Head to Head: Vanderbilt vs. Richmond

First up for Vanderbilt in 2007 is Richmond. VandyMania.com compares different critical team areas of Vanderbilt and Richmond and indicates which team has the edge.

Vanderbilt rushing offense
Richmond rushing defense
Clearly Vandy has the edge here. The Commodores have probably their best offensive line in years and a solid passing game to compliment the rushing game. Cassen Jackson-Garrision, Jeff Jennings and Jared Hawkins give Vanderbilt three dangerous tailbacks and quarterback Chris Nickson led the Commodores in rushing in 2006. Spider defensive end Sherman Logan has 24 career starts for Richmond and might make things tough at times for the Vandy rushing attack.  
Vanderbilt passing offense
Richmond passing defense
Quarterback Chris Nickson, who improved significantly as the 2006 season progressed, spearheads the Commodore passing offense. All-American Earl Bennett is a dangerous target who will likely break multiple SEC career receiving records during his junior campaign. The tough Commodore offensive line will provide Nickson with plenty of time to pass. DB David Horton is a leader in the Richmond secondary and was selected to the Colonial Athletic Association Preseason All-Conference team. He had 3 interceptions and 10 breakups in 2006.  
Richmond rushing offense
Vanderbilt rushing defense
Richmond returns 9 starters to an offense that was decent in 2006. Expect Vanderbilt's Jonathan Goff, Curtis Gatewood, Theo Horrocks to make life miserable for the Spiders. Richmond senior runningback Tim Hightower returns for 2007 after gaining 850 yards and scoring 5 touchdowns in 2006. The Vanderbilt staff has worked hard to improve Commodore speed on defense and it will be apparent early on that the Spiders are a step slower.  
Richmond passing offense
Vanderbilt passing defense
This could be a close area. Vanderbilt's defensive secondary is still relatively young but Vanderbilt has speedy defensive ends in Curtis Gatewood, Broderick Stewart and newcomer Theron Kadri. Eric Ward returns for his sophomore season at Richmond. He completed 132-221 passes for over 1,400 and 11 touchdowns yards last season. Look for the Ward to get sacked 4 or more times by the speedy Commodore defense.  
Special Teams
This is a Richmond advantage. Vanderbilt has struggled with special teams the past few years. Problems punting, problems kicking, problems returning. Spider kicker Andrew Howard is solid and made 10-13 field goals last year.  
Bobby Johnson has systematically rebuilt the Vanderbilt football program. The players are more athletic and faster than ever before; more like SEC players. Richmond's Dave Clawson is 47-46 overall in his career.  

Vanderbilt 41 Richmond 14

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