Morris: Vandy rushing game must click

Vanderbilt plays their last home Southeastern Conference game of the 2007 season when the Kentucky Wildcats come to Vanderbilt Stadium on Saturday. The Wildcats had a bye last week, which gave them an extra week to prepare and get healthy. The Commodores cannot afford to come out with a hangover from last week's big loss at Florida.

The Commodores will face a quarterback for the second week in a row that is in serious contention for the Heisman Trophy. Andre Woodson has been nothing short of amazing so far this season. He has 2,341 yards passing on the season with 28 touchdown passes and only 7 interceptions. He is completing 63.8% of his passes on the season. The key to containing him is getting pressure on him. If Woodson has all day to throw, he will pick apart any defense the Commodores put out there. Forcing him to throw the ball before the play has developed is the only way to keep Woodson from putting up huge numbers in the passing game.

Just like last week, the Wildcats have another dangerous player in their backfield besides the potential All American quarterback. Kentucky will be getting back their best running back, Rafael Little, who has missed the last 3 games due to injury. Little is another guy who has the ability to score every time he touches the ball. On the season he has 682 yards rushing in just 6 games. He is averaging 6.4 yards per carry and 113.7 yards per game. Vanderbilt's front seven will need to stop him. If they cannot and the Commodores are forced to bring an extra defender in the box, Woodson will kill them down the field.

While Kentucky has been fantastic on offense this season, their defense has been far short of fantastic. It will be very important for the Vanderbilt offense to take advantage of that. The most important thing for the Vanderbilt offense will be to take care of the ball. When you face a team that has an offense that is as good as Kentucky's, you cannot afford to give them a short field.

Mackenzi Adams should have a big day in the passing game. The Kentucky defense is giving up 190.4 yards per game passing. Adams needs to look to Earl Bennett early in this game to make a big play. That will give him some confidence and give momentum to the offense.

The Kentucky defense also struggles to stop the run. They are giving up 192.7 yards per game on the ground. The Commodores should get a big game for the three headed running back monster of Cassen Jackson-Garrison, Jeff Jennings and Jared Hawkins. If they can establish the running game, it will help control the clock and keep Kentucky's offense off the field.

The Commodores remain one game shy of bowl eligibility. A win against Kentucky would get them bowl eligible and give them some momentum to get a couple more wins down the stretch. If the Commodores do not turn the ball over and run the ball well, they will have a good shot at winning this game.


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