Nik's Commodore Keys: Wake Forest

After one of the most heartbreaking losses in Vanderbilt history, a 25-24 loss at #19 Tennessee, Vanderbilt plays the biggest game since 1982. The Commodores (5-6 2-6 SEC) host the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (7-4 5-3 ACC) in the regular season finale for both teams.

Should the Commodores win, and get some help from Auburn and Clemson, they would have an excellent shot at making a bowl game for the first time in 25 years. 

The Moore Factor

      Each team has a big-time playmaker with the last name of Moore. D.J. Moore gave the Commodores a chance to beat Tennessee with a last second field goal, by returning a kickoff 55 yards into Tennessee territory. Moore holds the Vanderbilt record for kickoff return yardage. At times, Moore has had big offensive plays as well. Not only has he done this, but he is among the SEC leaders in interceptions with 5 interceptions. Moore is a huge part of the Commodore secondary that has 15 picks this year. Kenneth Moore, a wide receiver for the Deacs, leads Wake Forest in receiving with 860 yards and 5 touchdowns. Not only does he catch the ball, but he runs it too. He has 263 rushing yards, and returns punts for an 11.3 yard average. Moore is a playmaker on offense and special teams, and the Commodores will have to contain him to win this game and have the possibility of getting to the postseason for the first time in 25 years.

Defend the run

      The Dores will be in need of solid run defense on Saturday. Wake Forest's leading rusher Josh Adams averages about 4.5 yards per carry and has 776 yards and 8 touchdowns. Steven Stone, Brokerick Stewart, Curtis Gatewood, and Theo Horrocks have all played well at times, and they will need to continue this against a team that has run the ball for over 1600 yards this year. Equally important to running defense will be running offense for the Commodores. The Commodores have run the ball for 1800 yards this year and will need production to keep pressure off of Mackenzie Adams. With Adams hurt along with a few receivers, the Commodores will need to find a way to get offense in some other way, and Cassen Jackson-Garrison and Jeff Jennings will need to carry this team on their shoulders to a win.

It'll be interesting to see…

      How well will Justin Wheeler play today? Wheeler only has 8 receptions for 75 yards this season, but had some big catches, including a 20 yard touchdown catch and run against South Carolina in a 17-6 win. With Earl Bennett and Sean Walker questionable for this week's game, it will be time for new receivers to step up. George Smith has played very well this year, but he will need somebody else to step in, and Wheeler must to that. Wheeler is a relatively young football player whose first year of football was his senior year in high school. Wheeler has looked impressive, and he stands to have a breakout game soon, and there would be no better time than against Wake Forest this week.

This is a huge game for the Dores, as they will look to become bowl eligible for the first time since 1982. A huge game, go Dores!

Last Meeting: Vanderbilt 24 Wake Forest 20 (2005 in Winston-Salem, NC) Top Stories