Gainesville on Washington St. Jog left onto Grove Street, and
then turn right onto US 129.
Follow US 129 South to Athens.
It will become Jefferson
Road as you enter the area. Do not get on the Athens Perimeter
Highway when US 129 goes that way. Continue straight on Alt-15/Prince
Turn right on N. Milledge
Ave., and then left onto Business Route 78
(BR-78)/State Hwy 10.
Take a right on Lumpkin, a left on Baldwin, and a right on Sanford.
Vanderbilt 0-3 in the SEC, 2-4 Overall
Georgia 2-1 in the
SEC, 5-1 overall
This is the 67th game in the series. Georgia leads the series 47 to 17
with two ties. Since 1952, when the
teams began to play every year except 1953, 1966, and 1967, Vandy has won just
seven of the 51 games, and since 1962, Vandy has won just three of 42 games
against Georgia. The Commodores' last tie game was
against Georgia in 1985. In Athens, the Commodores last won on October 15,
Coming off a 34-24 win over a weak Cincinnati team after suffering a 42-6
blowout loss to Arkansas, nobody gave Vanderbilt a chance to win at Georgia in
1994, especially after the Bulldogs has just demolished Clemson 40-14. With All-American candidate Eric Zeier
operating under center and Hines Ward and Terrell Davis in the backfield for the
Bulldogs, Georgia was a solid three touchdown
favorite over the Commodores. Of
course, this was the game Georgia selected for homecoming, and
a full house packed Sanford Stadium for the Jefferson Pilot SEC Game of the
Week. They expected a
Vanderbilt's quarterback was not an All-American. In fact, he would finish his collegiate
career as the number two quarterback at then Division I-AA Middle
Tennessee. But, on this day Ronnie
Gordon would look more like Nebraska's Tommy
The Commodores of Coach Gerry DiNardo ran the I-Bone offense. Three backs aligned stacked behind the
quarterback in this multiple veer play offense. In the backfield with Gordon were
tailbacks Jermaine Johnson and Cliff Deese, and fullbacks Eric Lewis and Paul
Morgan. Johnson, Deese, and Gordon
carried the ball about 75% of the time.
Vanderbilt needed to get off to a good start to have any chance of
staying close in this game, and that's exactly what happened. Georgia kick returner Brice Hunter
lost the opening kickoff in the sun.
The ball bounced behind him, and he fielded it and tried to come out of
the end zone. That was a huge
mistake. He got one yard past the
goal line before the Commodores smothered him. Two plays later, Zeier handed off to
Ward just outside the end zone, and Vandy defensive tackle James Manley was
there almost at the same time.
Manley popped the ball out of Ward's hands and into the air; it landed in
the arms of Vandy's Robert Sheffield.
Sheffield's momentum placed him in the
end zone when he found the ball in his hands. When Eric Lanctot booted the point
after, Vanderbilt led 7-0 just 37 seconds into the
Zeier connected with Hason Graham for a 21 yard touchdown pass to tie the
game less than two minutes later.
The Bulldogs drove 80 yards on just five passing
After a Commodore punt, Zeier went back to work and quickly spotted
Graham open deep over the middle for another quick touchdown. The Bulldogs took a 14-7 lead and
appeared to be ready to blow Vandy off the field.
Vanderbilt mounted a 69 yard drive on the next possession that allowed
Lanctot to boot a 28 yard field goal.
At the end of the first quarter, Georgia led
The second quarter saw Vandy run the I-bone the way Colorado ran it when
DiNardo was their offensive coordinator.
Gordon handed to Johnson on a lead play, and Johnson broke through the
line into open field. Once in open
field, nobody could catch up to a back with world-class sprinter's speed. Johnson sped 45 yards for the score, and
with the PAT, Vandy led once again at 17-14.
On Vandy's next possession, Gordon was sacked on first down but converted
for a first down on the next play on a 17-yard pass to Lewis. The drive continued down the field,
where Gordon scored from the Georgia three on the keep option of
the veer. Vandy now led 24-14 in
what was starting to look like a game out of the old American Football
Zeier quickly led Georgia back into the game with an
80-yard touchdown drive. It started
when the future All-Pro Davis broke free for a 25-yard burst and culminated when
he dove over from the Commodore one.
That made the score 24-21 Vandy with half of the second quarter yet to
After an exchange of punts, Vandy started the next possession at their
own 18 yard line; Vandy began the drive that would prove to be the stake in the
hearts of the home team. After
picking up a first down at the 31, Vandy faced a 3rd and 8 from their
33. Gordon kept the ball on the
option and found a hole outside for 17 yards to midfield. On the next play, wideout Kenny Simon
ran the reverse off the option and fooled the Bulldog defense for a 32 yard gain
to the Georgia 18. As the clock continued to run, Vandy
picked up a first down near the Georgia six. With the clock ticking under 15 seconds,
Gordon faked the dive part of the inside veer then fired a pop pass to Simon in
the end zone for a big score. The
Gold Men took a 31-21 lead into the locker room, while thousands of
Georgia alums and sidewalk alums
turned as red as their team's uniforms.
Vanderbilt sealed the deal on the opening drive of the second half. Keeping the ball on the ground for an
80-yard drive, the Commodores could do no wrong. Johnson did most of the damage with
consecutive runs of 26 and 14 yards.
Gordon then finished the deal on a keeper from 18 yards out. The extra point was missed, and Vandy
moved the ball in the latter part of the quarter, but they stalled when Zeier
threw three consecutive incomplete passes inside the Vandy 10. They had to
settle for a short field goal.
After three quarters, the black and gold led 37-24, and
Georgia's defensive front seven
looked dog tired.
Vandy wasn't finished. On
the first possession of the final period, the Commodores ran through
Georgia much like many teams had done
against Vanderbilt in the late 1970's.
A 15-play, 72-yard drive used up almost half the quarter. Gordon finished it off with his third
rushing and fourth total touchdown.
The PAT missed again, but the Commodores led 43-24 with seven minutes to
Georgia picked up a
late touchdown on an 11 yard pass from Zeier to Ward, and they missed their
extra point. Vandy ran out the
clock and won 43-30. The Commodores
finished with 415 rushing and 480 total yards while consuming almost 42 minutes
of the clock. Johnson led the team
with 177 rushing yards, while Gordon finished with
When Vanderbilt Runs The Ball
Georgia is not
an easy team to run against.
Vanderbilt must be successful running the ball in order to have any
chance to win an SEC game. Cassen
Jackson-Garrison did not have a good day against Ole Miss, but the Rebels fell
prey to numerous quarterback draws.
Don't expect the Bulldogs to allow that this week. They will be prepared to stop the QB
draw and the inside runs by CJG, and force Vandy to beat them with the forward
pass. It looks like one of those
games where two or three quarterback sacks could make the rushing statistics
look ugly. Call it a sub-100 yard
day on the ground for the Commodores.
When Georgia Runs The
The Bulldogs are not going to dominate any SEC defense with their running
game, but Vandy's defenders must respect the trio of Bulldog backs. Kregg Lumpkin, Danny Ware, and Thomas
Brown will get about 25 carries in this game for a combined 135-150 yards if the
blocking holds up. Throw in
fullback Brannan Southerland, and Georgia will probably get at least two rushing
touchdowns, again if the blocking develops. If Vandy can penetrate and gain some
control of the gaps, that number could be 30 yards lower.
Vandy's first priority in this game is stopping the tailback power runs
behind the blocking of tackle Daniel Inman and guard Chester Adams with fullback
Southerland taking on a linebacker.
If you are watching this game on television, concentrate on those three
players (Inman is #72, Adams is #67, and
Southerland is #36). If they are
pushing Vandy's defensive line and linebackers off the ball and controlling the
area, it's going to be a sad day for fans of the Commodores. If, on the other hand, Curtis Gatewood,
Ray Brown, Theo Horrocks, and the linebackers are penetrating the gaps on that
side and shedding off blockers, Vandy can slow down the Bulldogs and force Joe
Tereshinski to beat them through the air.
This is where the game should be partially
When Vanderbilt Throws The Ball
Here's where the rest of the game will be decided. Can Chris Nickson continue to play like
he showed us last week? If he isn't
able to go, can Mackenzi Adams move the ball like he did last week and also
avoid throwing the ball to the wrong jersey? If the answers to both of these
questions are "no," then Richard Kovalcheck might be in the game by the fourth
Vanderbilt just about must gain 200 yards passing in this game in order
to be competitive.
Georgia's secondary can be exploited,
as Erik Ainge showed last week.
Nickson, Adams, or Kovalcheck will have to be sharp in order to exploit
the Bulldogs. UGA won't hand it
over to them. If Vandy can attempt
30 passes and complete 17 for 200 yards with no interceptions, they will be in
this one to the end.
When Georgia Throws The
Expect the Bulldogs to throw early and often, trying to loosen up the
Vandy defense for their tailbacks.
Tereshinski will look deep to Mohamed Massaquoi and A.J. Bryant trying to
kill the confidence of the Commodore secondary. Reshard Langford has been a monster this
year, and he needs to make a name for himself tomorrow with a pickoff and a long
return. That will destroy the
Bulldogs' already moribund confidence.
The Gold defense has the task of keeping it that way. If Georgia throws for 200 yards, then
the Commodore defense will probably break down and allow a bunch of good runs
(unless Georgia gets 200 yards passing trying to catch and throwing 40
Special Teams Play
Vanderbilt has faced two really good special teams this year—against
Ole Miss—and they haven't been burned yet. Now, the ‘Dores face the best all-around
special teams they are going to see this year.
It will be interesting to see how Vanderbilt's kick coverage fares
against Georgia's kick return team. Hopefully, this will be a multiple
occurrence. Brown can take one back
with just a tiny opening, as he showed last week when he took one 99 yards
against Tennessee. This might be a week to have Bryant
Hahnfeldt kick the ball high and short or hard and on the ground. Many teams have a tough time fielding a
When Brett Upson punts, Mikey Henderson will be back to field it. Henderson is about as dangerous as Desmond
Howard on punt returns. He has
already reached pay dirt twice this year on just 12 returns. Last week, he fielded a punt at his 14
yard line and took it to the house.
Former Kentucky and current New Mexico State coach Hal Mumme used to instruct his
punter to punt the ball out of bounds, giving up about five yards but not
allowing any punt return. I think
Coach Bobby Johnson would be pleased with 35 yard punts out of bounds in this
Georgia lost the
league's best kicker about 10 days ago when Brandon Coatu was lost for the
season. They merely replaced him
with a former starter who earned Freshman All-SEC honors two years ago. Andy Bailey is highly skilled at his
Hahnfeldt has struggled some this year; perhaps the wind-blown miss at
the end of the Arkansas game created some mind games. He has a strong leg, and he is quite
accurate when he is on his game.
Vanderbilt cannot afford to come away empty handed on any possession that
reaches the Bulldog 25 yard line.
Hahnfeldt needs to be back to normal this week. Patrick Johnson is still around if
PiRate: Georgia 28 Vanderbilt
Vanderbuilder's Guess: Georgia 28 Vanderbilt
Average of 42 Computer Rankings: Georgia by 16 points. All 42 pick Georgia to win
with a range of two to 28 points.
The majority pick the Bulldogs to win by 14 to 19 points.
Summary: The Bulldogs are still in the SEC East
race. A win tomorrow and a win over
Mississippi State would set them up for a big game against
October 28. Had the Bulldogs beaten
week, they might have overlooked this game. Because they were totally embarrassed,
they will be looking to take it out on the next opponent. The Bulldog players are quite confident
they can line up and beat Vandy 100 times out of 100. Since 1996, The Bulldogs have played
week before they played Vanderbilt.
Five times prior to this year, the Vols won that game. Georgia has taken it out on Vandy
every time by an average score of 28-8.
That's about what I think will happen tomorrow, unless the defense can
control the area I mentioned, reducing the contribution of Inman, Adams, and
Southerland, and the Commodore passing game can get 200 yards.