Commodores Look to Improve to 4-0 in Oxford

Vanderbilt faces their first road Southeastern Conference contest on Saturday when they travel to Oxford to take on the Rebels of Ole Miss. It is always an exciting contest when these two schools get together. A win in Oxford would give Vandy their first 4-0 start since 2004 and a 2-0 start in SEC play.

The Ole Miss offense is led by sophomore quarterback Jevan Snead. Snead is averaging 220 yards per game passing and has 6 touchdowns with 3 interceptions on the season. The Rebels have three experienced receivers, senior Mike Wallace and juniors Dexter McCluster and Shay Hodge, who have combined to haul in 26 passes for 490 yards and 4 touchdowns. With the Vanderbilt secondary still slowed by injuries, it will be important for the front seven to put pressure on Snead. If Snead is given time he pick the secondary apart.

The most explosive weapon in the Rebel offense is freshman running back Brandon Bolden. He is averaging 6.7 yards per carry on the season. He is the type of running back that can take it to the house from anywhere on the field. Vandy will need to play disciplined run defense and make sure they get Bolden on the ground when they have the opportunity.

Junior running back Cordera Eason is also an important part of the rebel offense. He has 31 carries for 118 yards and 1 touchdown this year. Eason is the back the Rebels turn to when they are looking to eat up some clock and keep the ball away from the opposing offense.

On offense The Men in Black and Gold will need to keep playing with the confidence they have been all season. Chris Nickson has the confidence back that he had in 2006. He has not thrown an interception in 54 pass attempts this season, and he is fifth in the SEC in rushing averaging 89.3 yards per game. He will need to continue his solid play in order for Bobby Johnson's Boys to get a win in Oxford.

The Rebels are giving up just over 114 yards per game on the ground on defense. Vandy will need to establish the ground game with both Nickson and Jared Hawkins early to keep the chains moving.

The Commodores will also need another solid game from punt returner/ kick returner/ cornerback/ receiver D.J. Moore. SEC games seem to always be close, and it is a playmaker like Moore that is usually the difference between a win and a loss. Moore does not have to score a touchdown to be the difference. He just needs to make a big play either on an interception or kick return to give the Dores good field position and momentum.

This game is just another step on the Commodores journey to a bowl game. If they can put pressure on Snead and continue to play offense the way they have been all season, they should come back from Oxford with their second 4-0 start in the last four years.

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